Get A Good Laugh From Gardening Mistakes

We all make gardening mistakes. We can get upset, or get a good laugh out of them, like the writer of this story does.

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve made more than a few gardening mistakes. You name it, I’ve probably made it. That’s certainly been the case when I’ve tried growing new plants or worked with new gardening technology. Luckily, most of those gardening mistakes have been pretty minor and easy to correct. (Let’s not mention that issue with the automatic sprinkler system and the app …)

It happens to the best of us. That’s how we (hopefully) learn. The only real question is whether to laugh at our gardening mistakes or cry over it. Another option? Just decide that what you learn from the mistake is that sometimes it’s best to leave certain garden chores to someone else.

That’s the path Kathy Chencharik decided on in her story, Ain’t Gonna Mow No Mower. It’s a short story, so I don’t want to give away too much. I’ll just say that it involves a cup of coffee, a self-propelled lawn mower, and good intentions. Don’t worry. Nothing terrible happened. But Kathy did end up with quite the story and maybe a little bit of embarrassment.

But hey, that happens to all of us, right? What would gardening be without a few, let’s call them learning opportunities. I got a kick out of this story and am excited to share it with you, so we can all commiserate on some of those “learning opportunities” we get from the garden.

Enjoy More Laughs From Gardening Mistakes

This story comes from our archive that spans over 30 years, and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that turn stories of gardening mishaps and mistakes into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope this story does for you as well. Enjoy!

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Ain’t Gonna Mow no Mower!

By Kathy Chencharik

It was a beautiful June morning. I made coffee, went outside, and sat on our bench. I never get tired of looking at our little piece of Eden, but noticed the lawn was in desperate need of a grass-cut. I sipped my coffee. My husband always mowed the lawn. Why not mow it myself? The backyard was fairly flat, so I could at least do that part to surprise him when he gets back.

We’d recently purchased a new self-propelled mower. The machine was black with two orange bars. One bar was above the handle, the other below.

“First things first,” I said. “Start it up.” I pulled the starter cord. Nothing happened. I then pushed in a bulb I found with the words “Push To Prime” and pressed down the top bar. I pulled the chord, the machine started, and I began to mow.

When my husband got home, he found me on the bench, sweaty and tired, my face as red as a beet.

“You mowed!” he said.

“Yes,” I said, “but I liked the old mower better. This new one seems harder to use.”

“Really?” he said. He pressed down the top bar and pulled the cord. It started right up. Then he lifted the lower bar and the machine lurched forward. “Seems fine to me,” he said.

“I never touched the lower bar,” I admitted.

“That’s what makes it self-propelled. You must have pushed the mower instead of letting it work for you.”

“I guess so,” I said, my face still red–but not from exertion.

By Kathy Chencharik, published originally in 2022, in GreenPrints Issue #129. Illustrated by Marilynne Roach

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What kind of gardening mistakes have you made that you got a good chuckle from?


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