10 things that annoyed me this gardening season

As I reflect on this past gardening “season”, I find it easy to recall a lot of what I did wrong or what annoyed me to no end. 
Now the key is to turn those moments into something educational. A learning “opportunity” if you will. 
With that said, here are ten of my “opportunities”, in no particular order:

1). I need ANY Anemone to thrive for me. I have tried for years to successfully grow a Japanese anemone. And each year there is promise early on in the Fall, only to see it all fall apart soon after.

I have relocated ‘September Charm’ three times in the past two years (yes, I am in denial) and they looked to be good and healthy and on their way back in September:            

And all I ultimately ended up with was one friggin bloom:

Anemones should work for me based on their requirements and I would kill for that late season color and unique leaf shape. But 2012 was yet another failure. So logically, I should give up and move on, right? Nope. I added an ‘Honorine Jobert’ this Fall and will try yet again.
2). I am not physically capable of growing tomatoes in containers. With all of the deer roaming my property and with the soil draining so poorly, I never entertained the idea of growing fruits or vegetables. To combat that, I figured why not grow them on the deck in containers. Can’t be all that difficult. 
Here are the wonderful results:            

This one can be chalked up to laziness on my part as I tend to forget how cumbersome the watering schedule is in the dead of summer. Throw in vacations where we are gone up to a week at a time and you have a recipe for failure.

But I’ll do it again …

3). Tropical plants and me do not mix. I tried to mix it up a bit this summer and added a few “tropical” plants and they looked out of place from the get-go:  

Maybe some day I’ll figure out how to incorporate these annuals properly, but for now it is not worth the time, effort and cash.

4). Keeping up with the weeds. Nuff said:

5). Taking things blooms for granted: I swear I have no memory of enjoying these blooms for even 10 seconds. I just assume they will bloom each and every Summer and move on to other problem areas. Bad job by me:  

6). I let my guard down and as a result, the mutha f’n deer ate every peony bud:

This was a first and one I’ll never forget. I went out to cut a few buds/early blooms for my wife and almost fainted in shock. Next spring, I vow to sleep outside with a shotgun in hand.

7). Poison Ivy is slowly taking over and I am terrified to try and stop it. I have three Russian Sage plants that are slowly being strangled to death:    

I am brutally allergic and fearful to try and save them. Maybe a blow torch?

8.) Collapsing/sprawling perennials. I get it. It happens. Even after I’ve taken the time to cut back earlier in the season or pinch a bit along the way, it is still inevitable. Especially with a lot of the native perennials. I should just grin and bear it, but there is no denying it doesn’t look good:  

I’ll continue to tinker with ways to control it (more appropriate conditions, staking, leaning on neighboring plants) but I guess I have to come to grips with the reality that this is going to happen no matter what I do.

9). I hate pink flowers on yellow foliage. Time to eradicate this problem:   

10). It may be time to label my plants. It is at the point where I can’t tell what is a weed or what is a native plant I stuck in the ground months ago:

I was confident for years that I could memorize where every plant was placed even when they were dormant in winter. Those days are gone as my memory gets worse with age and the number of plants has reached an extraordinary level.

There you have it. I could come up with ten more if I had the time, but this will have to do for now.

Coming soon – “What I did right this year”.

Prepare yourself for a short read.


13 thoughts on “10 things that annoyed me this gardening season

  1. Sue

    I love these lists because they help ALL of us. I’m sorry about the deer. I was gone most of the summer and it seems a small herd has decided my flowers are “it”. I hope being home next year helps. Or perhaps shotgun season…..
    At least you maintain a sense of humor.
    Looking forward to the next list.

  2. Lorraine Roberts

    This is a great time of year to assess what works and what doesn’t and what needs fixing. Warning, do not ever burn or blow torch poison ivy. The fumes are also toxic and you definitely do not want to be breathing in these fumes.
    The collapsing plant syndrome is a sure sign you have clay soil. All you need to do is add some compost.
    I have enjoyed your photos in your blog posts.

  3. Janet, The Queen of Seaford

    Wear gloves and pull the poison ivy out. I love Atlas gloves. They aren’t big and bulky.
    One bloom on your anemone is more than I had. Just saying.
    We had good luck with Patio tomatoes in containers….choose a variety that can do well in a pot.
    You don’t like pink flowers on yellow foliage..yet that is a nice healthy looking shrub. Getting rid of a good shrub??? hmmm

    All in all, good review of this past year’s annoyances.

  4. Gary

    Hi there John,
    Anemones often need a few years to ‘settle in’ before they give us the flowers to make us proud of them. ‘Homorine Jobert’ is a particular old favourite of mine, and one of the few white plants that I like. Weeds…enough said! lol…..pink flowers on yellow foliage, I couldn’t agree more! As for the Cannas, these growers and their website have always been useful for me. They usually have a stand at Chelsea or Hampton Court flower shows and really know their stuff. Have a good week.

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  6. Alaiyo Kiasi

    Hey! I haven’t been here in a while, but I stopped by when I saw your latest post title on my reader’s list.
    I’ve experienced most of what you’ve written here, but my garden doesn’t look as fabulous as yours. But with all these troubles, we’re going to be out there in early spring aren’t we? That’s what so wonderful about gardeners: we are a persistent and determined bunch who won’t be defeated.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. scottweberpdx

    That is so odd about the Anemones…given they are such tough plants…but you just never know…there are plants that others have growing like weeds that I have no luck with. I hear you on taking time to enjoy the garden while it’s there…sometimes, I feel like I don’t admire the garden until winter, as I’m going through photos from the year…and suddenly, all the things that bothered me about the garden don’t seem bad at all. I’m with you on tropicals…they never look right in my garden…they stick out like a sore thumb and just looks so forced!

  8. outlawgardener

    Pink flowers on yellow foliage is an abomination. (I’m sure you can find it in Leviticus somewhere.) and along with poison ivy, it should be banished from the face of the earth. If you could. Train the deer to eat those plants, you’d be set. Think of the money you’d save on ammunition.

  9. Kathryn

    So much of this list hits home! Especially the anemone issue. I have one Honorine Jobert that has performed pitifully over the years, yet I can’t bear to move it for some reason. So instead I bought two more this fall and am spreading the pitifulness around the garden.

  10. Janette Foust

    I use Liquid Fence around my place which seems to help keep the deer away. Or at least makes them move on to something I didn’t spray. It’s a very smelly spray that you may want to try. My only warning is to spray it at night before going inside. It’s too smelly to stay outside after applying it.

  11. Anonymous

    I had some very nice, lush Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’, and the deer ate the buds and actually, the top half of the stems, too. Anemone robustissima outgrows deer, but then it does like to spread. Sometimes you just can’t win for losing.

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