Gardening Mistakes and Disasters
I've Made So Many Mistakes With My Garden
After gardening for fifty years I still have numerous gardening disasters and mistakes. They range from insufficient water, insufficient sunshine, too much sun, not fertilizing sufficiently, earth as hard as iron, heavy clay which is typical London soil, planting shade-loving plants in the sun and sun-loving plants in the shade, waterlogged seed trays, seedlings dying through lack of watering when I was on holiday, squirrels and birds searching for food, and the all-pervasive slugs which devour everything.
Then there are the plants I buy enthusiastically but don't have time to plant, or don't have time to prepare the ground properly, plants which are overgrown or strangled by stronger plants competing for the same space, trampled plants, balls regularly flying over the fence from my next-door neighbours' children on both sides, plants being trampled upon by amateur paid gardeners with boats for feet and two left hands, and over-zealous weeding by a visiting friend.
My Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder Doesn't Work
So I can't feed the birds
The Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder simply isn't squirrel proof . Look at the pictures below of a squirrel stealing up to my squirrel proof bird feeder to see what I mean.
These two unrepeatable photographs are not brilliant because it all happened so quickly, as I was looking out of the window - as soon as I saw the squirrel I grabbed my camera from the next room, but didn't have time to adjust the settings, or even dash outside - I shot them through my window
I confess - these photos are below my usual inimicable standard but interesting enough to compensate
Here's The Squirrel Finding The Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder And Then Pulling Off The Lid
The lid on this squirrel proof bird feeder was secured so tightly that even I could not get it off, but little squirrel did,
I had tied it down with wire which I then twisted, and left it on the bench to see whether it was possible to make it squirrel proof.
I still don't know how he got that lid loose, as I tested it before putting it there.
Squirrel Raiding A Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder--A Proper Photo
And Here's Another Squirrel
Feeding from a Different Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder
Photograph by Les Howard, who reckons that, at least in his garden, squirrels are becoming genetically modified by having longer thinner heads to fit into bird feeders!
Is It A Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder Or Is It A Bird-Proof Squirrel Feeder?
Below Is One Rose Bush Which Doesn't Flourish And One Bush With Abundant Flowers But So Weak That It Has To Be Supported
A rose bush which doesn't flower is a disappointing rose bush
I have a rose bush which never bears more than two roses at a time. This is a constant disappointment to me as it is adjacent to my front garden path and stands there as a constant reminder.
It was a fairly new breed when I bought it and looked reasonably healthy and vigorous.
I planted it in a fairly sunny border in clay soil. Roses quite like clay.
I fed it occasionally. But it never did well, despite rose food, harsh cutting back and vigorous weeding round the roots. I suspect it is too close to the other rose bush which has an abundant supply of flowers but has such weak straggly branches that it flops all over the place and has to be supported with ties.
My Bulbs Are Frequently Dug Up And Eaten By Squirrels, Slugs And Snails - They Have No Respect
I have even tried protecting my tulips with cloches fashioned from plastic water bottles cut in half, but whilst it might delay the predators, it certainly does not deter them completely, and the bottles look hideous, making the area look like a junk yard, which somewhat defeats the object of having beautiful tulips.
Plastic Bottles Used As Cloches On Tulips
I Grew Two Seed Trays Of Cabbage And Brussels Sprouts, Because I Love Them -
I gave lots away, but most of the ones which I planted for myself fell by the wayside, eaten by I-know-not- what
Which one did the most damage, slugs, snails, birds, squirrels or white cabbage caterpillars, I know not.
Eventually I managed to have about 6 plants actually growing. I was able to pull a few leaves off them whenever I needed a small amount of greens for a meal, but they never developed into real, hearty cabbages. They looked depressed, and even when I covered them with netting, it was impossible to stop all the predators.
I took to going out with a torch in the middle of the night before I went to bed or at 4.00 am just before dawn, gathering slugs and snails and, yes, I admit it, destroying them. I really do feel bad about killing things, but, when it is a competition for life, I don't see why it should be the slugs and snails that have the benefit of the doubt rather than their victims, the cabbages.
A Sad-Looking Cabbage - It Made Me Sad Too!
Here Is A Poem I Wrote On The Subject Of Slugs:
(I went inside and wrote this poem after I had just had a particularly successful slug hunt)
Cats Love Little Earthy Patches In The Garden - They Make Good Toilets
Why can't they go far away - in other people's gardens, or even use their own dirt-box?
No, they have to use your newly-planted seed tray, or the garden seed-bed.
But I have devised a cunning trick -
Cats like bare earth, so that they can turn it over after they've done the bizzo; so wherever I have planted seeds in my vegetable patch, I put in loads of pointed sticks, including broken twigs and anything that looks like a sharp tooth-pick, to deter them.
It really works.
Here Is A Picture Of My Cat, Pussums, About To Avail Herself Of The Facilities In My Flower Bed
Unfortunately, Birds Do Not Stop At Eating Seeds On The Open Ground
They peck the tops off my newly sprouting vegetables and flowers, and something - I won't name names, suffice to say it could be birds, slugs, snails, squirrels or even dormice - ate all my strawberries except one, and every single cherry without exception on my cherry tree. It was only the first year it had borne fruit, so there's a lesson to be learned there, I suppose.
Gardening books recommend that you throw nets over fruit trees, but I do not feel competent to perform this operation in my old age on a tree that is ten feet tall. However, what I did do was get the cherry tree cut back to a few lateral branches, and this year I shall train them horizontally against the perimeter fence, where I will be able to reach them and cover them with netting........more news later this year!
News Update written in Late Summer:
No cherries to eat in June or July yet again, so at the end of summer we cut down our cherry tree, comforting ourselves with the thought that at least the plants under the tree would grow more vigorously and be productive. It's sad to think there will be no more cherry blossom in Spring, but life moves on (said she with a wry smile).
Here's A Bird, A Starling I Think, Eating Seeds In The Garden. The Bird Feeder, Of Course, Was Empty Because The Squirrels Got There First
I Grew About Four Courgette Plants From A Somewhat Larger Number Of Seedlings, Most Of Which Didn't Thrive
Two got eaten by slugs almost immediately, one was eaten by slugs after developing flowers, and the one in the picture below suffered from stem rot which got worse and worse, resulting in the flowers dying off without fully developing, and eventually the whole plant just died on me.
And I can tell you, that was no laughing matter, as I had to water them with a hose every day - they are very thirsty plants.
What did I do wrong? I don't know. If anyone else knows, please put your advice in my Guestbook at the bottom of this page
My Rather Poorly Courgette With A Brown Bud - This Was The Courgette At Its Healthiest -- It Steadily Deteriorated And Only Bore One Courgette Worth Eating
My Spinach And My Three Cabbages Planted In November Bolted
What is "Bolting"? Well may you ask
As far as I can tell, "bolting" means shooting up too fast and growing silly little leaves, seed heads and flowers instead of luscious large leaves that I can pick and eat for my dinner. So I got rid of them in Spring and planted new ones, which were very prolific.
Here Is A Photograph Of My Spinach And Cabbage Bolting
I Inherited The Pointed Spade Shown Below
I was really pleased with it, but regrettably it wasn't very strong - in fact that's an over-statement - it bent like tin.
Here's a picture of it after I used it for digging.......well, I thought you were supposed to use the spade for digging, but obviously not - it must have been an ornamental spade.
However, a word of advice: pointed spades are very useful for digging up small things, and I might well replace it.
Spade Bent By Digging Too Hard, Would You Believe?
If you want an attractive garden
Plant short things at the front,
taller things at the back.
spring-flowering plants can
go further back so that
when they die back they are
screened by later-flowering plants.
Co-ordinate your colours
as carefully as you would
if you were buying clothes.
Here's A Link To A Related Gardening Article
- Pensioner dies after pricking finger on rose bush (By Chris Brooke Daily Mail 20th March 2010)
A pensioner has died after pricking his finger on a rose bush while gardening at home. George Emmerson, 73, didn't realise a thorn from the plant he was pruning back had become embedded into his finger and developed blood poisoning
How to Keep Plant Losses to a Minimum:
- Read up on plant requirements before you plant anything out
- Follow the instructions and give plants a chance by planting them in the right conditions
- Protect plants from predators where possible
Take This Poll About Snakes
Have you ever found a snake in your garden - a wriggling, hissing, menacing snake. Or a slithery snake silently watching you? Or going about its snaky, nefarious business?