We’ve all had our share of gardening mishaps, am I right?
Let’s talk about the time I grew an arbor covered in squash to get one of those magical hanging squash gardens that have little orange and yellow gems hanging from above. Of course, I didn’t think to make sure I was pulling all the squash down through the trellis over the arbor, so instead, I had a garden of non-hanging squash that I couldn’t reach, above my head.
Luckily the birds and squirrels got them down for me over the winter.
Then there was the time I decided to dig a trench around the perimeter of my yard, and line it with native flower seeds as a pollinator perimeter. Unfortunately, I forgot to share my mission with the family before lawn mowing day. It took all too long to realize why my flowers didn’t take.
I can also think of a whole collection of bulbs I planted much too shallow that never came up. But never have I ever struck a gas line while doing it, like Ivy Booth in today’s piece, The Gas Garden.
When Gardening Mishaps Turn into Legends
This story comes from our Broken Trowel feature, which highlights funny gardening mishaps in every issue of GreenPrints. Our GreenPrints archive spans over 30 years and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these remind me that no matter how long you’ve been gardening, there will always be gardening mishaps. Enjoy!
The Gas Garden
By Ivy Booth
It was a warm sunny spring in April, 1998, and I was once again digging a new garden (I’d been slowly converting grass to gardens for years). I was digging hard. I wanted to try growing roses and had read that you have to plant the crowns deeply if you want them to survive our cold Minnesota winters.
I was about ten inches down in a ditch four feet long and two feet wide. I set the shovel tip in the ground, jumped on the back of the blade and heard a loud PSSSSSST!! I had ruptured a gas line! I had no idea they were so close to the surface.
I called 911, and in minutes my neighborhood was filled with sirens, police, fire engines, and other trucks. My dog and I were not allowed to be in my house. Neighbors, correctly assuming that they would soon be forbidden from starting their cars with a gas leak in the area, quickly drove their cars out of the neighborhood. Streets were closed for blocks around.
Of course the leak was eventually stopped, the lines rerouted and replaced, and all was well. But even though that happened almost 20 years ago, I’ve never lived it down.
I’m still known in these parts as The Lady With The Gas Garden. ❖
By Ivy Booth, published originally in 2017, in GreenPrints Issue #109. Illustration by Marilynne Roach.
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