Remember when we asked for your gardening fails? Here are our favorites!
Jennifer Dolgener Halupnik
This past summer, we decided to plant three 8-foot tall Eastern Pine trees. We thought we'd be able to plant them ourselves. I was concerned about this at first, but the nice man helping me showed me how "easy" it was to roll the tree on its base. Well, the trees were delivered, and we dug the holes (that was hard work!). Then it was time to plant the trees. I cut the ropes holding the first tree in its basket, thinking I needed to remove the basket. The whole tree came out of its sandy root ball. Ugh. We managed to plant it anyway and hoped for the best. The other two trees, we left tied up. But for the life of us, we couldn't get one moved to the proper location. We ended up paying the nice men who were doing yard work for the house behind us to move it for us. They made it look easy! We finally got all three trees planted...and I'm happy to say they all survived the summer, grew a lot, and now look great. Lesson learned -- let the professionals plant the trees!
Did you know we offer planting services? You don’t have to do the backbreaking work of moving and planting new trees; our team can do it for you!
I let a weed grow for a solid six weeks before realizing it was a weed. I had planted a mix of “wildflowers” in one of my flower beds to fill in an area where typically only weeds grew. At first, I had given up hope that nothing was going to grow, but FINALLY, some things started to sprout! I was elated, so I watered the area diligently and made sure to fertilize the “plants.” Once they bloomed, I realized it was Queen Ann’s Lace. I had put so much effort into them that I just let them live there happily the rest of the year…
When my husband and I moved into our first home 8 years ago, I thought the wild purple flowers growing out front and back were BEAUTIFUL. They made our city home feel more country and “wild.” Months later, after we became friends with our older neighbor, he kindly let us know it was Creeping Charlie. My husband spent YEARS battling it after that, and we still have the occasional plant pop through that I now despise!
I planted a sweet potato vine with some other flowers in a hanging container on the porch. I love that look. I noticed it was getting really heavy, though. I didn’t realize actual sweet potatoes would grow from it!
I bought an orange bell pepper plant. When they started growing, I was frustrated because the peppers were green. I thought someone had switched the labels. I had no idea peppers are all green to start!
It's really not a fail; it’s just a cute story. We had planted Better Boy and Early Girl tomatoes. Our grandson was probably about five or six, and he asked us, “is this a girl tomato or a boy tomato?”
I was living in a second level apartment. I had just moved and had a new baby, so I hadn't intended to have a garden going that year. But one day, I came home to a very sad tomato plant sitting on my doorstep. I guess I looked like a person who could save it? Well, I potted it up and gave it water and a sunny spot on my balcony. My balcony set-up was such that the best place to get sunlight for a good chunk of the day was on the railing (which was about a foot wide). Everything was fine, and the tomato (which turned out to be a monster, indeterminate, heirloom variety) just kept growing and growing. So I kept putting it in bigger and bigger pots.
Well, one day, my 3-foot tall plant was not outside. It was too big for even the geese to mess with, and we weren't exactly an easy balcony to steal from, so I didn't know where it had gone. I peeked over the side and saw that it has blown over and was all over the ground—poor tomato! Its main stem was snapped but wasn't broken clean through, so I figured I may as well try to save it. I splinted it, taped it up, and buried it past the injury. I didn't know at the time that tomatoes put out roots wherever they contact soil, so I was really surprised that it survived. A week later, it was on the ground again. I nursed it back to health again, and it jumped once more before we bought a house, and I was able to put it on firm ground. I called it my base-jumping tomato plant, and despite its rough life, I got a pretty good harvest out of it!
We recommend securing your plant pots well if they need to sit somewhere precarious to get sunshine. If you want to grow some plants on your balcony railings, we’ve got pots just for that; stop by to check them out!
I had a lemon tree, and during the winter, I noticed a horrible smell coming from it. It slowly lost limbs and leaves all winter. I tried to give it a little fertilizer around the end of winter, but the tree was just slowly dying and creating this horrid smell. I tried to Google the symptoms, which led me to mixing shredded paper into the soil, but it didn’t fix the problem. Nothing worked, and I took it into Wallace's in the spring. It was dead, and it was due to urine... But I don't own any cats, and my dogs leave it alone. Turns out it was the stray cats in our neighborhood.
For 2 years, we've had random plants die due to the stray cats using our plants as litter boxes. My poor lemon tree was the proof, so I bought a lemon bush, and we put plastic forks all around it in the dirt. The cats didn't use it as a litter box anymore but moved on to other plants of mine... Turns out I need to put plastic forks in all potted plants next year when they go outside.
Keeping unwanted cats and other creatures out of your garden can be a challenge! If you’re having trouble with pesky critters using your garden as a restroom, come chat with our staff. We can help you find a solution to deter them.
Thank you for sharing your stories with us! We so enjoyed reading them, nodding along and thinking, “Yep, I’ve done that too!” as we went through them. We hope that, in spite of a few missteps, you’re as excited about the 2021 gardening season as we are. We can’t wait to hear about what you get up to in your gardens in the new year!