Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gardening Horribilis: What Not to Do in the Garden

If you are going to stake that dahlia, do it in a way when it is young that by the time it has matured the staking and caging is not visible!

"Staking, and caging and rocks, oh my!"

There were no pink flamingos or garden gnomes, at least, although once in a while the right pink flamingo staged in just the right spot does have its appeal (or maybe this small nostalgia for pink flamingos dates me to my college years on the UW-Madison campus); but on the Portage County Garden Parade there was a lot of the horrible, what not to do in a garden.

Handsome Son knew there was something wrong. Suddenly his mother was in a picture-shooting frenzy, like sharks suddenly sensing blood in the water. He gently grabbed my elbow and murmured in my ear, "TIME TO GO!" and dragged me from the garden as I hastily snapped off a last few shots.

There was a garden I visited after the organic CSA, and the gardener with the no-mow buffalo grass lawn that is the sort of garden that makes me shudder. They think they are gardeners and they will have some beautiful flowers in vases on a dining room table somewhere, but they are also the gardeners that probably add plastic cushion protectors to their couches and lamps. They'll no doubt have the "good china" they use only for special occasions. Instead of working with their site and challenges, they use elaborate caging and fencing to get their garden to do what they want it to do rather than allow it to be what it should be.

And then there are the gardens with way to much pricey statuary and elaborate fountains often in their front yards. I don't know about you, but "plastic" and "garden" seems like it should be a non sequitur.

When I first started seeing these in the garden, I looked at them with my "crow eyes" (not to be confused with crow's feet 'ya all!), and though "bright, colors, sparkly". Okay... Now I have seen so many of these, I am thinking NO! THIS is not even as funky cool as bottle trees!

Okay, it's too much statuary when I can take a picture of your fountain (in your front yard) and the cherubs, too, all without changing the zoom on my camera.

Merd, hate to tell 'ya, your secret is out. Don't label your garden circles, all your paths, and every common plant. Let your garden slowly reveal its secrets. Do label the really cool plant you received and grew from seed from a garden pal in New Zealand that is not even supposed to grow here in central Wisconsin!


Inadvertent Christmas in July (it just seems a tad orange in this picture, but trust me it is full-blown CHRISTMAS in person.

What is with that high edging? Does it keep out the ground squirrels? Sock monkeys? Gumby? WHAT!

If you shell out the big bucks for a beautiful grafted dappled willow standard, at least learn how and when to prune it!

And finally, you KNOW what I think of these!

Instead, walk over to that tree look up into its leafy boughs and give it a big hug. Stand there a moment and feel its life force, and then go grab a hose and water the dang thing!


  1. Not the kind of stuff I'd like to see in my garden, especially the plastic eging and the Multiple Cherub Fountain. I do have some sympathy on the staking. I try to stay ahead of the staking curve but that can be a challenge. And I'm not sure I'm as bothered by the green and red as you are. I admit that I like red impatiens. As for the tree face, I'm developing a proposal for an Excessive Whimsey Tax. This could help solve the deficit and beautify the country all at the same time.

    1. Oooooh! I like your idea, an Excessive Whimsey Tax! Please include birdhouses without holes for birds, gnomes, areas that appear to be populated by invasive, non-native fairies, and alas, even too many flamingos, in addition to that ubiquitous tree art!