Well just as a hint, Kevin, have you ever noticed how healthy those flowers
look along the roadside? I tell my customers at the local Lowes I work at
(and this is MY experience here) that generally most perennials came from
wild flowers anyway and most wildflowers (and perennials) dislike ammended
soil. They prefer lean to poor soil. They do like real compost or top
dressing because in nature they get leaf fall and such, but over the years
I've discovered that my rich, raised beds aren't perfect either. They were
too rich. They drained too quickly and when we had drought, I lost things.
It's never going to be a perfect year every year, but there are momentary
times of glory. The spring bulbs were outstanding. A bush was mind blowing,
a bird brought a flower you didn't plant and it turned out to be awesome.
The berries were unbelievable. Then there are the years that the blister
beetles eat the leaves of the Japanese fall blooming anemone's and you never
see one bud. Or the hail pounds the first opium poppies you've gotten hold
of seed for after searching for decades for them into pulp when they've
shown you you're going to have a bumper crop of flowers for years to come.
Gardening is a crap shoot. You can't always predict how things will come
out, but that is what makes it fun and worth the sweat and trouble and
frustrations. It's my way of calming down and of venting when I'm
frustrated. Nothing like being pissed off and going out and taking it out on
weeds......when I'm aware I'm not pissed off anymore, there's green stuff to
put in the compost pile........
If you're giving up after six years, I wonder what your expectations were in
the first place? The "hobby" of gardening isn't a six year endeavor. It's a
lifetime commitment. Like raising children or having a pet.
When the people who move up here ask me "what blooms all season here and how
do I cope with this clay soil?" I tell them there is only one thing that
blooms all season besides most annuals, and that's silk flowers. And there
is nothing wrong with clay. most plants love it. (well alot of perennials
love it as it's nutrient rich....) Roses must love it too as the ones I dug
up still persist and pop out baby shoots the last seven years since digging
up the three that were here all those years. And had I deliberately planted
them, they would have been riddled with black spot, insects from hell and
every blight imaginable.
Kevin, only you can explain why you are giving up and are done with
gardening. But you should have been told from the first that this was no
mere hobby. This is a lifestyle and a commitment. Something most of us will
do until we can no longer lift a trowel or bag of soil. And even then we'll
find a way or will garden in our minds. It won't be the same but it's not
something we can quit so easily.
I call myself the madgardener because I am not pissed but totally mad about
gardening honey. It started out as something to do to fill an empty space
in my heart and has blossomed into something much more fulfilling to me. I
have found wonderful lifetime friends here in this newsgroup, as well as
locally with people I've reached out to. It has enspired me to do something
else I love, to write, and one day I will make countless of my gardening
neighbors happy and finally publish that notebook of my writings. I might
not be a best seller, but I bet there will be some that will get my book
just because we've shared these moments together these years here and it's
I could show you countless pictures I've taken this season of my flowers and
moments in my ridge top fairy endeavor, but at the same time I can also tell
you that there are crushing moments of disaster. The new puppy has dug up a
pulmonaria that took me three years to get settled, the new Lobelia had
finally gotten happy in the soil and was growing and it was dug up and
exposed twice. I lost my bronze fennel so there will be no catapillars this
year to eat it to the bones and butterflies to move onward. The Swamp
sunflower I dug up has flopped so badly in my front flowerbed that I fear I
might lose perennials that I truely love.
But there are also stellar moments. My fig tree this year has the largest
crop of figs on it I've ever seen since Mary Emma gave me the twig daughter
from hers. Total idiotic diasters, like why did I plant a magnolia five
feet from this fig?? Am I insane? Will the Yoshino cherry make it in the
woods room? Will the Forest pansy redbud make it thru the winter? Have I
killed the Harry Lauders' twisted filbert by planting it in the sunny spot
in the upper woods and wasted $30?
Will I continue to over crowd perennials or will I stop and give the ones I
have room to show me what they can do? (I doubt I will stop crowding
plants, so I will be guilty of endless murder because of the crowding, or I
will finally make enough room to accomodate all of them.........I do have
almost an acre to plant, just need to get my head outa my butt and start
So you're not alone in these frustrations. But you might be one of a few
that throw in the towel because you hate to fail. I don't look at it as
failure, though Kevin. I look at it as learning experiences that teach you
so that when you are as old as me or older, you can look back and laugh at
yourself for your impatience or foolishness at thinking you could get a
handle on Mom's Nature. I hate to see you quit, but it's your call after
all. It's always sad when gardeners stop gardening, but if it's not your
pail of dirt, then I wish you well in what you endeavor to do from
all the best,
madgardener up on the ridge, back in my fairy holler, overlooking English
Mountain with the cicada's strumming loudly thru the windows and the
hummingbirds strafing thru the salvia, in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset
Sounds like you might be trying *too* hard. This is my first year and
with the exception of May when I did a lot of digging, amending,
sifting out rocks and such...gardening has been a light chore. 20-40
minutes each morning. As my plants filled out weeding became almost
non-existant and watering and occasional bug-duty were the major
concerns. Maybe you took on too much, made too big a garden and
couldn't keep a handle on it and frustrated yourself. I planted about
60 varieties, about 45 germinated successfully and grew, but my garden
is small. Probably 30-35 square feet with all the containers. Maybe
you should try working with containers and avoid the clay issue.
You'll still have to worry about deer. Deer and wildlife are a big
issue and one I don't have to deal with as much. If I did I know from
others a 8-10 foot fence is the best solution. I'd have to approach
gardening with that in mind. Or maybe construct a greenhouse and limit
myself to what fits in there.
I don't agree that gardening need be a life-long choice. For me it is
simply one interest of many and something nice to have out back. I
don't plan on acheiving self-sustenance or making enough to can and
jar for the next decade. Just some fresh vegetables, herbs and some
nice scenery to enjoy.
Best of Luck
DiGiTAL ViNYL (no email)
Zone 6b/7, Westchester Co, NY, 1 mile off L.I.Sound
1st Year Gardener
So you are a quitter, no big deal a hobby is supposed to be fun.
I'd rather be flexible and shift how and where I apply my efforts. If
I were rigid I'd take my compost and go home.
I have been calling this year the Red Sox Gardening Year after the Red
Sox motto of wait until next year. Hard winter, cold wet spring, rain
on top of rain and then humidity in the 90% range. Now no rain at all!
I have seen diseases I never had before, insects I never saw before,
hardy plants winterkilled, tomatoes blighted, blueberries down with
botrytis,cedar rust the size of a buffet table jello sculpture, hopper
burn, lace bugs, lilies so diseased they had no leaves left, stunted
garlic, split tomatoes- I ate em anyway and they killed me.
My tactics have changed, instead of growing beds I am growing a few
select plants in pots , nicotiana, night blooming jasmines , datura,
pretoria cannas, etc. My efforts have been going into laying stone
paths through the bamboo grove, lighting, top dressing everything with
last years mountain of compost. Trying to find the time and strength
to dig another pond for water lilies and lotus.
Trying to get my beehives strong enough to survive the coming winter.
Sneaking away to the quarry to get flat rocks and go swimming with my
You ain't done, you never started!
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