Epic Garden Fail: When Plant Choices For Gardening Go Bad

By Mary Ellen Ellis | April 7, 2020
Image by arlutz73
by Mary Ellen Ellis
April 7, 2020

I, fortunately, have no major embarrassing garden moments to speak of, but I have definitely made some mistakes over the years. At the time, these caused me some embarrassment, especially when witnessed by other “expert” gardeners. Now, though, I realize they were just part of the learning process and that choosing the right plants for you garden is important for a reason. It not only saves you from lots or work but heartache too.

Gardening is an activity that cannot be learned solely from books. You have to get out in the dirt, try things, fail, and try then again.

Garden Fail – Buying the Wrong Plants

I can’t count how many times I’ve bought plants that were inappropriate for my garden or my house. A large ficus died a slow and sad death in my house before I learned that they really need to be outdoors in a tropical setting to thrive (if you’re not able to provide these conditions inside).

One year I bought Icelandic poppies for a perennial bed, based simply on the fact that I liked how they looked. They died. Every time I made this type of gardening error, I felt embarrassed that I hadn’t done my research. Well, I do now. And I have a much greater reservoir of general plant and gardening knowledge.

When Plant Choices for Gardening Go Bad

There was one unforgettable moment in the garden that occurred the year I proudly bought and planted five hydrangeas. It was a big investment and I was excited about it. I have always loved hydrangeas and have long admired them in other gardens. I even had green hydrangeas on my wedding cake.

I wanted to anchor one large bed in my new garden with my favorite flowering shrub, so I got the hydrangeas and planted them all in one long, tiring day. The very next morning, looking out the window to admire them, there was nothing to see. I was literally in shock, and heartbroken!

I ran outside to figure things out, half expecting to find holes in the ground as if there were a hydrangea thief in the neighborhood. What I saw, however, was a few scraggly stems left over and a few piles of deer pellets. Yep, the deer had found my lovely hydrangeas and decided to make them dinner. A little bit of research told me that hydrangea is a bit of a deer delicacy. And our area is overrun with deer, which I knew already. Lesson learned.

Even though I made this and a few other mistakes, guess what? I’m now a better gardener for it.

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