Gardening Mishaps

Collection Notes

There’s only one solution to gardening mishaps—laugh about it and live to tell the tale.

Mishaps happen. I don’t care if you’ve been gardening since that whippersnapper down at the big box plant store was in diapers, gardening mishaps are part of the deal. If you’ve got a little dirt under your fingernails or soil in your socks, you have at least a funny story or two about your garden. READ MORE

Bill Dugan


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. I’d always hated canned peas, but the fresh ones soon became my…  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. We didn’t have the money for fencing and didn’t want to kill…  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

Very Well-Manured Strawberries

The ad said, “Wanted: Caretaker for home on six acres in Alexander Valley, help with the gardens. Free rent. Call Helen.” Free rent! I arrived promptly for the interview with six-month-old and kindergarten boys in tow.  READ MORE

Blooper, Blooper

I always grow a lot of winter squash here in Otter Lake, Quebec. I store them and eat them all Winter. Last Fall, I grew buttercups, butternuts, turbans, marrows, delicatas, dumplings, sunshines, and pumpkins. When they were ripe, I wheelbarrowed them to the house, cleaned them, and stored them.  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? Storm, my cat, loved catnip. We could both enjoy this bed! In went catnip seeds.…  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…  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. I wasn’t about to let them dry up on the branches, so I screwed two long hoses together and…  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

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

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. I needed a bucket to dig compost, so I went into the garage to look. I noticed…  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. The flowers are fragrant, the plants filled in…  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

The Dumbest Thing I Ever Did

When I bought my house, one of the first things I did was plow up my compacted back yard. I didn't think I had to worry about the grass—surely being chopped up into little pieces would take care of it.  READ MORE
man confused in garden

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
man next to lawn mower sweating

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

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

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