Gardening Oops – GOOPs – Day

Here it is July 1 … time for another Gardening Oops – fondly called GOOPs – Day.  First I share one of my gardening blunders – we all have them – and you can add one of your Damn-I-wish-I-hadn’t-done-that tales.

Mint, mint, and more mint.

mint collage I love mint, and am particularly fond of peppermint, Mentha piperita shown in the photo to the right.  Spearmint, Mentha spicata  shown in the left and center photos, I reserve for Mojitos by the pool.  But I have learned how to plant and care for these underground spreaders so they do not overtake nearby plants.  Mint can be very invasive and anyone who intends to grow this wonderfully fragrant herb should accept this trait long before they plant it.  In long ago planting beds, I made a novice GOOPs – I planted mint where it could “fill in” and filllllllllll-innnnnnn it did.  Mint can grow with amphetamine-like speed … all you have to do is ignore it.

Many of my gardening clients have innocently planted mint, but neglected to keep it in check.  Because of this I’ve pulled tubs-full – this is no exaggeration – that spread under decks, thick rhododendron plantings, through freshly dug soil … you name it.  Fortunately, mints are easy to pull, and their refreshing scent certainly makes this chore more pleasant, but trying to completely eradicate mint requires persistence and attention to detail – mint tends to re-sprout from the smallest bit of un-noticed root.

Still, mint’s invasive trait does not prevent me or many other gardeners from planting it.  In fact, I cannot imagine at time when I would not have a few mint varieties planted here and there.  But use caution, particularly if you have limited growing space.  If, like me, you must have mint, try growing some in pots.  And be sure to locate the pots where you will brush against the mint stalks when passing by – the scent will fill the air and freshen your mood.  If you choose to plant mint in the ground, just choose a location where it can freely spread, or commit to thinning/pulling it back into check at least a couple of times a year.  The mint in the photo on the right spent an entire growing season in a pot on my deck before I readied its current location.  And, now, even though it is surrounded by a stone wall on two sides, I know I will have to pull underground runners back so it will not overtake neighboring plants.

Mint comes in many different varieties, both chocolate mint and the variegated leaves of pineapple mint make great container plants. I’ll soon replace my pineapple mint, which I lost during our last bout of construction.  I’ve reserved a spot for a nice big pot right near the back door.

So … do any of you have minty experiences you want to share, or GOOPs of another sort?  Post in the comment below or  leave a GOOPs teaser below with a link to your full GOOPs tale posted on your own blog.

3 comments for “Gardening Oops – GOOPs – Day

  1. Gail
    July 1, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I too have made a GOOP or two while gardening. My most memorable was done out of kindness. I thought adding a birdfeeder to the edge of the garden would give my feline friends a bit more to look at over the winter. I did not realize it would attract R.O.U.S. Yes, just like in the movie “The Princess Bride’, I found rodents of unusual size had come to the garden seeking the fallen seed. They quickly realized there were tender perennials in the garden, which resulted in the loss of a 3′ x 4′ section of plants. I have tried to look at this as a gardening opportunity, and removed the feeder. The cats will have to amuse themselves from now on…

  2. joenesgarden
    July 1, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    I once had W.O.U.Q. – weeds of unusual quantity – after hanging a birdfeeder filled with mixed seed over a bed of lily-of-the-valley planted under a dogwood tree. Trying to weed between tightly packed lily-of-the-valley is not a pleasant chore. In subsequent years I switched to sunflower seeds; they are much easier to rake up. I did not have a rodent problem way back then, but of late the rodent population seems to have grown exponentially, whether you feed the birds or not.

  3. July 1, 2009 at 7:47 pm


    Aah, mint! I’m with you, I can’t imagine not having some in my garden but you definitely need to keep your eye on it and make sure it doesn’t get out of control.

    My GOOPs for July is about bad timing, new grass seed and unexpected snow. You can find it on my blog @

    Happy GOOPs!

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