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.
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.
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.
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.
By May 2011 the bed made me happy.
The spruce had more presence, as did the buddleia on the right.
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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