I have a few final thoughts about some of the more common mistakes that gardeners make that may have a significant impact over time. When I discussed plant selection and placement, I stressed size and encroachment issues. Equally important are selection of plants that are adapted to our growing conditions and their placement.
Not all adapted plants have the same sun and water requirements. Plants with similar sun and shade requirements should be grouped in the proper place. Likewise, plants with similar water requirements should be placed together. While this may be common sense, it does require some thought since we often select plants primarily based on color and size of the spot we want them to occupy. Proper selection and placement will result in healthier plants, less maintenance, and more efficient use of resources.
Since we all make mistakes gardening, we are faced with admitting it and deciding what to do about it. All too often, we ignore the problem as if it may go away. I may be the champion at this, although my biggest problem is that of deciding what to do.
If we plant a large tree or shrub too close to the house, the longer we leave it, the uglier it gets and the more difficult it will be to remove. It may also, depending on the circumstances, damage the house adding to the problem. Minimally, we should remove the problem so that it does not get worse. Having no tree or shrub looks no worse than having one that is out of place.
Finally, because I view gardening as a healthy, stimulating, creative, and rewarding activity, I think that one of the most common mistakes that people make is failing to try something. As Nike says “Just Do It.” There are no garden police. You will not be thrown into garden jail for trying something new.
I often try things without knowing much, if anything, about what I am trying. For example, I see plants that I have never heard of, don’t know anything about, and don’t care because I am captivated by them and want to try them. Sometimes after purchasing I do some research, but more commonly, I simply read the label, plant them and wait. I probably have more failures than successes, but I learn, have fun, and get knowledge and ideas from the process.
One significant lesson I have learned by “just trying it” is that one never knows, regardless of the outcome, where it may lead. Some years ago, I planted some curly leaf parsley simply because I loved what the plant looked like. I found that it self-seeds and will go where it is the happiest. It has become quite useful in the landscape and is in several gardens.
Just trying has helped teach me about how serendipitous gardening can be. Serendipity has become one of the most rewarding and fun things about gardening for me. Nature will guide you if you let her.