Monday, October 10, 2011

Learn from my mistakes #3…how turn a 15 minute job into an hour.

First of all you’ll need to repeat my “mistake #2” and once again buy a plant which you don’t have a place for. In this case it was the bargain Mahonia × media ‘Charity’ I bought for 50% off last month.

Approximate time of project starting 11:55 am….

Decide to place this plant along the north side of the house (possibly the second mistake in this process… will it get enough light?) and dig a hole, a big hole (a 5-gallon size hole). Once you’re done and you’ve placed the plant step back and evaluate. Realize you’ve just blocked your only view of the smaller Mahonia fortunei ‘Curlicue’… …along with the Himalayan Maidenhair Ferns and an ‘Angustifolia’ Hart’s Tongue Fern (I’m standing in the neighbor’s driveway to take this picture…a view I don’t normally get). Spend a few minutes to think about this mistake. Decide the answer is to flip the two Mahonias. Dig up the M. fortunei and one of the Maidenhair Ferns. Be sure to wear flip flops during the entire process…this slows down the digging, and adds an element of danger (especially on a graveled slope!)… Once the M. fortunei is dug up realize that you should never have planted it so close to the basement window. Fill in that hole and dig a different hole for the M. media‘Charity’ moving it ever so slightly towards the back corner of the house. Replace most of the soil you dog for the original hole, and replant the much smaller M. fortune there. Dig another small hole and replant the Maidenhair Fern. Stand back and realize you didn’t even check to see what the final size of these plants is expected to be. Maybe you wasted your time based on what size they are now, rather than what size they will be in the future. Pick up your tools and move on to the next project. Time – 12:54 pm


  1. That is exactly how I garden! - Lisa

  2. Thankfully I have only managed to do this a few times in my gardening career so far!

    I must admit to being quite jealous of a virtually unplanted border as all of mine are getting quite full up (I should not complain about this really after the losses of the last two years).

    I like your Mahonia fortunei ‘Curlicue’ a lot, what a lovely plant. You can tell it has Mahonia blood in it, but it is so much more dainty.

  3. This is great!
    Thanks for the laugh!

  4. Hah! That is how I garden too. In fact, before I even read what you were going to do, I said to myself, I'd dig them up and switch their positions. In fact, I think I have done that very same maneuver with other plants. I bet a lot of people do similar things in their gardens.

  5. Lisa, thank you...misery does love company, or something like that.

    Adam D, actually it's taking every bit of willpower to keep that border so thinly planted, you see my neighbors drive is right up against it and I need to leave room for them to get in and out of their cars easily. Of course a truly nice neighbor wouldn't have planted such prickly plants right there would she?

    Unknown, glad I could provide it.

    Alison, I love knowing that I am not alone!

  6. Ha! I think most gardeners can really relate! I appreciated your flip flop pic; I find that sometimes I go into the garden to do one small thing, and the bug bites me and I'm doing much more than I intended, but I don't want to stop long enough to prepare putting on decent shoes.

  7. Oh, my! I have already made mistake #2 and I was going to make mistake #3 today - except the ground was too wet to dig in. Maybe I'll think about it for a while!

  8. Yes, once again, you're singing my song. The Mulchman frequently contributes to the "maybe it should be behind...a little to the left...I didn't mean that far back!" debate/conversation, too. As for flip flop gardening, it takes a serious amount of digging to get me out of those in summer, but by this time of year I have succumbed to cold toes and put on the proper digging footwear.

    Suffice to say, I would probably have taken at least an hour and a half to do what you managed in a hour!

  9. This is totally unrelated, but I just saw this and thought of you:
    How often do you get to buy agave seeds? I ordered a packet. We'll see how it goes!

  10. What do you mean mistake? I thought that's what we all called gardening?

  11. Hilarious! Glad to know I'm not alone; I used to drive a neighbor crazy becauase I'd realize something was too big so I'd dig it up and relocate it. Not sure why it stressed her out, but it worked for me! I also do some of my best work in flip flops...

  12. Tacky in TacomaOctober 11, 2011

    Thanks for a great laugh to start the day! Flip flops are a wonderful idea 'cause you can just hose off all the dirt! Crocs are also fun because the dirt and moisture go right into the holes and make a nice mud paste all over your feet as you work.

  13. Fun, yeah home grown gardening at it's best. Mahonia is one if those plants ive admired for years, but still don't have one. If we had one today, may fit into mistake #2 category lol. Matti

  14. Kristin, yes! I do the same thing, for example coffee on the patio in the morning and the next thing I know I've started weeding and I'm still in my pj's...thankfully we've got a private backyard.

    HolleyGarden, sometimes procrastination is a very good thing.

    MulchMaid, you're out of flip flops already? We've still got a good couple of weeks left in flip-flop season!

    Greensparrow, thank you! This looks like fun, I think I might have to join you!

    Ann, (smiley face here)

    Mandy, seriously? Your neighbor got stressed out? Too funny...

    Tacky, and that is exactly why I stopped gardening in Crocs. That plus the fact that it is nearly impossible to find and remove Opuntia spines/glochids from a Croc, but your feet still feel them!

    Matti, I have a hard time picturing a Mahonia in you guys garden. I'm sure you could make it work but it just doesn't seem "right" somehow...

  15. Oh yes...this is the story of my life...I am endlessly moving things least at this time of year, I don't have to worry about watering ;-)

  16. What I don't understand is how you accomplished all of that without making a huge mess.

  17. I always wear flip flops gardening, especially if I'm moving heavy rocks. I pull out the clogs if I'm working in an unstable area; it makes it easier to roll an ankle. :)

    That mahonia is lovely.


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