Generosity Abounds – Gardening OOPs for March

Today, being the first day of March, is GOOPS day at joene’s garden.  GOOPS stands for gardening OOPs.  I fess up one of the many gardening mistakes I’ve made over the years, hoping that my admission will help prevent other gardeners from doing the same.  Then I encourage you to share a GOOPs as well.

This month my GOOPs deals with connectedness, relationships, and generosity.  A while back I read a press release about a study that reports people act in a more caring manner when exposed nature. Professor Richard Ryan, from the University of Rochester, New York and his colleagues conducted some experiments with 370 people encouraged to notice the colors and textures of computer images of either landscapes or cityscapes.  The researchers asked participants to imagine the sounds and smells of these settings.  In a separate scenario, each person was randomly assigned to work in a lab that did or did not contain plants.  After each scenario the participants answered questions related to aspirations of wealth and fame or connectedness, as in close personal relationships, and community. 

Their answers revealed that people exposed to natural scenes were more apt to rate relationships and community more importantly than they had in similar questionnaires answered before they started the study.  By contrast, those intensely focused on the cityscape buildings and roads rated wealth and fame higher.

The next part of the experiment conducted by Ryan’s group went a step further.  In two of the scenarios they gave participants $5, telling each they could keep the money or anonymously give it to another participant who would then receive another $5 and could also choose to keep or give the money away.  In doing so the researchers found people exposed to natural settings were more generous.

It’s likely no surprise to gardeners that people who focus on natural environments have a strong sense of community and relationships.  I also doubt many gardeners are surprised by the study’s suggestion that exposures to the natural environment breed generosity.  How many plant swaps do we read about each spring?

The GOOPs comes in the nature of gardeners’ generosity.  When I first began to garden I received many plant gifts from other gardeners.  Often not knowing what I was getting, I learned through experience that one or another gift was extremely aggressive.  Some turned out to be invasive, but without knowing this at the time, I too shared the excess ‘gifts’ as they grew out of the space I had. 

Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' Years have passed and I know much more about what is currently considered invasive in my locale.  Now, unless I am really sure that any swapped-for plant will not become my problem, I keep those I’m unfamiliar with potted until I can research and watch its growth and bloom habits.  I frequently use swapped or traded for plants in deck and porch containers, and if I like what I see these gifts are invited to stay.  Those with very aggressive underground growth habits – I’m talking runners – often  find their way to the compost pile or outdoor fire pit after the growing season is done.  The Hakone pictured here is a swap  invited to stay – thanks, Debbie.  Others, like a plume poppy, did not.

Ok, I’ve generously shared another of my GOOPs, so how generous are you?  You must have at least one faux pas gardening woe to swap. If so, share it in a comment here, or write a GOOPs post on your blog –just be sure to leave a teaser and link in a comment below.  If you need a GOOPs nudge, stroll through previous GOOPs posts – maybe you’ll get an idea.

Happy 19 days till spring!

18 comments for “Generosity Abounds – Gardening OOPs for March

  1. March 1, 2010 at 7:10 am


    I think we’ve all happily accepted extra plants from fellow gardeners only to find they are a bit too ‘hardy’ in our gardens. That was a concern I had when getting involved in a plant swap but to my surprise most of the swapped plants were real gems.

    I’m pleased to see the hakone grass I shared with you made it into the garden already. The thyme and iris you shared with me are happily ensconced in my garden and I am looking forward to seeing them both shine this season.

  2. March 1, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Joene, I have received some “no thank you” plants from well meaning neighbors… at least I think they were well meaning!

    I planted hakone grass last fall, and suspect I’ve put it in too sunny a location…. so it might be an OOPS, stay tuned. My gardening OOPS for March 1 is on my blog at My Weeds Are Very Sorry. It was a giant (really) mistake I made.

  3. joenesgarden
    March 1, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Debbie, I’m glad to hear your thyme and iris are happy. They are two standbys in my gardens and require very little care. Your hakone really brightens what was once an unnoticed, partly shady corner. I think the color of the hakone will nicely compement nearby climbing hydrangea foliage.

  4. joenesgarden
    March 1, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Laurrie, I love your daisy and susan GOOPs. It’s one that most if not all gardeners will identify with. Thanks for sharing it here.

  5. March 1, 2010 at 11:40 am

    THanks for your visit Joene (and Blotanical fave!)…yes, we have similar words in our headings;-) It’s so true, though. People don’t think about that enough, in my experience…so I like to serve as a reminder! Mostly though, it is for MYSELF, to remind me. Because I tend to forget and take days forgranted. Life is precious and fleeting!
    Yes, I have had some plants that I’ve planted with excitement, only to spend years trying to keep them from taking over every inch of space in my gardens! Violas, for one. I love them, but they are impossible to keep contained! I ended up covering most of them w/fabric paper last year so I could keep my garden under control. They are very hardy though, so I won’t be at all surprised if they continue to pop up through out the yard and garden.

  6. joenesgarden
    March 1, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Hi, Jan. I have a similar problem with violets. Their large fleshy roots take hold so severely that it’s hard to get them completly pulled from the soil, and they seed so readily. I love thier heart-shaped leaves and tiny purple flowers – the purple ones are particularly happy in my perennial beds – but if I miss the after flowering opportunity to thin them out they take over. I once spent an entire 3-day weekend thinning them out of just three good-sized beds – the unfortunate result of not being able to weed due to a broken foot. I completely empathize.

  7. March 1, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Ooh, I need a gardening friend to give me some Hakonechloa. Actually, it’s borderline hardy here, so maybe not. I managed to kill off the three I had in two years. Looks gorgeous at your place though. I think the last plant I was given was a lily, and before that, a fern-leaved peony, so no complaints there.

    Christine in Alaska

  8. joenesgarden
    March 1, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Maybe if you try hakone near the foundation of a house or in another protected area it will grow.

  9. March 3, 2010 at 12:36 am

    I once planted vinca major in front of the house, thinking it would be a nice ground cover under the azaleas and flowering trees in that area. OOPS! Within two years I was yanking it out, as it rampantly began to climb into the shrubs and cover smaller plants. Years later I still find sprigs I have to pull out.

  10. March 3, 2010 at 7:00 am

    I’ve accepted gooseneck loosestrife, and spent the next 2 years eradicating it!

  11. joenesgarden
    March 3, 2010 at 7:52 am

    I don’t have the same issue with vinca, Deborah. The local deer help keep mine in check.

  12. joenesgarden
    March 3, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Ohhh … sorry to hear about your gooseneck loosestrife fiasco, Cyndy. But I’m so glad you stopped by.

  13. March 3, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Gooseneck loosetrife was one….didn’t realize it was in the same family as purpole loosestrife.

    The other, much as I liked the plant, was trumpet vine. I planted it at the base of a black locust tree in my front lawn. It must’ve climbed 100 feet high. Later, the tree had a lot of rot and had to be taken down, but that trumpet vine keeps trin gto send shoots up ALL OVER my large lawn and it will never be eradicated. The only way i can contain it is to mow, but it also comes up in my perennial beds. This was a big mistake. Hummers loved it though.

  14. joenesgarden
    March 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Hi, fern. I second your experience with trumpet vine. I manage a couple, along with a couple of wisteria, for a gardening client. Both send out underground runners that sprout up yards away from the mother plant. Yes, hummingbirds love the trumpet flowers, but it’s a vine I will not plant in my yard.

    I enjoyed reading your February blah post – guess misery loves company. And, yeah! to finding another CT garden blogger. I’m so glad you stopped by.

  15. March 3, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Goutweed ! You know Aegopodium is aggressive when it overtakes established Quackgrass. I’m just happy I quarantined a gifted Peony in the back ‘lawn’ that’s occasionally mowed. 4 years later and the quackgrass is completely eliminated out to 20 feet from ground zero.

  16. March 3, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Excellent idea to keep those untried and untested plant gifts in solitary confinement until you know more about them, says she fighting an endless battle against a determined vinca.

  17. joenesgarden
    March 3, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I can do without the quackgrass, Wiseacre. Sorry for your plight.

  18. joenesgarden
    March 3, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Anna, vinca seems to be a common issue in this thread. Like I said to Deborah, I have deer that “help” keep mine in check.

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