Forum home Talkback

Garden gaffes

Jean GenieJean Genie Posts: 1,724

We' ve all done it at one time or another. Planted something  in wrong location, wrong soil, too shady, too sunny.

Can anyone beat this ? Years ago I purchased a Viburnum macrocephalum ( Snowball Bush ) by mail order - planted it and everything seemed to be going well until I noticed a sucker appearing so I pruned it off as you do . What I didn't realise was it was a grafted shrub and yes you've guessed it I pruned off the wrong stem !!!

I'm now the proud owner of a 20ft silver birch tree - haha ! Never mind , the birds love it and it's somewhere to hang the fat balls. However don't know what the neighbours think !!!



  • WintersongWintersong Posts: 2,436

    I am prone to garden gaffes although thankfully plants always try their best to cover up my mistakes.

    One example I'm not exactly proud to admit is as recent as last year, when I pruned out some rather offensive growth on a newly planted Spirea Snow-mound as I didn't read the label correctly and actually cut back all its long flower stems.image

    On the whole I live (or rather my plants live) dangerously in the garden. Because I have sandy soil and a flippant attitude, I'll move shrubs out of season, I'll hack at things and I'll divide plants still in their infancy. Luckily, 99% of plants will do their damndest to survive my errors and hopefully I learn something along the way.image

  • Jean GenieJean Genie Posts: 1,724

    Any idea how big this silver birch is gonna grow ?

  • smudgesmudge Posts: 13

    60 80 ft.



  • FloBearFloBear Posts: 2,281

    Asked for advice on tomato growing by a colleague, I went out to his greenhouse to find some rampant specimens in growbags - very leafy and only one tomato so far. I happily explained about pinching out side growths and broke one off even though it was very long - and yes, it was the one with the tomato on it. Eeek.


  • BenDoverBenDover Posts: 487
    I have a very very educated friend - one day I went in to her garden and noticed grow bags with bamboo canes had been set up. "Growing tomatoes", I said. "Yes, but I've been watering them now for three weeks and nothing's happening", she replied. "And where are the tomato plants?", I enquired. "They haven't come up yet". I had to explain to her that she had to plant tomatoes in the growbags and they dont just grow from the bag. She was convinced she had been dupped, "But its got pictures of tomatoes on the bag, look". She never attempted to grow tomatoes again.
  • auntie bettyauntie betty Posts: 208

    II'm like wintersong. I have an attitude of, well i'll shift stuff about willy nilly and hack lumps off things whenever i like and if it dies... well it just wasnt trying, was it? Plants are living things, after all. I also firmly believe in giving things a go. A certain plant might "prefer" a certain place but that doesnt mean it'll turn up its toes just because things are less than absolutely ideal... I "prefer" partial sun, a temperature of 16-21 degrees and a large glass of wine in each hand, and yet i dont actually die in the winter. Just go a bit limp for a bit. The wine's non-negotiable though! I've discovered all sorts of things I never would've got from a book by having this attitude and think I have a more interesting garden because of it. For example, heuchera 'lime rickey' is supposed to like sun. DON'T DO IT! In sun, its a putrid yellow colour and the leaves shrivel even on moist ground. In shade, its a vibrant lime green, and the foliage stays fresh all year. The variagated bamboo, pleioblastus, is used as a pond marginal, but actually copes perfectly well with dry shade. That said, I've had epic failures too, like the fantastic huge clump of paeony molly the witch that finally karked after being moved for the 4th time in one year (SO should've known) and the many, many attempts to get anything at all with purple foliage not to go green or bronze in shade. And the massive phormium I didn't wrap that year we had the mega bad winter which died horribly, with only me to blame. Shame shame on me!

  • WintersongWintersong Posts: 2,436

    @auntie betty, you are now my favourite auntie!! (besides the fact, I don't have any other aunties)

    I bought a Lime Rickey 2litre pot last year and stuck it in the sun where it promptly died, just as you describe. Believing the label was correct, I couldn't work out why, but I did manage to take two tiny tiny divisions before it completely croaked which I have grown on for a year.

    They are still puny but not tiny and my intention was to add them to my full sun border, still believing the experts!   Thank You for your invaluable first hand experiences.image

  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    Plants don't read the books, watch the telly, listen to the radio or read their labels!!  Most of them have an overwhelming desire to live, and will do their best to do so no matter what we do to them.  It is probaby true that a plant that evolved in the middle of a rain forest might not do well in a dry sunny garden (what is a dry sunny garden?) but it will jolly well try before sucumbing - giving you a chance to realise what is wrong and move it.   I agree re light leaved, and light flowered, plants - they are often better in some shade, not matter what the labels say.

    By the by, what makes you think plant labels are written by experts?  I know someone who worked in a printing place, where labels for a very famous provider of plug plants had their work done  They were told to put 'grow in full sun' onto most things, as people found it more positive and were more likely to buy the plant.  Never mind having to buy it again, and again, and again .................

  • auntie bettyauntie betty Posts: 208

    Wintersong, get your gorgeous little heuchs somewhere nice and cool and on the moist side of average and you'll be amazed. I was!  I've got a massive clump now, having salvaged some teeny pieces of my original shrivelled and much abused specimen just like you did. It came back really fast once I shifted it. Done so well I just bought 2 more for elsewhere - havent the heart to start chopping my old one! Seems too cruel. Its one of my favourite guys in the garden now. Super special with a whacking clump of dicentra, or euphorbia robbiae if the thought of bright pink and lime together horrifies you. Truth is, I imagine a healthy Rickey looks pretty tops with almost anything that isn't silver. xx

  • gardeningfanticgardeningfantic Posts: 1,019

    i killed 2 of my penstemons last year.. i cut them back far to hard.. think i am taking after my motherimage.. she likes to hack things to an inch of its life.. also a gorgeous ceanothus tree i had.. got woody thought i would give it good hair cut.. htey are very tough..or so i thoughtimage it didnt like it and diedimage

    i used to move things anywhen and they would i try and wait until out of summer season.. (hands need to be tied really) or at least until they have finished flowering.. and never cut back by more htan a third anymore.


Sign In or Register to comment.