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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Top 10 Gardening Pet Peves

I love gardening.  But sometimes I see things in gardens that annoy me.  How about you?

Here is a list of my top 10 gardening pet peeves:

10. Planting the same things over and over.
          Stella d'Oro daylilly, hosta, red twig dogwood, yew - rinse & repeat. Yaaaaaawn!

WRONG! (Pic from
9. Lolly  pop trees. That is, planting trees too deeply and then trimming the branches into perfect circles so that they look like lolly pops.
      Planting a tree too deeply is actually unhealthy for the tree. When the roots are too deep they do not get enough oxygen for proper growth, or can rot. They can also start to grow upward and girdle the tree. This results in the tree being "strangled" and not getting enough nutrients.   When planting you should see some root flare at the base of the tree.  Also why does a tree need to be a perfect circle?

CORRECT! (pic from
8. Red mulch. 
          This mulch is not only tacky, it is treated with chemicals.  Why? Why would you do that to your yard!?

7. Spraying everything with chemicals.
          Most gardening problems can be solved without the use of chemicals. Over-use of any chemical causes pollution, may cause human illness and needlessly kills insects, birds and fish.  

6. Indiscriminate weed hate.
           Some weeds are good and even useful!  Why would you weed up dandelions and then go out and buy dandelion greens or "spring green mix" at the grocery store?  Why pull out that Queen Anne's Lace if it looks good where it is and is attracting aphid-killing lady-bugs to your yard?  Think before you pull.

5. Destroying insects without knowing what they are. 
          Not all insects are evil!  Some are very helpful.  Bees, butterflies, wasps, beetles, flies and many others are pollinators.  Juvenile lady bugs look like some kind of terrible bug before they mature into the cute little button-like creatures as adults.  But these ugly babies eat vegetable-
destroying aphids. Even some of the more annoying insects feed the local birds and other creatures. So please, do not murder bugs unless they are truly causing a problem.

4.  Laying down black plastic "weed barrier" under mulch.
        I know that the yard companies tell you that this is a good idea, but it is NOT. Think about it.  You lay down the weed barrier, then cover it in mulch.  A year later, the mulch has decomposed into dirt.  Now weeds are growing on top of the weed barrier. Sometimes, these weeds grow down through the weed barrier, which actually makes the weed more difficult to pull, and causes a real problem if you try to use a hoe to get it out of there.  In the mean time, you have to rip through the plastic to plant anything - which is a pain! You have put plastic into the environment for no reason at all.  Weed barrier has uses as soil warmer - used temporarily on top of the soil to help make the soil warmer for vegetable planting.  But installing it under the mulch makes no sense at all!

3.  Planting a tree that will become tall under a power line.
         Yes, the power pole is ugly and I understand why you want to disguise it.  But why would you plant a pine tree under it when you know that in less than 5 years it will be 20 feet tall, tangles in the power line, and might even get knocked over during a storm onto the power line - a fire hazard.  Please read the maximum growth size of any tree before you plant it.  Consider planting something shorter under a power line, like a dwarf tree or a bush.

2.  Ridiculous laws and neighborhood association rules about what you can grow or use on your
        I am in favor of laws that protect the public health.  However, when they start banning rain barrels, banning vegetables int he front yard, banning basketball hoops in the driveway, or telling you exactly what types of bushes or trees you must plant, they've gone too far. I would never live in a neighborhood with freakishly controlling rules about what I can do with MY property.  This is a free country!

1.  Fake flowers & plastic yard art "gardens."
        If your yard contains more plastic than plant
Why? Just, why?
material, you have a Walmart shopping addiction and I am revoking your "gardener" card. 

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