Blossoms & Blunders

Collection Notes

31 Absurdly Funny Gardening Tales

I hope this finds you well and in good spirits. Today, I'm here to offer you a golden ticket to unlock a world of laughter and camaraderie in your gardening journey. Are you ready to dig deeper into the world of gardening mishaps and chuckles? READ MORE

Don Nicholas


Susan’s Garden Misadventures

Earlier this week, my husband, Kim, showed up outside carrying our new pole pruner. A while back, he had promised to help me cut back some overgrown branches of a pine tree that was shading part of my garden. Hooray!  READ MORE

Did It Myself!

How difficult can it be?” I said to my husband, the Silicon Valley computer nerd, on Wednesday morning. He peered at the magazine article with a cautious expression, no doubt wondering if this was a “Honey Do” item. It wasn’t.  READ MORE

A Slow Bloomer

I was born and raised in the dry country of Northern California. When we moved into our new home in Sharpsburg, Georgia, I was completely ignorant of Southern flora. I was mesmerized by the tall pines and thick woods that surrounded our yard.  READ MORE

Too, Too Many Rocks

The dream had come true. After several years of apartment living, our first real home was just what we wanted—a 1785 New England farm-house with a stream, fields, and woodlands. We moved in late in June, too late, we thought, to plant a large vegetable garden. For the summer, I chose a spot along the…  READ MORE

Every Stick Has Two Ends

When my wife and I moved to West Virginia’s panhandle, we bought land with one acre for lawn and gardens and nine acres of woods. She was the family gardener and I the arborist. The woodlot had oak, walnut, ash, black cherry, sassafras, and other native species, as well as shed-size thickets of multiflora rose,…  READ MORE

A Nice Day To Plant—Then Till

I remember that day. Blue skies, warm sunlight—it was perfect for planting the family garden. I started on the south side of the vegetable patch, seeding rows of various kinds of beans: some old standbys and some new ones to try. I had only one set of stakes and string, so I moved them along as I did each row.  READ MORE

Where Are the Beets?

My city-slicker-turned-country-boy husband tilled the Spring soil, and I planted the garden. We had just moved from Washington, D.C. to rural Pennsylvania so we could raise our family in a more secure environment.  READ MORE

The Gas Garden

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…  READ MORE

Too Many Golden Kisses

The first home we ever owned was on—yes—Garden Road. But the soil was poorly drained and heavy. Our “lawn” (i.e., the area we mowed) was a ratty carpet of weeds (a broad variety) and some actual, very hearty grass.  READ MORE

The Pruneful Truth

My neighbors’ gardens sport glorious lilac clusters, and I wanted my bush, who (to me plants are “whos,” not “whats”) had a special place in my yard, to be like that. I researched on the Almighty Internet and found detailed instructions: “In late fall, cut away twiggy growths. Strive for uniform shaping of branches. Spread…  READ MORE

Good Dogs & Bad Ladybugs

Last spring my garden was invaded by slugs and snails. We never set out poison because of our dogs, so I put coffee grounds and crushed eggshells around the plants—and that worked pretty well.  READ MORE

Ain’t Gonna Mow no Mower!

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?  READ MORE

How I Committed Hostacide

I needed a bucket. I know it's not the greatest excuse, but it’s the only one that I have. We have five-gallon buckets laying around everywhere, and they’re incredibly useful except for when you are tripping over them.  READ MORE

I Murdered My Peas!

As a Brooklyn Jewish writer, I had never had a garden—until I got a chance to house-sit in rural Washington. The house had a just-planted garden that needed tending. Delighted, I read everything I could about gardening and worked in it every day.  READ MORE

Rabbits Don’t Like Marigolds

Even with our first garden, way back in Wisconsin, my wife and I did not want to use chemicals. Our landlord had kindly tilled up a section of ground for us to use—but we knew there were lots of rabbits in our area.   READ MORE

Catnip Calamity

The other fall I planted a new bulb bed, leaving plenty of space between bulbs for it to spread. The next spring, I thought about all the empty space in that bed until it filled in. Hmmm, what to do?  READ MORE

Holey Hoses!

It was 90° out, hadn’t rained in days—and no rain was predicted for the week. My blueberry bushes were in desperate need of rain. All the berries were a pale, whitish green. None had turned blue.  READ MORE

My Okra Onslaught

Once a year I like to make gumbo. One year I thought, “Why not grow my own okra for it?” I ordered the smallest seed packet available. Somehow they sent me their largest packet of seed. “Woohoo!” I thought. “What a bargain.”  READ MORE

Thawing and Dripping

A city girl, I married a country boy who hunted, fished, and planted big gardens. One Friday I arrived home from work to find that our freezer had died. We were determined to save what we could.   READ MORE

Insecticidal Soap Gone Awry

I decided to try spraying the plants with nontoxic insecticidal soap—I use it sometimes on my flowers—but I was nearly out. So I purchased a refill at the local home store, loaded my sprayer, and carefully misted each plant.  READ MORE

So Mulch To Learn

My parents always gardened—and because my dad was in the Air Force, we moved about every three years. So the gardens had to be put in anew each time, and Mom and Dad, who both hailed from the Northwoods of Wisconsin, had to figure out what grew in each new USDA growing zone every time we moved.  READ MORE

Not a Plant Person

I am not a plant person. Example? I won an orchid once. It wasn’t long before No Name (that was its name) looked like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. I kept the potted brown twig for several months, then gave it to a friend who volunteered to take it. The next time I saw it, it was green and blooming.  READ MORE

Invasive Herbs

Several years ago, I attended my local herb society’s annual symposium. Having never planted an herb garden before, even though I’ve been a gardener all my life, I decided to give it a try. I purchased mint, oregano, tarragon, thyme, and dill—favorites of mine in the kitchen—from vendors at the show, a book of herb-planting…  READ MORE

‘Take That, Nasty Slugs!’

My first real attempt at gardening occurred when I moved into the bottom flat of a small two-story house with a weedy, patchy, postage-stamp-sized front lawn. I started with planting annuals by the front door and near the sidewalk. The marigolds, impatiens, and petunias brightened up the otherwise plain house. Maybe I really could be…  READ MORE

Planting Potatoes

I would be the first to tell you that I am not a gardener. A dairy farmer, yes. But a gardener? No. Mom was always the gardener in the family. Still, the second year after I bought my own home, I got the itch.  READ MORE

Compost Seeds

I have a compost bin. Actually, I have four of them. Because I’m all about being eco-friendly, using compost to enrich the soil. About two years ago, I read an article that stated: “Most home compost bins do not get hot enough to kill weed seeds.”  READ MORE

Third Time? Not the Charm.

When I was just a beginning flower gardener, I got interested in Eremurus, or foxtail lily—so exotic and interesting and perfect for Zone 6, my growing zone here in Durango, CO. The delicate dry roots came with instructions to plant them three or four feet deep!  READ MORE

Three Dog Nights

My sister, Joan, and I lived near a powerline for several years. The right-of-way funneled all the neighborhood deer through our gardens. We decided to put a stop to their foraging.  READ MORE

“If a Plant is Growing Well…”

My personal gardening failures seem to center around choosing unwisely. But it’s not my fault! Well, kinda not… Upon the recommendations of various experts who wrote about planting for wildlife, I put in an absolutely wonderful bird hedge along the entire eastern edge of our Illinois yard.   READ MORE

The Ladybugs Get Poison Ivy!

My circle of high-school friends and I have known each other for more than 50 years. Janis gave us the name "The Ladybugs," and when we get together we chatter nonstop about everything from who worked on the 1969 yearbook committee to current estrogen doses.  READ MORE

Pulverized Poppies

My mother believed in mass plantings of bold colors. One of her favorites was a gorgeous patch of red Oriental poppies. Their flamboyant crepe-paper petals and mysterious black velvet interiors always fascinated me, so one year I decided to duplicate their magic in my own garden. I sowed seed and new feathery shoots soon appeared.…  READ MORE

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