Websites that make you cringe

WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)
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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

Heh, don't remember the name, but for a few years, I'd get this perennial catalog in which all genera and species-regardless their true nature-would be depicted blooming simultaneously. So, spring flowering bulbs were blooming along with garden phlox, along with asters, along with ....well, you get the picture. Pretty funny. They had a good artist.

+oM

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texasranger2

I think I will start ordering. That's just what Oklahoma needs more of--- fast growing trees.

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

Haha Tex....already signed you up!

+oM

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texasranger2

Oh yea? Me and my crew are on our way up there, chainsaws in hand, gonna get rid of some trees and 'restore' the state of Wisconsin back to grasslands.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I just sharpened all 5 blades for my saws. I am ready. I need some cooler weather.

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texasranger2

THE PRIVET HEDGE....THE PRIVET HEDGE.....THE PRIVET HEDGE....THE PRIVET HEDGE.

Listen and learn, the many wonderful qualities of...... THE PRIVET HEDGE.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvs6n_wWDnk

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Gag me with a meat hook!

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Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I dread when the world stinks for 3 weeks every year. There's more L. sinense in south AL than in China!

Isn't this entity the biggest, oldest "offender?"

http://www.michiganbulb.com/


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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Ty Ty nursery is a site that uses pretty pictures of alluring people (both Male and female) to sell the plants. Like we need more soft porn overlaid on the flower porn to get us to succumb. They have a horrid reputation for charging lots of money for scrawny things. They also operate under multiple names. Sleepy operation to say the least. They have toned down their act lately as to the character of the photos.. It used to be a lot worse.

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texasranger2

I used to get that catalog every year. It was one of the earliest 'tempters' I got in January.

When it comes to cringing, nothing makes me cringier than the universally accepted idea of the goal to achieve the perfect green lawn-- the ads, people spraying all over the country, sprinkler systems, constant mowing etc. I've tried to think back to when it got really out of hand. It seems like the idea became popular in the 70's when they came out with the idea of adding pink dye to the spray so they could see where they'd sprayed, everyone suddenly wanted or needed a yard that was pink. The guys I talked to at one of the company's said they kept adding more pink dye because people equated the richness of the color with effectiveness and then they came out with green dye as a second option. It became a "keep up with the Jones's" annual event.

Was that when it started? I don't remember average people buying chemicals and spraying yearly or hiring a chemical company with the idea of needing perfect lawns just to hold your head up or appear to be a responsible homeowner in the neighborhood when I was a kid. Most peoples yards had clover & dandelions and went dormant in summer, thats how I remember it.

When it comes to the world stinking, nothing beats the smell of Callery Pears planted by the hundreds blooming all over the city and the ones now foresting the countryside.

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

Tex, I'd heard (through the grapevine, of course) that you were thinking of starting an Oklahoma chapter of Callery Pears Forever. How's that going?

Michigan Bulb................all I can do is lol!

+oM

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texasranger2

The 'funniest' is this new fancy upscale housing addition that went up on the north side of the city where all the swells want to live. You know the look, big identical roofs on huge showy houses, all designed in the Dallas Style that is so popular now, houses that look alike (only different minor details in the rock and entrances or where the three/four car garage is situated). There is A Pond. There is An Entrance. The whole deal. The only trees you can see planted among these swell houses with perfect lawns are Callery Pears, all the same size, all perfectly spaced and some kind of pine that probably hates Oklahoma as much as a St. Bernard dog would in summer. Anyway, in the wild area surrounding this perfection is a significant forest of Callery Pears in every size imaginable only these are not perfectly spaced. Its a solid smoldering mass of C. P.'s. I think the whole picture tells a story but most people probably just enjoy all that beautiful white in spring and don't even notice or give it a thought.

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

We can only hope that with the burgeoning population of Callerys, some Callery-specific disease or insect will be coming along shortly. It's one thing to read about that tree on this and other Houzz forums, but unfortunately, I know of a number of highly-placed professionals who really can't see beyond that one stupid plant. Even after being made aware of the invasiveness issue, they still can't get pas tit.

+oM

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texasranger2

They smell like semen. There. I've said it. Whats not to love?

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docmom_gw(5)

I'd be rotflmao at you both if it wasn't so sad. I remember when I was first starting to garden and was mesmerized by all of those catalogues. Unfortunately, that's where a lot of new home owners learn about planting.

Martha

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Liz(Zone 7/NJ)

Well, Martha, you learned better. So maybe some of them will, eventually, too.

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texasranger2

Nope, they never will. All it takes is talking to several people and you know this is true. Its depressing. Try getting people to quit putting nitrogen and herbicide on their lawns or to not water during a drought. People want what they want when they want it and they are gonna have it. The swells think they are in a category where the rules don't apply to them and others are simply not interested.

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Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

"Well I like it." "It doesn't spread in my yard."

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texasranger2

Yea, just think of it as wall to wall carpeting with decorative furniture. You want to place it in the ground professionally and never do maintenance. No trimming, spreading, seeding, etc. allowed. And, it would be preferable if the plant never stopped blooming on a perfectly shaped plant. The bigger and more double the bloom, the better.

Oh, I almost forgot. A good lawn & landscaping service is an absolute requirement for mowing, edging and regular chemical treatments. A sprinkler system set on a timer, that's a must.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I was suckered by those catalogs one time. I got the skimpiest wisteria cutting with ONE root for $$$$$. I found a good nursery in the neighborhood and luckily they have always been into natives and hearty xeric plants. They have always encouraged collecting and selling the odd plant from the woods. I have stuck with them and others have joined in in their philosophy.

I missed out on the lawn craze. I never saw it as admirable. It was always something that was just "THERE". dry in summer and green for awhile in spring and fall if you are lucky.

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texasranger2

OK. True Confessions. I like getting stuff like the Michigan Bulb catalog in January. I get those old stand-by types of wish books every year and they always come when winter is entering the tired ugly phase when I'm sick of being indoors, I'm tired of the bleak landscape, I'm tired of wearing winter clothes, there's dirty snow on the roads and Christmas is well over with the long dead period ahead of dark days when it seems like its always nighttime. Those catalogs remind me of my childhood because those were the kinds of plants people mostly had to choose from and everyone grew stuff like bulbs, lilacs, forsythia and flowering quince. They give me a good feeling and I know spring will come so I get uplifted seeing them arrive yearly.

Don't take away the perennial catalogs! Gardening seems like its all gone digital, high tech and snobby. Its nice to see some of the stuff from the old days still hangs on.

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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

My family put a lot of effort into our lawn at least as far back as the mid 70s in Kansas. It was before there were lawn services in town, but we used a lot of chemicals anyway. How my dad chose them I don't know -- I imagine that he saw TV ads for them, or bought them on a whim at the nursery, I'm not sure. He was a big fan of chlordane. I remember one called Spectracide as well.

Spectracide. That's one of those names like "Chem Lawn" that really ought to raise a red flag when you think about it. And why did we need to kill a full spectrum of over 260 insect species? Maybe because we were dumping water on the fescue in July and August when it was 100+ degrees outside.

I'm not sure where the perfect lawn idea came from. My parents were from Ohio where there are some really huge lawns and I think it is much easier to maintain them, plus you can have that nice fine Kentucky bluegrass. The idea of letting a lawn go dormant would never have occurred to us -- you had a civic responsibility to maintain a nice green lawn.

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texasranger2

I wish you could still buy Chlordane, I'd stock up and regret I didn't before it was banned. It is the best control for termites there ever was. The reason for this was it had a very long life, something like 10 or 15 years but most of all because it stayed put, meaning it went nowhere except where it was applied, close around the perimeter of your house and that was the beauty of it. It doesn't kill an infestation, what it did was prevent one from ever starting in the first place by creating an uncrossable barrier that stayed put right next to the foundation. The exceptionally long life of the product and the fact that it didn't leach anywhere meant you could get a 100% guarantee on a treatment and used much less chemicals. It doesn't end up in streams and rivers.

Now termite control is much more expensive, there are no guarantees and you have to sign up for yearly check ups and keep doing new treatments endlessly because down here in the southern part of the country, they swarm every year and are a big problem. Every Dad was a fan of Chlordane because it protected their homes and people usually bought a single home for life.

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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

I'm sure the reason I don't have termites in my home is that it was treated with chlordane back in the day -- at least this is what the inspector told me after noting some very old termite damage.

I think it's possible though that it also may have killed our dog, who died of cancer when she was about seven years old. Impossible to prove of course, but we sprayed that around quite a bit and she liked to eat bugs when she could find any live ones. Of course it could have been the weird plastic-looking cubes of dog food fashioned to resemble cuts of steak, or...

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Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

WoodsTea, I started to wonder the same thing when I first got my own place that had grass and realized I had a lawn to mow, and nowhere to plant flowers unless I got rid of some of the grass. I also wondered, "why does everyone have a lawn instead of just flower beds?" "Does everybody really love the grass except me?"

It's not a simple situation, and although there are some very good reasons to have grass in some places, we've been played, manipulated, by several entities. The answers are in a book I bought called: The Lawn; A History of an American Obsession, by Virginia Scott Jenkins.

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

Woods, I liked your mention of the weirdness of there being a chemical on the homeowner's market called "Spectracide". That one always galled me too, and I'm not automatically anti-chem. That's just so wrong though.

Now chloradane....sorry, but that had to go. I'm sure you can still buy it in some third-world country though-shipped there from the US chemical manufacturer, right along with lindane, DDT, and whatever else they can slip through those cracks. some materials, however "useful", don't deserve to still be around.

+oM

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texasranger2

We have an infestation right now. We never ever did before in the good ole days of Chlordane. I got the scoop on how the Pest Control business is completely different now in dealing with termites.

Now we get to pay mega big bucks to repair the damage and get on a yearly program forever. Well, I gotta say, it really ticked me off when I had the whole thing explained.

That swarm that occurred in my house was downright unbelievable. They were piling out of three windows and the whole floor was black with them.

FOREVER. Like as in $$$$ TREATMENTS THE REST OF YOUR LIFE EVERY YEAR $$$$.

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

It is true-I don't live in termite land. Leastways, not yet. I hear they're right around the corner though!

+oM

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texasranger2

OK +oM. I got online to read up about Chlordane. Yep. Its bad. Make that REAL BAD. Maybe I take back that part about the good ole days of chlordane. Maybe.

Maybe I will when I am over $$Pest Control Shock Syndrome$$

Right now the best I can muster is a hissy fit but I think I'm entitled to at least a pout. I can almost imagine I can hear the buggers chewing right now. You should'a seen what that indoor swarm looked like. The word 'maggoty' came to mind. I swept the piles of dead males up in the vacuum cleaner. They do that after a heavy rain. We are in the process of getting on a program and accepting our fate.

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

It's got to be a tough customer to deal with-one that will actually eat your house! BTW, I said "we" do not have termites up here yet. I guess I was mistaken. They're actually already present, and in fact, years ago, I think I disturbed some at my own dwelling. Just so happens that I think I was able to eradicate those on my own. But I'm sure this was child's play compared to what goes on down by you guys.

+oM

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I feel for ya TR. I was sitting on my couch in my old home and felt something across from one shoulder to the other and it was a whole trail of termites trailing on the top of the couch. lunch was ruined. I morphed into a huge prissy hiss. Termites are hugely common and swarm under the streetlights in springtime. Not as bad as they do in Hawaii but bad. I will never forget watching an outdoor movie during a termite storm in Molokai. Besides being like snow in the lights, they kept landing on the lamp of the projector and frying in a visible manner up on the screen.

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sequoiadendron_4(6b PA)

This thread has been a riot to read. I must confess though, I was allured by those catalog companies pitching their bare root plants that only sprout 30% of the time. I especially like their 'discounting' structure that takes the plant prices down to still being over priced for a BR plant that may or may not grow. I am now in the habit of just pitching all those catalogs; I really don't think I even look at one of them. Not to mention the same tired selection of plants that they've been peddling for years, even since I was a kid. My favorite is when they slip in plants that aren't hardy for your zone and then they quietly say you need to lift in zones 3-7 if you want them to live longer than one season. Yep I fell for that one; hook, line, and sinker. Not to name drop but I'm thinking about Breck's on that one and Springhill for examples prior.


Now we can't necessarily go on 'blaming' places like fastgrowingtrees.com for selling the plants that the masses want. It's the same concept to the perfectly manicured lawn. Everyone wants the fast growing plants because they want instant privacy or shade or whatever and many don't want the time commitment it takes to grow a solid shade tree. Not to mention that in my area all the new developments are made from farmland or if not, a previously wooded lot that has not been completely cleared of all plant life. I drive down these new streets and if it weren't for the beautiful new large homes, I'd have thought a tornado came through and ripped out all the trees and shrubbery. In fact, in my area, they've now taken to building gigantic homes 3000 sq ft+ right on top of each other. They might have 20' between the houses and they're all on dinky lots. Doesn't anyone like to spend some time in the yard?


Ok, I think I'm done using this thread to vent my frustrations....

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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

Yes, I think that's what bugs me the most about it, that people want what they want right now and the future be damned. It would never occur to them to do something of quality that those who come after them might enjoy.

I'm reminded of an excellent article I read once in The Baffler that describes a housing development near Vallejo, CA:

http://thebaffler.com/salvos/a-cottage-for-sale

All the houses are styled to evoke those glowing cottages in Thomas Kinkade paintings. They sold for vastly inflated prices during the housing boom. There's a great bit in the article where they go in to look at a for-sale house there after the crash:

"We went to one, a giant pile right on the golf course with five bedrooms
that sold for $1.3 million in 2007. It’s now going for $500,000. There
is a golfball-shaped hole in one of the garage windows and I glimpse the
white of stray balls through the shrubs out front. Although the house
has been on the market for more than two years, inside it looks like
whoever lived there left an hour ago, and in a hurry."

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sequoiadendron_4(6b PA)

Yeah and if it's anything like Arizona, they stole the appliances too. I'm not sure it would be fun to live on a golf course with the constant threat of getting KO'd by a golf ball.

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steiconi(12a-Big Island, HI)

McLandscaping the McMansions

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edlincoln(6A)

WoodsTea 6a MO(6a) One of my favorite sayings is "Society prospers when old men plant trees under who's shade they will never sit". Why it bugs me when people say things like "By that time I won't be the homeowner, so it won't matter".

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

Yeah, I hate that expression too. Heck, I've cut trees down already that I'd earlier planted. These things grow way faster than the common (mis) conception holds.

+oM

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texasranger2

That very tree, the wide, empire state building tall, ill chosen, pin oak is growing right next to our driveway in the postage stamp sized yard next door dwarfing and hiding their one story cottage type house and dumping litter 12 months of the year, dropping leaves by the dump truck loads all winter long on our property & clogging up the roof drains.

Its planting marked the special occasion of baby #1's birth (aww how cute). Owners have long since moved away to a bigger home, tree forgotten, child grown and gone, its not their problem. Its ours. And speaking of shade? Its on the east side so it puts our whole front yard in deep shade half the day. Thanks.

People always get suckered in and think those P.O.'s will stay narrow. It really galls me how people give such little thought to choosing a suitable type of tree and where to plant it.

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edlincoln(6A)

There are many objections to the planting you described above. However, I've never understood concerns about trees "hiding" your house. To me that's not a bug, that's a feature. If people can't easily see my house from the road, that's a *GOOD* thing to me...more privacy.

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texasranger2

edlincoln, All I can say is you'd just have to see it and then be the judge. I think people look at some view in front of them or picture a scene in their heads and think the one being described is like that. I can assure you, this particular case is not like that. There is no sense of privacy for one thing because you can see the little brick house behind the huge trunk and all the struggling foundation plants. I've seen houses nicely enshrouded in shade and trees making them impossible or hard to see from the street that look cool and inviting. Usually those trees are well chosen varieties and planted at a well thought out distance from the house as if someone actually planned it. This is not what I am describing. This is a problem of scale, a design disaster any way you try to excuse it, such as with remarks like "I love oaks".

Seeing large limbs laying on roofs such as I often see is not my idea of nice either. Seeing large trees planted too close to structures is also a common sight as well as volunteer trash trees & underbrush left to grow amuck without any attempts at maintenance, a definite sign of neglect especially when the structures are showing problems as a result. Its called slum. I live in the inner city and I see lots of this.

This Pin Oak has a very large limb banging away at the peak of the roof and a large mass of branches and leaves sitting right on top of it because the space is too small for such a tree which dominates the entire yard resulting in a One Plant only situation because there is no space or sun for anything else. There is no grass. The house looks dwarfed and the effect is ridiculous looking.

But.......its an oak. Must be revered.

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steiconi(12a-Big Island, HI)

I bought a house with a mature stone pine and THREE 30' tall redwood trees growing in a 15'x20' front yard. Eventually had to take them all out; planted fruit trees instead.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Wow that is crazy.

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barbarag_happy(8A)

I removed a trio of Bradford pears from my house near Dallas, so the live oak and bald cypress could live and prosper. My next door neighbor was absolutely furious!

I was so relieved that she didn't take her revenge by planting three on her side..

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

good choice in editing.

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