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My Past Gardening Mistakes

Updated on November 17, 2014

My Garden: I Went Too Big

When I started gardening, I had just moved into a new house. I had a blank canvas. All my life I had hoped for just that. I envied other people and their gardens and landscapes. I knew I had to go big or go home. I forgot about grass and ground cover. I went for multiple plants, from trees to shrubs, from flowers to vines. I even did hardscape. I dug, planted, raked, planted, hoed, planted. I worked on every square inch of my lot. It started out fun. Oh how I loved taking care of it.

Showing off the best landscaped house on the block was a terrific feeling. However, I forgot one thing. Not only would my interests change, but my body. I got interested in other things. Things away from home, things at home. The house needed painting. Things needed to be fixed. Family matters. Back to my body. Sure I am only 15 years older. But going from 39 to 54 is quite a change. I just don't feel up to taking care of it all. The pruning, cutting, weeding, mowing, mulching, fertilizing, began to take its toll. It was not fun anymore. I thought I would never say that: Gardening is not fun.

Little view of my garden


My Garden: I Bought Too Much "Stuff"

As I said above, I went out and bought lots and lots of plants. I did not care what the plant was, I just went to the local big garden center, browsed around, and bought anything and everything I liked. I had no idea how to plant it, what it liked, or where it should go. I spent lots of weekends buying plants, then finding a space for them. Eventually, this led me to realize the work it takes to maintain a garden with so many plants. You become a full time gardener for your property. Funny thing. when I had friends over, they would joke as to us having a full time gardener. Yeah. It was me. Eventually the joke was on me.

Speaking of going overboard buying plants, this also led to another obsession. Buy garden art, statues, thinga-ma-jigs, stepping stones, lights, bird baths, anything and everything that goes into a garden. See I was not satisfied with just plants. I wanted to add whimsy, fun, extra color. I did not realize that would be adding to my extra work. All of this garden paraphenalia soo got in the way. I had to weed around them. Step over and on them to prune and cut. Hose them down when they got too dirty. I found myself moving the around almost weekly as well. Why? Change of scenery. I swore that elf looked better over by the begonias...My garden statues led to over population.

Let's face it. I had reached gardening over-load.

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My Garden Problems Solved(?)

I don't know quite when it hit me. But it was quite a revelation. Probably during a time I had to prune roses, trumpet vine, and bougainvillea. On the same day I needed to mow the lawn and edge it. I knew I had now bitten off more garden than I could chew. I started downsizing.

I took out several plants that needed regular upkeep. I eliminated almost all garden art. The big fake rocks had to go. I left just the amount of plants that I could take care of in my (*gasp) spare time. Any plant that needed more than once a month attention, was gone.

Strange thing. The garden and yard actually looked better! It looked well-manicured. I had not realized it, but before, it looked like a jumbled mismatched mess.

I'll make another confession. We are getting ready to retire, and of course thinking about selling the house in a couple of years. I recently read an article that a big turnoff to homebuyers is too much yard art, and, a yard that looks like you need an army of gardeners to maintain it.

Ahhhhh. Peace. Spending more time with the wife.

My advice to you is simple. Start very small when it comes to gardening and fight the urge to buy anything and everything.

The simple things are indeed best!

>>Keep your home safe in a blackout:

A Portion of my backyard.


Lizards Playing

Lizards Playing in My Backyard

This is a video I shot in my backyard of a couple of lizards that appear to be playing around. Perhaps one is trying to bully the other, or, even mate!


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    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      4 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Any garden is nice, but it has to be manageable, otherwise it becomes too time consuming and turns into a mess. Ours hasn't had as much attention this year as it ought, but I am about to turn 60 and finding the time and energy isn't as easy as it used to be. We did chop back some trees this summer which has helped the front garden to get more light, but I have quite a bit of work to do soon before winter sets in.

      One problem has been badgers taking over a flower bed for a toilet. We don't mind, so the side of the house looks a bit of a mess, but we enjoy having the wildlife around. We also get foxes most nights, sometimes bats, and occasionally a hedgehog too.

    • Pawpawwrites profile image


      4 years ago from Kansas

      We can learn a lot from our mistakes. Thanks for sharing. Like the color.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Wow. I think that coloured paving is great. Wonderful colours. When the sun is out I can imagine how dazzling it is. Gardening is great for expressing one's own personality. Nice article.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 

      4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      I love my little veggie garden but admit that the five new bushes I planted this year are already more work than I wanted. Just keeping them watered is a chore and a half. Loved the pictures here and the lizard video.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      4 years ago from USA

      I really like the colorful pavers. I've hard both large and small gardens, but you're right ... it's better to have one that you can easily manage.

    • SheilaMilne profile image


      4 years ago from Kent, UK

      Yes, we always had wanted a large garden, and then we moved to the countryside. Be careful what you wish for! :) I've downsized over the years and now I have only a balcony.

    • cesily profile image

      Cecilia Karanja 

      4 years ago from Nairobi

      Your garden is very beautiful though. I love it.

    • klidstone1970 profile image

      இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу 

      4 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

      I know exactly what you're talking about! I have a large yard with many gardens, plus we camp at our trailer every weekend and that lot has gardens as well. It does get's not as easy as it once was. Thanks for sharing.


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