Burned out – A Gardening Oops

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Welcome to the first day of a new month, the day I share a Gardening Oops that I’ve witnessed or committed myself.  While pondering possible subjects for this month’s Gardening Oops – GOOPs for short – I kept running into garden blogger’s block. No topic felt right. Nothing came to mind that worked as an interesting GOOPs subject … NOTHING. This writer’s block reflected the general hum-drum feeling I’ve had of late about gardening. After a very busy May and June designing, planting, coaching, and gardening for clients and the extremely uncomfortable heat July brought to Connecticut, my energy for gardening and garden blogging came to a screeching stop. Like these hosta leaves, tired and burned from too much heat and sun, I was burned out on gardening.

I’ve been gardening for well over 30 years and blogging about gardening at least weekly since February 2009. Gardening keeps me sane, it is part of who I am, and writing about my passion, my vocation, my hobby, has always been fulfilling. Yet, through the month of August, the thought of planting the potted shrubs still sitting on my front porch … never mind the thought of writing about gardening … forced me toward other tasks. Being burned out on gardening is a BIG GOOPs in my book and actually caused me to consider terminating this GOOPs meme.

Then yesterday morning  two hummingbirds came to my rescue.  It was damp and overcast … not weather that entices one outside … when the hummingbirds, bantering over the few still-blooming pansy flowers in a basket hanging just outside my window, caught my attention. I watched as they zoomed to and fro and decided to head outside, with a fresh mug of coffee in hand, to listen to the sounds of the morning. The hummingbirds continued their antics around other blossoms. A hawk lit high in a nearby oak tree. Finches chirped as they flew from tree branch to tree branch.

I sat a while, sipped my coffee, and listened as the sounds of birds, a few tree frogs, and insects cleared my mind. I became aware of the blooms and color combinations in the beds I planted during late spring.


I took close-up notice of hibiscus blooms previously only seen from a distance.


I took stock maturing peppers knowing they will soon be ready to can for later use.


I admired the roses that are getting a second wind,


and late-blooming sedum that are starting to show a pinkish tinge.


Red holly berries blush in contrast to lustrous dark-green leaves,


and yellow-orange nasturtium blossoms glow above a few dainty lobelia blooms.


Two hummingbirds, simply doing what hummingbirds do, drew me outside, away from the long, self-imposed to-do list sitting on my kitchen counter. Two hummingbirds enticed me to re-open my senses to the beauty and wonder of the great outdoors. Two hummingbirds helped break my writer’s block and see my GOOPs … that I had spent too much time working gardens and not enough time enjoying gardens. Two hummingbirds marked the end of my burn-out and gave me back my enthusiasm for gardening.

Do you have a gardening burn-out tale or a different type of Gardening Oops story? Share it in a comment below or leave a comment that links to your GOOPs tale on your own blog. I’ll read and comment on your tales when I come back in from gardening and as September wanes to October I’m sure to come up with many more GOOPs tales to add to GOOPs previously shared.

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6 comments for “Burned out – A Gardening Oops

  1. September 1, 2013 at 11:58 am

    I’m glad those hummingbirds stopped by!

  2. September 1, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    I do have gardening burn out. I seem to be ripping out things I had such hopes for, and changing areas that I thought would be mature and nice by now but aren’t. I am getting discouraged with how much work I do and never get it right. Your post is making me step back and try to rethink what it is I want from my garden — certainly not just work and endless redesigning.

    Your roses are so beautiful — what a shot.

    My oops is on my blog. I saw your comment with the resources to check out — thanks for the help on this!

    • September 3, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      Laurrie, Those particular roses are situated so I can see them from the kitchen. They always put on a wonderful late spring show and another great show in late summer right up until hard, hard frost. You’re more than welcome for the links and I hear you about the garden work, work, work!

  3. September 2, 2013 at 11:07 am

    I thought I was the only one suffering from a serious case of gardening burnout. On one hand, I feel like I accomplished a lot in my garden this season but on the other I see so much else to do and know I need an energy boost before anything gets done. I love the combo of the nasturtiums and the lobelia. I didn’t’ plant any nasturtiums this year and your photo reminds me of what I’m missing.

    • September 3, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      Debbie, maybe the weather has brought all of us into gardening burnout mode. I often get a great burst of energy when cooler temps arrive in September. Hope this happens again this year … I really need to get a lot of projects completed before winter sets in. Since I love lobelia so, I always purchase a few flats, or grow some from seed, even when I don’t have a set spot for them. When I noticed the nasturtium – which self-sowed from last year’s seed – I knew I had my spot. You just cannot go wrong with yellow-orange and blue together. Funny thing is that the nasturtium colors have mutated a but from last year’s color and I like the mutation better.

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