Gardening Is Not Static – My March 2012 Gardening Oops (GOOPs)

If you think gardening is static, think again. Plant a garden bed one year and there’s a really good chance it will not look the same the next. Plants grow, get eaten by creatures, attacked by disease, crushed by weather and planted in less than optimal spots. These gardening situations all fall under my Gardening Oops – GOOPS for short – meme.

On the first of each month I tell all about a GOOPs in my gardening life. Some months I tell of mistakes I’ve made, other times I recount a GOOPs that is not entirely my fault. I also ask other gardeners – that’s you – to recount a GOOPs tale.

Why? Because every gardener has been unsuccessful at some point. This can be discouraging but, sometimes, it helps to know that other gardeners have faced similar GOOPs. It’s a misery loves company thing.

My March 2012 GOOPs tale goes through the history of one garden bed on my property and many GOOPs.

Fourteen years ago my family moved into our new home on newly cleared land. After getting the driveway paved I envisioned a nice garden in the space between the driveway, a walkway and a lawn area.

The very young garden started like this in 2000.

driveway bed-2 year 2000 001driveway bed 2000 001

That’s a white lilac in the center left , bayberries at the back of the bed, and a variegated red twig dogwood on the far right. Artemesias, red coleus, and Siberian iris are planted throughout.

All would have been fine but deer love coleus and the variegated dogwood – I was just learning about deer faves – and that floppy silver mound Artemisia had to go. All GOOPs.

I expanded the bed and did some rearranging so it looked like this by the spring of 2004.

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The bayberry (Myrica pennsylvanica) and Siberian iris remain and the white lilac (in bloom) went to the right side of the bed along with a new PeeGee hydrangea paniculata. On the left I added Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’ as a ground cover and a dwarf burning bush (Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’), not knowing at the time that burning bush are invasive. A GOOPs.  In the center there’s a variegated lacecap hydrangea macrophylla, a plant I’ve always adored but, it turns out, so do deer. Another GOOPs. Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina), common chives, different sedums, some small ornamental grasses and pansies filled in. (The lawn was due for reseeding when I took this shot)

I did not like the shape of the bed so I expanded it again. By May of 2005 it looked like this.

05-2005 driveway bed 6  05-2005 driveway bed 5

The hydrangeas and lilac survived due to winter fencing to prevent deer browsing. The lacecap hydrangea never bloomed – deer always got to the growing tips, in spite of sprays, after the fence came down. The bed looked okay during May and into early summer but did not do anything for me the rest of the year. And if you look closely, the red heuchera needed chicken wire to prevent deer browsing. More GOOPs.

With more tweaking – the lacecap, heuchera, variegated iris, euonymus bush, and white lilac went elsewhere, a new Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens ‘Glauca’ hiding behind the hydrangea), and filling in of the perennials, the bed looked better by the summer of 2010.

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By May 2011 the bed made me happy.

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The spruce had more presence, as did the buddleia on the right.

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Narcissi bloomed in early spring, followed by iris, poppy, Lamb’s Ear, thyme, foxglove and other perennials. Solidago, lavender, self-sown Black-eyed Susan, and buddleia took the spotlight until the hydrangea stole the show, and I no longer needed to fence the bed in winter.

Then Irene blew through Connecticut and took down the PeeGee hydrangea and the, by then, six-foot tall buddleia. I’m sure voles had been nibbling on the roots of each, weakening each shrub’s hold to the ground – another GOOPs, albeit not mine.

Gardening is not static. Changes come. Each is a challenge. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we have a GOOPs.

You must have at least one GOOPs to share. If you’re not making mistakes you’re not gardening enough. Tell us your GOOPs in a comment below, or on your blog with a teaser comment here.

Stop back again the first of next month when I’ll have another GOOPs tale to share.

Garden thoughtfully – Joene

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7 comments for “Gardening Is Not Static – My March 2012 Gardening Oops (GOOPs)

  1. March 1, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Love seeing all the changes in your garden!

    • joenesgarden
      March 1, 2012 at 9:20 am

      Thanks, nhgarden. It’s good to look back to see whether you’ve moved forward.

  2. March 1, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Expanding, rearranging, moving…. I’m so glad to know how someone else’s garden evolves, and you have a great history to show us. My gardens certainly follow the same design fits and starts! I have to laugh when I see a carefully drawn planting design on paper —- it’s never going to look like that, people!! I do like the latest evolution of your space, it’s very pleasing now.

    My GOOPs is on my blog and it involves design mistakes as well.

    • joenesgarden
      March 1, 2012 at 9:23 am

      Laurrie, I also like the look of my final garden photos. Now I have to figure out how to make them pleasing again since the small hydrangea tree and the butterfly bush are no more, thanks to the winds of Irene. Sigh …another challenge.

  3. March 1, 2012 at 9:15 am

    What a transformation! I have worked and worked beds and some of them I am still tweaking. I really like your end result…beautiful and balanced. My GOOPs is that I trusted the vendors of ‘squirrel-proof’ feeders that they are actually squirrel-proof…not. The squirrels get to them quite often. The only option I can think of is to add a squirrel-proof pole with a baffle…hopefully that will do the trick.

    • joenesgarden
      March 1, 2012 at 9:24 am

      Thank you, Sage Butterfly. It was fun to look back at the history of this bed. Now the challenge is to make it look good again with replacements for the small hydrangea tree and the butterfly bush.

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