May Day – GOOPs Day – 2010

Just a few short minutes ago I was happily raking sticks, acorns, and leaves from the mossy areas between our lawn and the woods. As my mind wandered it occurred to me that I needed to come up with one of my Gardening Oops – GOOPs – posts soon. I don’t know what part of my brain finally kicked in but holy trowel … today is GOOPs Day.  I nearly forgot to post my own meme! Even worse, I forgot – until now – that it was one year ago today when I posted the first GOOPS Day (check out a year’s worth of my gardening gaffs). Is it the mind that’s first to go?

I know a good portion of you think of today as May Day, but here at joene’s garden its the one day of the month set aside for sharing my gardening goofs, or gardening oops, or as I like to call them, GOOPs. Once you read mine, either share one of your own in a comment below, or if you have your own blog, share your GOOPs there and leave us a hint about it below.

contorted birch1 My May Day GOOPs is not one of my own, but something that occurred naturally, with no human input, many years ago. This birch tree clings to a rock ledge along the edge of my front yard. Long before we cleared the land for the house and claimed this area as our home, this birch made a go of growing atop the ledge. Its roots found their way between tiny cracks, then grew along the top of the ledge. Well you and I know that atop a rock ledge is not an optimal growing location for a tree, but don’t tell that to this birch. At some point before we came along, the tree must have blown over or toppled under its own top weight. The roots, however, did not let go.

contorted birch3 contorted birch4

Seeking the sunlight, the growing tip of the tree took a 90 degree turn and shot upward, leaving the rest of its trunk parallel to the ground and much of its roots perpendicular to their original position.

contorted birch5 I have no idea how long this tree will live, but live it does. I love its determination. Each spring we watch its leaves unfurl. We rest under its shade in the summer and enjoy its golden color every fall. During snowy winter days, its contorted trunk and twisted roots become a focal point in the front yard. Now each spring and fall I carefully clear the leaves from around its ground level trunk hoping this will lessen the chance it will rot. As long as it has the grit to grow and not be a hazard this distorted birch will have a place in our landscape. It reminds me that not all gardeners – not even Mother Nature – have perfectly shaped plants. In fact, at times the faux pas turn out to be the most interesting.

Now it’s your turn … do you have a GOOPs you are willing to fess up to?  Share it here … until next month (I’ll set myself a reminder) good GOOPs day and happy gardening.

5 comments for “May Day – GOOPs Day – 2010

  1. May 1, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    That tree is amazing… it wants to live and it wants to live there. It’s sculpture, really. My GOOPS is much more prosaic and it’s man made. Literally. You can go see.

  2. May 1, 2010 at 6:26 pm


    What a funky tree to have growing in your garden, it must be a real conversation starter. My GOOPs, which I guess is really only an issue for about a month or so, is completely my fault. You can read about it here:

  3. joenesgarden
    May 2, 2010 at 6:39 am

    Laurrie, you have man-made whimsy, I have one from nature.

  4. May 2, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Now, that is a tree with character! My own GOOPS involves a Japanese maple I planted long ago as a seedling. I planted a number of them, and they all grew well. This one, however, is too close to a path and other plantings. I have pruned it for clearance, resulting n a malformed tree which is still in the wrong place. I cringe everytime I see it. I have decided to cut it down, if I can convince my husband. He thinks I want to kill one of our children, so for now I have to live with it.

  5. joenesgarden
    May 2, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Deborah, it’s always interesting how some of us get so attached to a tree/plant/shrub. You could look at your malformed tree as a conversation piece with a good story behind it. Might make it easier for you to live with.

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