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Mistakes you've made, ie, WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

8 years ago
last modified: 8 years ago

We moved here 12 yrs ago ... new house, no landscaping other than grass and a few builder foundation plants in the front. We'd lived in our former house 11 yrs, so I was excited to start with a clean slate. I'd spent years obsessively reading Neil Sperry and Howard Garrett ("DO NOT PLANT THIS!") books, magazines, then online sites. I had finally learned: No, Azaleas, Gardenias, and Camellias will not grow here, ok? Stop fantasizing! Embrace the alkaline! I will do it all right this time! This yard will be perfection! Famous last words.....

The scene: 1/2 acre. Hilly, bad soil. Builder sodded with St Augustine ... IN TEXAS, non-amended soil, NO SHADE. Two existing, mature trees: Hackberry and Mesquite. I know, I know, but it is what it is. Sprinkler system installed before we bought the house--before fencing, structures, mature plantings.

I quickly set to work. I was a SAHM then, the yard was my career. I was 34, energetic. Within four months, we won Yard of The Month. I was smug; I got this! Until I got in a hurry for more. All hell broke loose. Now I will come clean on the world wide web. My mistakes--

Planted two Bradford Pears. Quick shade, flowers! (To be honest, I still like them, but it's like having a friend everyone hates. You have to hide the friendship. Ditto Knock Out Roses.)

Planted two, yes two, Trumpet Vines on an arbor. Devil Vine. If you see one, RUN. If your neighbor plants one, MOVE.

Planted a variegated Japanese ligustrum close to the house. They grow a foot every hour.

Planted a Globe Willow. I love picking up skinny, little limbs every 20 minutes, except the ones I don't see, which whip my legs when I mow.

Planted old-school Nandina which fights the Devil Vine for the title of who can spread fastest, and be most obnoxious.

Didn't get rid of builder-planted Monkey Grass. Third in the contest above, but gaining ground (literally).

Didn't re-do sprinkler heads. Perfect for watering the fences, tree trunks, middle of thick shrubs. Everything except flowers and grass.

Kept the builder-planted Junipers in front flower beds ... the ones that get as tall as the Empire State building.

Watched helplessly as Bermuda took over St Augustine, now have a lovely (not) mix of grass and weeds ... all of them fighting for domination.

Planted a Rosemary bush in the front part of a bed. It's huge, hides everything behind it. It was so little and cute when I got it!

Planted too many shrubs, too close to house, that get too big and need too much trimming. I'm too tired!

Bought two Red Oaks for front yard, believed the nursery when they promised me they were the same variety. They aren't. One is an angel, one is a jackass. It keeps its dead leaves until March ... drops them just when I've finally gotten all the fall leaves picked up. Looks ugly all winter.

Planted a Bald Cypress and Bur Oak too close together. Both great trees, but WHY didn't I space them better?!

Did not prepare flower beds properly, now spend most days pulling weeds, oak tree saplings, grass out of them, while Fire Ants eat me alive.

Didn't beg or offer money to my neighbor to not plant that #%^* Magnolia tree ... you know, the one that drops giant, leathery leaves into my yard daily. Mower won't chop them up, they never break down, and I have to go around picking them up, one by one. I guess it's Karma for the Devil Vine.

Are you going to come clean with us here? What would you do over? Maybe our mistakes will help newbies. :D [Most embarrassing for me: I wasn't a newbie! I knew better! I plead temporary yard insanity for what I did.]

Comments (61)

  • 8 years ago

    Agree on the trumpet vine.......................still fighting it after many years. The vinca I can control to my liking by simply pulling it where I don't want it. I have a large problem with creeping jenny that fell into a bed from a hanging basket and I cannot seem to keep enough of it removed at one time to keep it from taking over a bed. Then there is the magnolia tree (already a very large "shrub" when we bought the house, so foolishly, I left it). Now I rake leaves, blooms and cones about nine months out of the year, so I really don't get to enjoy the beauty of this tree for cleaning up after it. I am not going to complain too much about my wood ferns as I do love them, but after all the rain last year and this, they are trying to take over, and I cannot seem to find enough people who want them to help keep them cleaned out. For the most part though, I just live with most of my mistakes and try to correct the ones that are a real bother to me.

    User thanked carrie751
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  • 8 years ago

    Hmmmm, another seasoned garden embracing her not so wise moments....

    my fave:. Who cares if so-so says it won't grow here, it will grow for ME, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    User thanked bossyvossy
  • 8 years ago

    Funny thing MizGG, we moved to this house around the same time - 12 yrs ago this summer.

    Instead of a new house, ours was from the 1970s. Four sets of previous owners had pre-disastered the landscaping so we didn't even have to plant Arizona Ash trees, Nandina, Asiatic Jasmine, Japanese Honeysuckle, Red tip Photinia, or privet... it had been done for us!

    We still made many mistakes, and one stupid one was a result of trying to fix things while also keeping what had already been done.

    We knew enough to take down the ratty old metal shed and put up a new one in a different place, but I was too soft-hearted to take out a peach tree. If we had cut it down right away we could have placed the new shed far enough from the back fence to leave a perfect spot for the compost bins & wheelbarrow, handy but invisible from both the house and patio and our neighbors' windows.

    But like fools, we let that peach tree stay in place, then watched it die slowly over a 5-yr span with the occasional developing peach quickly devoured by the squirrels. Soooo wish for a do-over.

    User thanked annieinaustin
  • 8 years ago

    Why?, why?, why? :p

    Omar

    User thanked Vulture61
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    You're all awesome, these replies are great. I'm cracking up, and also appreciate the courage shown. :D

    Except .... this one guy? Posted last before this one? He didn't answer the question! That's a rule-breaker! :P

  • 8 years ago

    I have promised myself that I won't redo some of the mistakes when we move into our newly built house. HA!!! I will however, plant another Texas Red Oak. It has done so well and I like the leaves in the winter, and I will have another rosemary just not the droopy one, and in a corner that I will purposely leave waterless. I will plant more Austins and Knockouts. I won't plant another mimosa like I did when we had acreage. I just love them so, they bring back childhood memories, but we didn't know they were invasive back then either. I will have another fig tree and maybe a peach that I can fight the birds and squirrels over. After all, I'm retired and NEED something to do...hahahahaha


    User thanked charintx (z 8b, central Texas)
  • 8 years ago

    Alright Omar, fess up. What 'why-why-why' did you do that are you regretting? Inquiring minds here, ya' know.

    User thanked roselee z8b S.W. Texas
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    :D What I meant is that I hate to confront my mistakes. I don't like admitting mistakes. What is done is done. All I will say is that, in my case, what it is a mistake now, it was a great choice then.

    Omar

    User thanked Vulture61
  • 8 years ago

    Hahahahaha, Omar. We all thought they were good choices until reality set in and we have all made them.

    User thanked charintx (z 8b, central Texas)
  • 8 years ago

    This is a really good thread.

    Agree Omar, at the time they were good choices/decisions. But the beauty of putting them out there is so so someone else doesn't do the same thing. Passing on the wisdom..... (That's what you call it 10/20/30 years down the road- wisdom)

    Having said all that, my not so smart decisions are mostly related to vegetable gardening. When it comes to flowers I'm happy anything survives let alone turns out like it wanted it to :-)

    When I first mapped out my raised bed veg garden plan (at least I was smart enough to do that) it had a REALLY COOL shape. I made sure the beds weren't too wide that I couldn't reach in to the middle (another plus). But 10 years down the road when like got a lot busier and I wanted to add a drip irrigation system because I wasn't going to have time to consistently water with a hose any more it would have been next to impossible to set up in the the REALLY COOL shaped beds.

    But that was around 2011/2012 which is when the mole/gophers discovered the garden anyway and I got tired of plants disappearing before my eyes. So when I ripped everything out last year I put in straight patterns and the raised beds now have hardware cloth on the bottom.

    Another lesson learned earlier, if you put in long raised beds (maybe anything over 12 feet), even if you're using 2x10's, when you fill them with dirt they'll bow out. Not right away, but eventually. And if you planted asparagus in them you won't want to rip them out because it takes 2-3 years to get asparagus going in the first place. So put in cross supports so they don't bow.

    If you're putting in a vegetable garden with lawn around it make sure to leave space between the lawn and the raised beds and put in edging or lots of mulch or something. Otherwise your lawn, which won't actually grow very well where it's supposed to, will manage to send runners into your raised beds. A lot. I left space on 3 side, but not the fourth. It's amazing how far grass can travel underground.

    In my flower beds I do manage to plant short things behind tall things. The flowers look really nice when I'm actually working in the beds and can see them. They'd look better in front :-)

    I'm sure there's more, but these are the ones I've dealt with the most recently so what come to mind.

    Lisa

    User thanked southofsa
  • 8 years ago

    Ok ok, I will own a mistake. One day I was looking around for the perfect veggie garden location. I find a sunny spot I like and with DH's help (well, mostly all his sweat) we create a 4x12 bed with nice wood edging and the nicest soil. We plant tomatoes, cukes and some other basic stuff. We install a drip system. I unearth my vegetarian recipe books as I believe our veggie bounty would be so great I had to be ready. Then....nothing.

    It took me weeks to realize that the bed got 1-2 hours of sunshine and the day I picked the spot it happened on the one hour of the day that the sun shined in that spot. Man, did I feel stupid, ha

    User thanked bossyvossy
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I thought of another. Pampas Grass.

    We have a beautiful, mature one bordering our neighbor's yard. Quick sidenote: I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to planting, as I illustrated here already. I want quick and pretty, but no maintenance. Which never happens (the last thing). Anyway, the Pampas was planted in 2004, by me, and I had NEVER cut it back. I know!

    So my neighbor, who is seriously the sweetest person ever--I adore her--very gently says one day, "I think y'all need to cut the grass down this season. It's looking really bad in the back. I know some guys who will do it, cheap, if you want?" She was right, and poor thing, she'd been looking at dead grass on her side for a year! I couldn't see it from my house. I apologized, and said we'd do it, no need to pay someone! Ha, ha, ha. Oh, goodness.

    Next day, no big deal, let's do this. It was a very hot Fall day (duh), so my husband and I had on shorts, tank-tops, light gloves, flip flops. You know where this is going, right? Dressed half-naked, hacking away at and picking up a 10+ yr old huge Pampas?

    It took us all day. Later, in the shower, the hot water hit our bodies ... and I wanted to scream. I probably did, but have tried to block the memory. It felt like someone had been grinding my body on a giant cheese grater all day, or poked me all over with Yucca tips and Mesquite thorns. We had cuts, welts, bumps, slashes, on every inch of skin. The next day, we looked like we had skin diseases, and felt like we'd been poisoned. Even air touching our bodies was brutal.

    Lesson: WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING WHEN CUTTING DOWN PAMPAS. Ideally, a Haz-mat suit.

    The giant cheese grater to the left in picture (it really looks stunning when it gets plumes) --

    For next time --

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Ha, ouch, ha, ouch, ha, ouch

    ETA:. In my area those are bulldozed. Nobody dares do it by hand b/c of sharp blades or snakes.

    User thanked bossyvossy
  • 8 years ago

    My biggest mistake? Starting too big. Beds too big and too many of them. I have since made them a more manageable size, but still too much work. Big beds = lots of work = garden burnout.

    Or maybe my biggest was trying to have well mannered flower beds when my neighbors to the south don't mow their yards. I'm giving up on my northern most beds this week because the queen anne's lace and other weeds are taking over.

    We've been here 20 years and inherited a fruitless mulberry that we didn't cut down right away because it was the only shade for the west facing side of the house. It wasn't until we started seeing cracked brick on the house 10 feet away that we cut it down. Later ground out the stump but still have a huge hump in the yard there.

    And yes, I planted trumpet vine. It's been gone for years but neighbors to the south also have it (not from us, they planted their own) so I still get to deal with it. I've also planted vinca, Mexican petunia.

    Even sticking with natives isn't a safe bet. See above for trumpet vine. I also planted roughleaf dogwood. Spreads by runners and will strangle anything in it's path.

    Like Carla, I should have left some beds alone. Had a beautiful bed of gold lantana and then lace bugs hit it. Non-organic methods just weren't working on it, and it looked terrible so I yanked them all out, about 20 feet of them. Weeds moved in and it's been a battle ever since. Another bed had the dreaded Asian jasmine. It didn't mind too much water or too much drought, and was fairly good at keeping out weeds. But it was low growing in back of higher stuff, and it was Asian jasmine! so I ripped out a huge bed of it. Now weeds there too.

    Next house will be just what nature already put there - plus some stock tanks ponds and a few Texas oaks.

    User thanked missouribound
  • 8 years ago

    I HAD a pampas grass. HAD is a key word here. It was a bad day the day when we took it out. I had trimmed it back one too many years, but it still rotted in the center. I do not miss it. In some places, they call it Sword Grass. In New Zealand , the explorers wrote about trying to travel through a plain of it and how it tore up their horses and them horrendously. I tore it up after reading about that.

    User thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
  • 8 years ago

    A neighbor finally burned his pampas grass, said it was the only way.

    I too started too big at first;

    too many beds=too many battle zones.

    Every bed has one or more "fronts" to be defended, & I spent a lot of time battling encroaching Bermuda grass.

    Today, I would start from the house & work outward, one bed at a time.

    I've planted things too close together & too close to the house, & I now know to measure even after eyeballing placement.

    I learned this when I had to move a very nice big rose because it was exactly in front of the front door.

    coulda' sworn that thing was off to the right...

    & I once planted a big thorny climbing rose under a breakfast room window.

    As others have said, I thought I could control it.

    finally had to get 2 guys with a chain saw to cut it down, & they had to haul it away by wrapping a chain around it.

    User thanked sylviatexas1
  • 8 years ago

    forgot to say...

    excellent, & fun, thread!

    User thanked sylviatexas1
  • 8 years ago

    As someone said above, planting short things behind tall things. Also I buy things and throw away the tags. This is especially bad when you plant tubers or bulbs then something comes up and you think it's a weed, but it wasn't (astibile). I have lots of beds full of beautiful somethings and seedlings that I hope aren't going to be weeds.

    User thanked Lynn Marie
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Funny, Lynn Marie, this just happened yesterday. I was weeding a bed, and found bulb shoots ... no idea what they are. I do remember planting bulbs years ago, but can't remember what kind, and now they decide to shoot up?! They're being strangled out by %#^* Nandina that is determined to overtake everything in its path! Sigh. My yard really has an attitude. :D

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    That gets even worse when you garden with wildflowers . There are new to me especially collected new mexican wildflowers and then there the invasive everything else that blew in on the wind. that is sprouting in the second wet spring in a row. It is a mad house out there. I really do not know what I am doing.

    A small mistake that I do is not judge size and habbit of plants growth. My columbine is growing up and blooming in the branches of the American beauty berry, that exploded in growth the last 2 years. My spider lilies do it to. I moved the spider lilies yesterday but I think I need to wait for dormancy on the columbine.

    MY other mistake that I make every year since I am a swap maniac is that I plant too much and then I forget what and where it is and it dies over the summer.

    User thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Mara, I just took a picture of my gaura (LOVE) growing into my daylilies. I have lots of plants that intertwine, and like the wild look. :)

    Look at all the buds! About to have an explosion of white.

  • 8 years ago

    MizGG [z8a] Do all the Gaura have blooms on stalks? It is a new plant to me, and one has beautiful pink blooms on 8-9" stalks, and the other (bought at a different store) seems to be just a low growing mound. And are they considered invasive? Is this going to be a MISTAKE? I am new to sunny gardening as my old place had mostly shade.

    User thanked gustaviatex
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    gustaviatex, there are quite a few varieties of gaura (hopefully someone who knows them will chime in) .... the one in my pic does bloom on every stalk. I'm pretty sure it's a Gaura lindheimeri. I had a mounding one years ago that was bushy and didn't bloom as much, but yes, when it did, it was on stalks, too. Iirc, it bloomed later than the type shown here. I've had them for 20+ yrs, and have never had one be invasive. In my yard, they're a tender perennial--I've lost many to hard freezes in past years.

    They really are a great plant, and butterflies love them. :)

    ETA: I was just reading about them, and in some areas, some varieties of them are considered a "noxious weed". So maybe check with a local nursery in your area for the best advice.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Mzgg, your plants are in the wide open in comparison. The leaves on the columbine are visible and nice but lets face it, That is not why I splurged the big bucks at high Country Gardens for their long spurred columbine. LOL

    User thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
  • 8 years ago

    Well, this isn't my mistake, but I have spent part of the day watching my non-native neighbor (that I just love) dig up a sego palm that he planted 3 years ago when they moved in. I told him it was going to be too big where he planted it, by the driveway. He decided to xeriscape his yard and it looks good, but he has planted stuff that while it would have worked in Tennessee doesn't work in Central Texas. We have all had a good laugh and helped him correct some things. Good thing we are all friends..Pampas grass is now gone..the sego, the cactus that ate his corner...



    User thanked charintx (z 8b, central Texas)
  • 8 years ago

    If not top mistake, maybe in top 3, not planning space needed for size @ maturity

    User thanked bossyvossy
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    .... not planning space needed for size @ maturity

    And closely related: assuming the mature size given on the tag is accurate.

    Been sobering how many of the above hit home... especially the vines. Wore long sleeves, pants, and gloves when taking out the pampas grass; not for protection, but because I was trying to get it out on a cold January day before the mallards nested under it again - would have been in shorts and tee at a warmer time. Sorry to read of those torn up by this plant, but did appreciate learning of my good fortune. :-)

    One of mine (mistakes) not mentioned yet is being a slave to the yard/garden schedule: fertilizers, pre-emergents, pesticides, water all applied as the calendar (or timer) dictated from dates/timings provided over years by local plant experts or the product manufacturers. Not all bad and worked well a long time for us, but learned about the importance of paying more attention to soil condition and what the plants specifically need when the Take-all patch fungus, for which there was no commercial treatment/product, wiped out around 60% of the St Augustine in our neighborhood. Still following a calendar, but applying things as needed from a much longer list of options - more specific components/organics and less multi-purpose/broad coverage stuff. I'm unlikely to ever become a totally organic gardener, but suspect the earth still appreciates the significant reduction in waste and run-off from our doing more "as needed".

    gustaviatex: Believe there were over 90 known cultivars of Gaura listed on the RHS site last time I Iooked up one of ours, so a lot of options in size, form, and coloration. We've had both native and several "improved" cultivars. The natives generally tend to lie flatter and have a wilder look than the named varieties. Aggressive seeding out seems to depend on soil type; they don't volunteer much on our heavy clay. If a concern in lighter soils, there are some cultivars, like the "Ballerina" series or 'Whirling Butterflies', identified as (self?) sterile. A great plant that is host to the white-lined sphinx moth, which have been very cool to see up close as they've hovered about our 'Snow Fountain' gaura. Here's a good overview that covers some of the more common cultivars: UW Master Gardener article on Gaura lindheimeri.

    User thanked bostedo: 8a tx-bp-dfw
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Great link for Gaura, Bostedo, thank you! I'm making a list to add more. :) I guess mine have all been sterile, I've never had them spread. See? The one plant I wish would spread, doesn't. :D

    I was walking through my fav local nursery, and saw pots of Trumpet Vine for sale. I seriously wanted to buy them all, and have a bonfire, so no one could plant them here. We were at the Ft Worth Nature Center, and I saw those demons taking over trees all over the place. I'm positive the Center didn't plant any anywhere, so who knows where they came from. Gah!

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    ..... saw pots of Trumpet Vine for sale. I seriously wanted to buy them all, and have a bonfire.

    Pretty sure they'd just rise from the ashes..... if they'll even burn; good chance it'll be cockroaches and trumpet vine at the end of time. :-( Fewer and weaker each year, but still popping up in our yard after nearly a decade-long battle.

    User thanked bostedo: 8a tx-bp-dfw
  • 8 years ago

    Here is a mistake that I am paying for now... Ignoring poison ivy and putting it off for a couple of years. BAD MOVE... What was I thinking. It is everywhere. I watched that slow building tidal wave and stuck my head in the sand.

    User thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
  • 8 years ago

    Not digging holes wide enough for trees in clay soil. Read all about it, but didn't do it. Had to go back and dig out a trench around them later and then replace with better soil.

    User thanked B in 8a DFW
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    What was I thinking when I planted a potentially large agave in a large pumpkin pot with a small neck?

    This is what I was thinking, "How graceful it will look when the agave fans out and mirrors the curve of the pot".

    And it did look beautiful, but then came the hail which shredded the leaves. I cut the bad parts off, which was most of the plant, but I see now that the base of the agave is so large it's in danger of breaking the pot.

    Pot rescue attempts coming soon.

    User thanked roselee z8b S.W. Texas
  • 8 years ago

    I have always heard not to improve the soil of trees but pick trees that like your soil because their roots are to go beyond the hole and not circle inside the hole which they might do. I also learned to dig square hole with straight and down walls that are rough in texture because it forces the root to poke through the holes wall when it hits a corner or rough spot. I learned that from Mr Bamberger himself. Before that I planted a scooped out round hole very wide at the top full of improved soil and the plant tipped over in a couple of years. Tipped slowly over in slow mo.

    User thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Ragna, there is always the Hammer. I have broken a pot and then re-glued it when in the same position. So much for maintaining the resale value of a $10 pot.

    User thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
  • 8 years ago

    Good point Mara, but I gotta' try ...

    User thanked roselee z8b S.W. Texas
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I lucked out with one very well placed whack on the apex and it broke neatly in two. The cactus was hanging over the edge. I do love the picturesque glue up. I decided the plant was more valuable to me than the pot. A year later fire ants killed the cactus grouping while I was on a trip. This repaired pot has fallen off a second floor porch onto rock and miraculously survived and so did the very long pencil cactus.

    I now need to get another plant out of thew same pot. It is not over hanging the edge. I will use a hose to scoop the dirt out.

    User thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
  • 8 years ago

    Redenta's has 'Texas sedge' in the bunching grass section. A couple of years ago, I thought, hm, that grows in our yard (it truly does). I think I will move some to a different area and see what it does there. Long story short, what I moved and babied was nutgrass. What was I thinking?!

    User thanked merrybookwyrm
  • 8 years ago

    Oh yes, the Duchesse de Brabant rose that according to its tag grew up to four feet in diameter. I carefully measured back about two feet from the front sidewalk, and planted La Duchesse. That tag should have read grows up to four feet in radius and eight feet in diameter. The local walkers hate me and La Duchesse, because I somehow never get her pruned out of the sidewalk area enough. I think I got to a baby rose ground layered from her though, so I'll still have the baby if La Duchesse herself dies during transplantation.

    Kept a couple of cubic yards of ground up tree trimmings from our yard to use for mulch last year. 1. The tree trimmers could not leave the mulch in the back yard or on the driveway. It ended up on the front yard. 2. These particular ground up tree trimmings may look mulch-y, but have these long, not ground up tree branches in them, which make the pile of ground up wood extremely difficult to move. 3. Yard men say they are employable to deal with the mess, then never answer their phones again OR quote a price to move the mulch to beds where it is supposed to be, do a partial job of moving the mulch, claim they underbid and need more money to complete the job.

    User thanked merrybookwyrm
  • 8 years ago

    Merry, even worse than your nut grass fiasco, I potted up a weed to give to a friend who wanted Purple porterweed. Patty, who was to deliver it to Omar at the swap, pointed out the little nondescript flowers under the leaves that ID'd it as a weed alright, a REAL weed. Well, the leaves sure looked like purple porter weed. Thank you Patty. Omar would have never let me live that down ... LOL

    User thanked roselee z8b S.W. Texas
  • 8 years ago

    Who, moi? :D

    Omar

    User thanked Vulture61
  • 8 years ago

    Omar, what are you doing reading this?!?

    Well anyway, it was nice of Patty not to tell you ... :-)

    User thanked roselee z8b S.W. Texas
  • 8 years ago

    Never plant the tall Mexican ruellia in Houston! ( I like the short clumping Katy ruellia.) That plant is the curse of my garden. My master gardener friend gave me on purple and one white. the purple has marched more than 1/2 way around the fence borders. She failed to mention that she pulled them all the time and her many paved pathways helped to keep them contained. I sprayed it with Round Up and it shot seeds at me and made popcorn sounds. (That hurt, too!) They grow 7 ft tall in up through my lemonade honeysuckle vine and laugh at me over the tops of the suburban fences. I have pull and paid others hundreds of dollars to pull and they keep coming back, since they also send out awful runners. This plant survived the poison ivy and brush killer and Ground Clear, as did wedellia. The wedellia was gone for three year, cam back and jumped to another bed. I would pour gasoline on them both if I knew that would kill them. The wedellia roots where it the leaf nodes touch the ground and smothered my daylilies.

    User thanked tqtqtbw
  • 8 years ago

    I have been hit in the eye by a very rude ruella plant. auto spell changed it to rubella. Your garden needs a ruella vaccination not inoculation.

    User thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
  • 8 years ago

    After attempting to remove blackberry vines this weekend I have to chime in. Not sure what went wrong, but I got flowers and no fruit 2 years in a row. Getting rid of them was painful. I have a feeling they'll be back.

    User thanked Lynn Marie
  • 8 years ago

    Wow 7 feet tall ruellia! I like the way they look but I only have gotten mine to about 3-4 feet. Houston sounds like a good place for them if they are contained.


    One of my regrets was tossing a bunch of canna lily tubers. I didn't know much about the plant at the time. It just seemed like it was in the wrong place and multiplied quite quickly after one season. I took it all out of that area.


    Later I saw how desirable the cannas are for landscaping as well as occasional hummingbird visits. Not to mention that they are pricey to buy even one stalk of a canna plant, and here I went taking out the entire bed and throwing them away!


    User thanked purslanegarden
  • 8 years ago

    I am not that fond of Cannas. When I lived in hawaii, I took out a bed of them also , but I replaced them with Hanging halliconia.

    User thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
  • 8 years ago

    I don't love all cannas but I have a set a criteria for the ones I grow. Short, fancy colored foliage and giant musafolia. The secret for me has been to what 6" from the ground in Aug and Feb. The rattiness factor is greatly decreased with this strategy. Hanging heliconia sounds wonderful, I could not grow a single heliconia to save my life.

    User thanked bossyvossy
  • 8 years ago

    Purslane, are they hardy in your area? I will be glad to send you a couple of my extra rhizomes. One good thing about canna is that they can be vigorous but it is super easy to yank the excess. Just pull after a rainy day.

    User thanked bossyvossy
  • 3 months ago

    This post needs to be extended and printed in Texas Monthly, Southern Living, Country Living & every newspaper in Texas! It's written so well and is both informative and funny! Kudos to the author! I just loved it! ❤

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