Monday, February 1, 2010

Jerry Springer in the garden!

For those blog newbies (such as myself) out there, collaborations and shared topic days are pretty common amongst garden bloggers.  Recently, I ran across one idea that sounded too good to pass up.

Cover from the DVD collection ( I kid you not, there is such a thing!).  Buy it here, if you must.

"Garden oops moments", or GOOPS, as they are known from originator Joene's Garden, are posts containing a full disclosure of garden mistakes, Jerry Springer style, sans beat downs, screaming, and DNA reports. "You did WHAT in your garden?? You little fool...." OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a wee bit, but it should be fun nonetheless. My only problem is where to start. I don't want to overwhelm, so I'll just start with one.

My first choice must be the acquisition of creeping buttercup, Rununculus repens, about seven years ago.  I don't know quite how I came to have the beastie, pictured below, but one day I looked up as I was weeding and there it was, prostrate with gold-yellow flowers.  If I could hop in my time-travelling Delorean with Michael J. Fox, I would have pulled the darn thing out.  Alas, I spared the unknown (at the time) plant and continued on my way.

The dreaded (in my yard) R. repens, Jim Stasz USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Apparently, I don't weed nearly as often as I should because the next time I spied the creeper, it had done just that and claimed some more gardening real estate.  "I'm not sure that's a weed," I said as I walked by intent on some other task.  Famous last words.

The third year started out innocently enough.  But dark forces were at work in the shade garden.  I had plans for an overhaul so I decided to scope things out and make an inventory.  Holy weeds, Batman!  Creeping buttercup was everywhere.  I took immediate action.  Unfortunately, the plant had tenacious roots.  Silty soil didn't help, either.  I finished the last of the overhaul in summer of 2009.  I am still, after four or five years, pulling the occasional plant out.

Wishing I could do this with so many weeds. (seen the movie?)

Conclusion: I now give unknown plants a much shorter time to prove they are not a weed.  About two months sounds right.  Now if I can just be true to that rule....  If you are having a chuckle at my expense, how long do you give your mystery plants to prove themselves "not a weed"?


  1. I'm not shy, at least not while blogging. I'll admit to one GOOP too: When we lived in west Kentucky, my sister-in-law in southern Illinois gave me a start of Mexican petunia after I admired the purple flowers in her garden. When I found the same beauties for sale here in Florida at one of the big box stores, I jumped at the chance to grow them again. I was new to Florida style gardening and didn't know that big box stores don't give a hoot if something is invasive or not. Given the climate here, yes, those plants are invasive. Fortunately, this dumb bunny kept them confined to one flower bed, which she toils over every year to keep them in check.

  2. Wow - invaders even so far up north. I had an unfortunate period with purple loosestrife - one day it was a friend, then, overnight, an enemy!

  3. I came to the Pacific Northwest from the Arizona I did not grow up around gardens or even house plants for that matter. Any attempt to grow plant life I ever saw were truly crimes against nature. As far as I knew, Rock was the state plant. So when I finally started my own first garden here I fully expected nearly everything would die. To compensate for the expected high death rate I over planted. That way I would have some survivors. I also grew everything from seed in a greenhouse. The first year I planted three thousand plants. It sounded like a good the time.
    Everything thrived and grew like a jungle. I didn't have room for a single new plant. The good news is that I have very few weeds. They don't stand a chance out there.

  4. I have nurtured many a weed in my time. But the most embarrassing love affair was probably with the pretty pink, yet noxious weed, Canadian Thistle flower (1st year as a gardener.) Old hands at gardening set me straight pretty quick. :)

  5. After over 30 years gardening, too many mistakes to mention ... the violet in my post a perfect beginning :)

  6. Christine, I don't have a set time frame, but as I become more and more mature, shall we say, I have less patience for non- or over-performers than I did when I first started gardening. Here's a hint for new gardeners: if someone is giving it away because they have plenty, use caution.
    And do save some of your GOOPs for the future ... the first of each month gives us new chances to share our faux pas. Thanks for joining GOOPs Day.

  7. I don't give them long...I'm sure I've ripped out a few flowers along the way lol. I've made a ton of other mistakes though. So many that I can't count...:)

  8. My biggest GOOP was transplanting Bishop's Weed to another bed from where it was when we first moved into this house. I thought the variegated foliage was so pretty. I had no idea how fast it spread underground and I'm still trying to get rid of it 10 years later.

  9. Way too long...maybe 3 months? I love your story as I am sure most of us have made the same sort of mistake :^)

  10. I planted vinca major in my front garden, and it grew so vigorously it was covering the shrubs. After two years I was pulling it out, and I have been trying to get rid of it in that area ever since. However, in the woodlands, it grows as a nice ground cover, and I am happy to let it be.

  11. I currently have an ivy problem. Maybe I should have gone in the garden once in a while in the last decade! Still, now I have entered "the enlightened years", I getting shot of it!

  12. I used to pull out things that weren't weeds just to be on the safe side - over years and years the weeds and I are familiar with each other. It's a bit like vampire stories, one vampire always survives to fight on another day ...

  13. I let "volunteers" get large enough so I can identify the leaves (or blossoms) and then if I can't identify it as a keeper out it comes. Of course, I've got one shrubby thing that is the exception to that rule. Still haven't figured out what it is but it's a great decoy plant for bugs to eat instead of eating the plants I love.

  14. Christine, I've been gardening long enough to know that If I can't identify it then I probably don't want it. Thanks for stopping by my blog. What zone are you in, all the way up there in Alaska ? I look forward to coming back here to read your about your garden. Have fun in Seattle.

  15. @Melanie
    Alaska is such a huge state, we have quite a range of zones: 1 to 5 at least. My yard is right on the 3/4 borderline. Even if it's flat out raining cats and dogs, I will have a good time in Seattle (how wet can it get inside a convention center?)!



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