Sunday, November 11, 2012

I Saw An Unnerving Sight

I love landscaping.  I enjoy reading gardening books and magazines and then seeing where, and if, I can incorporate some of what I have read and seen into my own little half-acre of Paradise.

Sometimes I can.  Sometimes I can't.  This past summer my geraniums were infested with cut worms, and my gerber daisies wilted with white mildew.  Growing things is always a challenge.

Living in Sacramento for twenty years, we wrestled with hard pan clay that packed like cement when it was dry. I often felt like Tennyson's poor little "flower in a crannied wall" when trying to grow anything.  The forces of nature were definitely stacked against us in the heat of the Central Valley.  

We once paid good money for a lovely bougainvillea. We nicked named it "Bo" and I went out each day for months to tend it, talk to it, and water it.  But Bo bit the dust.  Baked in the hundred-plus degree heat.  I nearly cried. I had had visions of its blooms covering my back fence.
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With all the struggling I've done over this past year to try to turn an almost barren piece of land (except for a couple of dozen 75 ft. pine trees) into a gardened landscape, it was hard for me to imagine overdoing it.  I mean, come on, it is tough enough just to get something into the ground, get the soil amended correctly, and then get the watering routine right for that particular plant.  And don't get me started on "feeding" all this stuff correctly.  Trust me, we do not have that kind of time today.

However, the other day I drove onto a property that dumbfounded me and provided a cautionary tale.  It was clearly someone's vision at some point in time.  There was a sadly neglected gazebo with ratty looking patio furniture sitting in it, completely mismatched to the setting.        
pampas grass images
There was pampas grass that had gotten out of control, and was now eight feet high, and hid most of the entry to the property.  There was a circular drive, much like the one we had constructed in front of our house this past summer; but this one was so narrow, and overgrown from both sides that I feared for the paint on the sides of my car as I drove through it.

Most of the growth looked to be about eight or ten years old.  Here and there evidence of a garden plan still existed, albeit overgrown  and intermingled to the point that getting it sorted out would probably require a John Deere trencher, not just mowing and trimming.

Holy cow, Marsha!  Just look at this mess.  That was my first thought.  My second one was, "Let this be a lesson to you, in restraint and patience."

Ah, me.  I am so inclined to just keep filling up empty places in the yard that I could easily find myself living in a jungle five years from now.  Fortunately, it is cold and rainy this week.  All I can do is watch a little patch of grass I planted recently come up one blade at a time.  (Yes, I am easily entertained.  I've been know to watch paint dry with the fascination of one observing brain surgery.)

Still, that daunting mess I visited the other day, well, that throttled my jets a bit.  I think I will dial my gardening goals back, for now.  Good thing this has occurred just when I have little choice, since the winter dormancy is upon us for most growing things.

Guess it just goes to demonstrate once again that, as Ecclesiastes reminds us, there is a "time for everything" and purpose under heaven for all things.  A time to plant and a time to refrain from planting.  Growing a good life is much harder work than growing a good garden.

There have been times, when I have been tempted to just rush into filling "empty places in my life" with whatever I could plant there, regardless of whether it fit with any plan God might have for me.

Mostly I have resisted that inclination, but I am aware that it could reassert itself at any moment.  Thus, I must go now, and practice my refraining skills.  They are sorely under-developed.
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Hope you have a good view through whatever window you are gazing today.  Until next time ... Marsha
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Question:  Have you ever planted something you later regretted?  Have you ever had a garden get out of control?  Just asking?  :)


  1. I think my biggest regret is having a yard so much on a slant I can't have a garden. sandie

    1. Chatty,
      We had that same problem in Sacramento - for 20 years! UGH!

      At least, even with the deer and the squirrels here in the foothills, I finally have a fairly level patch of land to work with. Of course, I'm too old to work on a slope anymore, so that is one reason I chose this place. :) Happy Sunday evening to you. - Marsha

  2. Mint!! When I was having a hard time financially I decided I would plant mint in the flower beds instead of bedding plants. You can't KILL mint!!! I repeat - you can't KILL mint! And it grows so well! That was the title of my first blog post - 'I never MEANT for the Mint....'

    Lesson learned. Don't be so quick in making rash decisions based on my present circumstances!

    1. Linda,

      Good thing I have never been a big fan of mint. No telling, what nonsense I might have kicked off! :)

  3. English Ivy ... I loved the small sprig in a small pot inside my house. Then I moved it outside into an old black iron wash pot. It looked pretty good there too. Then I had the bright idea of planting a piece next to a post on our split rail fence... BIG MISTAKE !! That mess took off, grew up a pine tree and all over the front flower bed. I've hacked and hacked at it and it comes back twice as much...I'm losing that fight..

  4. Bouganvilla- completely took over and choked out everything else. At least it had beautiful blossoms.

    A timely lesson you wrote of so well here-

  5. i have planted many words that i regret.

  6. I am no gardener; I could kill a silk plant! I love a garden it is just not one of those things God intended me to be (much to the chagrin of my sweet mother-in-love!). Perhaps it's only because I am just too lazy; perhaps because I lose patience, perhaps many things (excuses my Momma would have said). However, I do appreciate the analogy of having my life 'filled' with too much and so 'overgrown' that nothing shines. Dearest Lord, help me find the balance you designed within me. Help me appreciate margin in my life. AMEN

  7. I certainly don't have green fingers and I would love to have a beautiful and colourful garden. Everything I plant tends to just die -I'm obviously doing something wrong :))

  8. I planted bamboo and bouganvillea both went rampant and nearly choked the house. It took a lot of work to dig them out.

  9. I am not the best gardener. However, I love gardens. I especially loved the one we had in our previous home as it was cared for by someone else. :)

    Now that we are living in a very small space, I only have a small front entry to contend with. But we are waiting for the OK from the homeowners to put a window box up so I can plant red geraniums. There are five rose bushes in this area that were already there when we moved in so I'm learning how to care for roses myself.

    Be patient. And thank you for stopping by Heart Choices.

    Blessings and love,

  10. Okay, from all the cautionary tales above I have concluded:

    It is a good thing that BO died a natural death, or else I would have had to "execute it" at some point.

    Ivy is a creepy thing that is hard to stop, once started.

    Mint can take over the world.

    And bamboo is a hazard. Oh dear, the former owners planted several stands of it on one side of the house, so I am no forewarned.

    Thanks for all the fun and informative feedback.

  11. One more thing...Trumpet Vine! I brought home two pots, and before you could blink your eyes I have beautiful orange trumpet shaped flowers all over. I also had vines all over that couldn't be stopped. They grew into the foundation of the garage and in between the siding on the garage. Then they wrapped themselves around all the other flowers and plants. It truly was a little vine of horrors. After every elimination method known to man, we thought they were gone, until one day my husband saw a tiny sprout by the garage. I have been threateed with divorce if I ever buy another one.