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Gardening mistakes

Most of the time, gardening is a feeling and with some research and new-found knowledge you plant and sow and usually your garden will grow – with love and lots of watering. In this past year, I have made a few mistakes and tried a few recommended tips and found that they were a waste of time.

My first mistake is that sun-loving plants should not be planted in the shadow of trees or large bushes. I was too impatient to fill the gaps that I did not ask the plant (or read the label!) where they prefer to be planted. So I have a few plants that are not thriving – my Lychnis Coronaria is not doing well at all and I have seen some amazing specimens to know that mine looks anorexic! I now have to re-position them and this is double work – so I have learnt a valuable lesson!

My second mistake or planting boo boo is putting a large shrubby lavender in a small bucket. They are just not thriving. They seem stunted and a mould has begun to form, so my fancy threesome are not happy in their bucket homes. Hmmmm…. I’ll have to find smaller plants that are better suited.  Any suggestions?

[one_half]Unhappy Lychnis in the shadows![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Lavender just not thriving in the buckets[/one_half_last]

My third and hard learned lesson is that I mow the grass too close! I am lazy with the mowing and cut the grass short and then I get these bald patches that look ugly and take ages to come right. If I would just cut the grass more frequently and not so short, it would be lush and consistently green. It is not my favourite job but once the lawn is mowed it usually makes the whole front garden look nice and neat! So, now I have to come clean, clean up my act and get that lawn looking tip top!

My forth gardening lesson learnt is that all is not always a “good idea”. I want to be a responsible gardener and try to recycle as much as I can. I have tried the toilet roll inners and have failed miserably with them. I thought it was the best idea ever – all you have to do is plant the seedling directly into the ground (once you have the little darling happily growing in the toilet roll) and you have an added protection from nasties getting to your tender stem. Well, this turned out to be a big flop!  I painstakingly mixed the soil, placed it in the inner roll (quite difficult I must add) and then planted a seed or two into this – it took all afternoon. Watering was difficult too. I didn’t want to drown the seed so I used a small measuring cup and gently poured the water (or feed) into each individual roll…..yup! What a schmuck!!

[one_half]Bald patch in my lawn[/one_half]

[one_half_last]My excited attempt at recycling toilet rolls – planted with basil and tomatoes[/one_half_last]

Well, this did not  produce a great crop of plants – most of them did not even pop a head out! They remained stunted and looked malnourished! After all the attention and love and great worm tea …..!! I don’t think I will try that again. Oh yes! AND!! The toilet roll was so stiff that I had doubts that they would ever decompose! So, I had to tear them up gently and plant the surviors. You will see the difference in the photos below – the seed in the ground (literally shoved into the ground and watered) looking full of promise in producing a host of tomatoes and the delicately cared for wimp of a plant that looks as if it will take another year before it bears fruit!

[one_half]Stunted growth from the toilet roll planting[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Seeds shoved in the ground at the same time have flourished[/one_half_last]

Oh the joys of gardening! I have learnt valuable lessons this year!

By Barbara

Country living is the best! Being a true spirit of the earth, my garden is all about vegetables and fruit trees and herbs and chickens roaming free. I was keen to really start gardening when we moved to Philadelphia in 2005, but not your typical suburban-type garden – sterile and bug-free! I wanted an edible garden.

18 replies on “Gardening mistakes”

Great lessons learned! I know what you mean about sun-loving plants being too shaded. My neighbors trees have matured over the past few years, and now 1/2 of my sunny perennial gardens and my vegetable garden are in mostly shade! 🙁 I have some relocation to do next spring, it’s going to be a lot of work. Sorry about your TP roll experiment flopping. I have heard great things about that method and was going to try it out too. After reading about your experience, I think I’ll pass. Better luck next year!!


Wow, those are great lessons! I’ve heard about the TP rolls idea in the past, too. I guess I won’t try it now. Peat moss planters work well for me. For the pots with Lavender, how about trying some of the smaller Sedum varieties? They do well in just about all soil/light conditions and the flowers are quite vibrant. Thanks for joining in the meme!

Oh those peat pellets with the meshing on them that are suppose to decompose. Well they didn’t. I had a lot of pellets leftover. I used them but then I had to tear off the netting on them before I planted them which took more time to plant. I have a habit of sticking plants where I want them instead of where they will grow the best so then I am moving them again. LOL! I wonder if I will ever learn. It is good to know we all make some mistakes when gardening.

Oh, I do that first one all the time – guess I haven’t learnt the lesson! As for grass, I don’t know how to change the height, so I guess I’m o.k. with that one. I’m surprised your lavender didn’t do well in the bucket. Maybe it has soil that’s too good! I’ve heard that can happen, although I wouldn’t have any experience of it myself! I can’t imagine saving up all those toilet paper insides. Now I know not to bother! Well, I learned a couple of things without having to go through them myself! Thanks!

Speaking from my vast experience – a year of rented lawn before we built this house – cutting longer shades the roots and gives the lawn a better chance of growing well (and in winter longer grass blades can use the ‘excess’ water), and the clippings as mulch send the food and water back to make more lawn.

Re:stunted tomatoe plants.
I grew cherry tomato seedlings in a plastic seed tray, they were stunted too – or you could think of it as suspended. I didn’t want to have a load of tomatoes all at once so I planted out a seedling every couple of weeks.

Wow, I’m glad I never make mistakes in the garden — it doesn’t sound nice. 😉

I don’t think it’s the toilet roll method itself that was the problem (except for the sturdiness factor — which I think won’t be much of a problem since the roots can still go out the bottom once they’re in the ground, right? — as I had a large flat of those peat pellets do poorly last year. Some seeds just like different conditions to germinate, and it’s sometimes hard to replicate.

Bucket planters: get bigger buckets! I can’t tell what size those are, but except for a small number of annuals or for very small plants I never use small pots. They’re just too much work and never give enough root space.

Thanks so much for that Alan – sound advice! The bucket thing – yes, they are average size so I can get bigger ones – or cheaper to put more adaptable plants in the buckets I have and plant out the lavender in a more suitable area.

I, too, tried the loo rolls – am also found that only beans were successful. But I have found that egg shells are brilliant as seed growers. And once the seeds are big enough, I gently cracked the base, and placed them in the soil, with just enough shell above to deter cutworm.

Egg shells are a definite for me 🙂

Thanks Dani – it looks like it is only suitable for certain plants. I will try egg shells, I certainly have enough of those! 🙂

Oh Barbs, we all do it – plant things in the wrong place, cut stuff too short (I don’t cut my lawn ofdten enough either, but we cut it very high).

I’ve learnt, if something is not doing well somewhere, just replant it elsewhere and it will surprise you! My Tibouchinas are doing so well in their new spot. (I think I should move the Gardenias next).

For the buckets – If you want ‘buckets of colour’, get some Petunia seedlings and in no time they’ll be toppling over the sides and all over … or, plant annuals from seed, like the blue coneflowers maybe? Or Nasturtiums or something easy like that?


You are so right. It is not a gardening sin so all can be fixed by just moving the plant. I love the idea of buckets of colour like petunias. I’m loving my wheelbarrow display, so it might be the ideal choice. Looks like I need a nursery shop!!! 🙂 But let me move the lavender first!

It’s interesting to see your comments about toilet roll planting – I tried it with beans which seemed to work reasonably well (until the inevitable annual slug massacre) and maybe they’re sturdy enough to feel like they’ll break through ok. These days I buy them as young plants from the garden centre – lazy!

Have your lavender buckets got drainage holes? Maybe all that’s needed is an inch of gravel in the bottom of the bucket and some holes?

Thanks for your interest. It looks like the toilet roll is not for every type of plant. Next time I’ll try beans, but frankly I find just direct into the ground is best! Less fuss!

The buckets do have holes and a gravel base. But the lavender seems squashed in there. I think I’ll just move it and plant something more suitable.

By the way – congrats on your bed planting and I love your misty morning photo.

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