Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Living and Learning and Digging and Digging

I have officially been a "real" gardener for just over a month now, and you wouldn't think you could learn many "real" lessons in that amount of time, but you'd be mistaken.   Of course, I have thousands of lessons more to learn, but indeed a few things have made it through my neophyte skull.

As of today, I have learned that:

1) Digging a hole for a 3 gallon pot is really no joking matter,  particularly if there are any trees nearer than 2 miles away.  There was a 1 gallon version right there at the nursery.  Right THERE!!
2) Deciding that you don't have to get the small wild onions out of the front garden until you are ready to plant it up is plain stupid.
3) Dropping a cement planter onto the sidewalk is all she wrote for the planter. Cement planters are really heavier than they look.  Particularly when filled with wild onions.
4) Trailing verbena really really likes it here.  And it really really spreads.  And it puts out new roots for every one inch of plant so you can't even move it away from where its not supposed to be.  Why the heck wasn't this on the tag?  Its the mangrove tree of the 6" and under set.
5) They lie on plant tags. (see above #4 on theoretical verbena only growing only 12"- 24" wide, it is already 24" wide and only 1 inch tall!)
6) They lie some more on plant tags.  (Persian Shield isn't going to make it in any amount of sun here, no matter what they say, unless you want to water it twice a day, and give it a Victorian sun umbrella and an iced tea.)
7) All plant tags are lies.  Argh. They can't even get the color right.
8) Squirrels and I are not friends.   Squirrels really like rain lily bulbs, which used to be a problem but they have totally taken care of that situation.   And the oriental lily bulbs "potentially blooming all over the place situation" has been resolved too.
9)Lilies might not be the best choice for me, despite perfect growing conditions.
10) Finally, on a pleasant surprise note:  cosmos smell awesome.  3 little blooms smell up the entire garden.  How had I never attributed this smell to them?

So 10 lessons down, 10,000 to go!


  1. Jess, LOL, This is how I ended up calling my garden design series of posts "Design Lessons from my Mistakes." But I think experiential learning is the best form of learning. I, too, have been through the mislabeled plant problem; it's probably one of the reasons I started buying plants whenever possible from nurseries who actually grow them in the ground and propagate them themselves. The price on the plants may be more expensive (although not always), but you actually get the plant you paid for. You have my sympathy about the squirrels; there turn out to be an awful lot of critters out there that you might think are cute until they start eating your garden! -Jean

  2. That is quite a lot to learn! You have made good progress!

  3. I have learned this:

    1: Gardening hurts.

    The thing I find funny is that before I started, I figured that if old people could do it, so could I, and how hard can it be to grow a few vegetables. I walked around the garden centre laughing at the myriad tools and devices that the fools were buying just to grow some plants. I laughed at the shelves of books, thinking how hard can this malarky be.

    It's humbling at times. That's another thing I've learned!

  4. We need to make a bumper sticker that says, "Dirt Hurts!"


  5. I second the statement that plant tags lie!

  6. Hilarious! I'm sorry to laugh so much at your frustrations, but it's because I share those frustrations :D

    I must try cosmos...I don't think I've ever smelled one, but I'll take your word for it that they're awesome :D

  7. Jean - I am fighting with myself over a slow but creeping hatred of those squirrels. I know I'm not supposed to hate them, but I am struggling!
    Sheila - Thanks! And thanks for stopping by too!
    IG - When I read your blog I often think we are in the same boat. :)
    DGG - it does!
    Kara - I just don't understand why just not tell the truth?
    Kyna - I am not convinced they all smell - Mom has them free seeding all over her place and I've never noticed the smell, but then again so much of her garden is fragrant. Mine is a dwarf variety and I'm thinking that might be a factor?

  8. I didn't even realize that cosmos had a smell. Good to know.

    As for the squirrels, those damn tree rats, try putting a good layer of lava pebbles over their favorite bulbs. They do not like to dig in it. The lava pebbles will break down over a long period of time adding nutrients to the soil. It will also help you remember where they are planted.

  9. Yep. This all sounds very familiar. There is only so much learning you can do with hearing and reading. The bulk of our learning comes from doing and re-doing and re-re-doing.

    Well written post, Jess. If only it weren't true!