Mistakes, Blunders, Goofs and Gardening Gaffs

It's a simple fact of life that you will eventually make a mistake. You don't know when or how, but sooner or later everyone will make a gardening goof or gaff! Mistakes range from the minor ones like forgetting to water your peace lily during the week (why do I keep repeating this one?) To cutting power lines or waterlines in your yard. Thankfully I've never done the latter but everyone, no matter what your experience level in gardening is, has done something they would like to take back, change or call for a "do-over."

In blogging I botched reading a post this week then made a mistake in writing my comment. This mistake was easily correctable with a few extra words in a subsequent comment but it started me thinking "What other mistakes have other gardeners had?" So if you are willing, share your embarrassing gardening mistakes! Let's face it we are all still learning no matter how long you've been at it! Maybe by telling others about your mistake you can prevent someone else from doing the same thing. I'll get the ball rolling by sharing two blunders I did this past year.

My first mistake came soon after we bought our house in February. My wife and I both love maple trees, especially the red maples and the sugar maples for their fall color and shade value. We decided the first tree we would plant would be a maple and we found a nice looking one at one of our local big box home improvement stores. I quickly found the spot I wanted to put the 'Red Sunset' Maple and proceeded to dig a hole to plant the tree. There it stood for a week or two until I began to second guess myself. After planting it I realized it was too close to our septic tank and so I moved it further away. Fortunately there were no transplant problems and it's in a good spot now. It's a good thing I moved it because after moving into our house (after two months of remodeling) the septic tank backed up! We had to call in a plumber to pump the tank. I'm glad I moved that tree! File this one under "I should have known better!"

The second mistake I'll fess up to was planting a willow too close to the house. Now this tree was not close enough to really cause any problems for several years (it was about 25 feet away from the corner of our house) but I began to think of the branch dropping that is typical of weeping willow trees and its reaching root system that acts like a heat seeking missile toward water sources. I dug a new hole way, way, way in the back yard in a moisture pocket where that willow will happily and hopefully healthily grow. It's better for the willow and for us. It should be able to grow into the stately and majestic tree and be undisturbed for many years.

I should have known better not to make either of these mistakes. Against my better judgment and because of design ideas I tried to force nature to bend to my will. Well that just doesn't work! In my mind the willow was going to quickly become a screen from the neighbor's house. Which would have been fine for the short term, but in twenty years our house could have been underneath that willow. I was hasty in my decision making because I wanted the plants placed where they would fit my ideas. Unfortunately they would not fit my landscape. It's funny that most of my mistakes get made when I rush to do something rather than think it through. Common sense right? Putting some extra thought into gardening decisions before I do something will go a long way toward making my landscape and my life better!

To use the old adage "It's a marathon, not a sprint." Gardening is a long term process and it's the journey that makes it fun (of course seeing a few destinations along the way would be nice!) I'm sure my mistakes won't stop there, but at least the ones I made were correctable and I learned from them.

Your turn! Share your best mistake!