There’s a term for people who buy things then wish they hadn’t. It’s called buyer’s remorse. I believe there is a similar phenomenon associated with gardening. For want of a better term we’ll call it Gardener’s Remorse. This is the direct result of spending too many winter evenings drooling over sumptuous gardening books and technicolor seed catalogs.
The most basic manifestation of this malady is complete and utter loss of self-control upon entering a gardening store. All those frost-fueled dreams of picture perfect gardens rise up and rob you of common sense. Before you know it your arms are full of impulse-buy exotics, which while breathtaking in the South Pacific, instantly perish in their new home of say – Utah.
Alas, this is but one of the many symptoms of Gardener’s Remorse. Read on for cautionary tales which may prevent you from falling victim to:
1. Vegetable Remorse –
Have you ever brought home a six pack of tomatoes and planted them ALL because you knew that most would die. Then you plant a few more just to insure you have at least a few tomatoes when most of them die . . . but ALL of them survive? You end up eating and canning tomatoes from dawn till dusk, until your family rebels and refuses to touch anything that even resembles a tomato.
This is easily accomplished with Zucchini plants as well. In the blink of an eye your Zucchini have taken over the yard, and neighbors run away screaming when they see you trundling loads of Zucchini – and possibly tomatoes – to their front door. Admittedly, most people are wise enough not to plant too many zucchini, but you never know – what if none of them survive?
2. Shrubbery Remorse –
It is not uncommon for bushes to become so huge they are no longer shrubs but small Redwoods. I have a “Rose of Sharon” which began its life as a 2-inch start from my neighbor’s yard. Now it’s so tall I can’t reach the top – even on a ladder. As a result I have a bush that is neatly trimmed and rounded except for a dozen tall branches sticking up in the middle. It looks like something out of a Dr. Suess book.
3. Placement Remorse –
I planted a cute little willow tree in our flower bed when we first moved to this house. Sixteen years later its trunk is 10 inches around and it’s crammed up against the house with its weepy branches filling the rain gutters and scraping off shingles. We know we need to cut it down, but we’re afraid. What if it takes out the house in revenge for our attempted murder? (Wait, did Stephen King already write this story?)
In closing, plants are glorious and gardening is fun, as long as you don’t succumb to the spring fever known as Gardener’s Remorse. Hopefully this peek into the life of a sometimes remorseful planter will guide you when you’re bitten by the gardening bug.
Have a great summer and a happy garden!