Currently Fretting About . . .

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

Perhaps you’ve read it in the sidebar. In one of the random quotations I quote my friend Chan:

I am instinctively suspicious of any garden writer (or gardener) who is insufficiently fretful.

You don’t worry about your garden if you don’t care about it. And if you do care, you fret. At the beginning of the season, you wonder if your plants made it through. (By the way, White Flower Farm has a good article on late-emerging plants.) Mid-summer, you might be anxious about the effects of drought, or the bugs on your rose bush, or the way the leaves are yellowing on your phlox.

Earlier this spring I was fretting about my Colchicum autumnale. All my other colchicums had foliage up. Did that one bite the dust? It was good that I wondered, because it had come up, but was almost swallowed up by the lawn grass encroaching in the garden bed. I had misremembered its location by six inches, and it is much more petite in leaf and flower than most of my other colchicums. It might have lost the battle with the grass if I hadn’t rescued it.

I’m still fretting about the little Styrax obassia I planted last year. Not only was it marginally hardy, but it was nibbled by a rabbit and tunnelled underneath by either a rodent or water pressure. I think it’s a goner. The stewartia I planted around the same time is doing fine, looks to break into leaf any day now.

You know how a lot of blogs have a space for what they’re currently reading or currently listening to? Sometimes I wonder if I should have a “currently fretting” space. Just to be fair, I’d have to have a “currently delighting in” as well. Some gardening blogs have a “currently blooming,” I always appreciate that when I find it. At the height of the season I’m sure it’s difficult to keep it, uh, current.

So what are you currently fretting about in your garden?

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

What differentiates a bulb from a perennial plant is that the nourishment for the flower is stored within the bulb itself.…There is something miraculous about the way that a little grenade of dried up tissue can explode into a complete flower.

~Monty Don in The Complete Gardener pp. 142

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Genie May 13, 2006, 12:38 pm


I barely know what I’m doing with my brand new garden, and yet, I’m already mired in fretting — it’s ridiculous! My fret d’jour is the huge rabbit I saw meandering through our back yard this morning — he was one of the fattest I’ve seen since I moved to Iowa City. I was on the phone with my Mom at the time, so I couldn’t run out and chase him away, but now I feel like I need to sit on the back porch with my feet propped up on the railing and a slingshot at hand…

My first-ever garden hasn’t even been in the ground for a week, and I’m already fretting. I guess it’s the nature of the beast.

🙂 Genie
The Inadvertent Gardener

Melissa May 11, 2006, 2:40 pm

This is like visiting the gardner’s shrink: I get to spill my frets! I’m fretting over the very strong possiblity that I ripped out both the coneflowers and bee balm I planted last year. I think in my spring weeding fever I mistakened both for weeds. Sobs!

Laurie Gano May 10, 2006, 6:48 pm

I don’t have time to list all the things I am fretting about! Here are the top 2: it is getting awfully dry, I am watering all new, moved and slow emerging plants every couple days. Also, I have millions of annual seedling coming up everywhere. Poppies are the chief component. I am hoeing where I can, but there are many obstructions. Enough!

entangled May 10, 2006, 6:50 am

Great topic! Listing the frets out one by one might be cathartic (or at least more organized).

Weather: It’s never right.

Missing perennials: I guess the dry weather has been harder on the “permanent” plants than I realized. Many things didn’t sprout this year, including some that were very reliable.

Backlog: Started to dig a new bed several weeks ago, and stalled. The weeds do not wait for me. Need to prune the trees in back of the house up higher. The weeds do not wait for me (bears repeating).

Indecision: Can’t make up my mind about the compostion of the container plantings this year, so have done nothing. Bought a Japanese Maple which absolutely looks bad where I thought it would be perfect, so where to put it instead?

And on and on. And this is the good time of the year when everything is fresh and green and the bugs and diseases haven’t yet shown themselves.

firefly May 9, 2006, 2:54 pm

I’m fretting about everything, because I just planted my first real live in the dirt garden after several years of pot gardening on a second floor porch — but I’m especially worried about the squirrels digging up everything I just planted. We’ve been feeding them peanuts (we have three nursing mothers who come to the sunroom door and take peanuts from our hands) and much as I enjoy watching them munch away, if I find another little squirrel pit in the ground next to the morning glory seedlings … !

I was really glad to read this post because for weeks there in March and April I was going out to the raised bed in the back yard and staring at the spots where I’d planted bulbs as if eyepower could substitute for sunlight.

When the first leaves appeared, I switched to fretting over the seedlings in the basement, most of which are doing well, except for the wretched lavender and the obstreperous viola, both of which pretty much gave me the raspberry and refused to germinate (although the moss and algae [lichen?] on the seed cells is doing great). I finally gave up and bought lavender plants locally.

Then I found the “currently delighting in:” I’d inadvertently saved a patch of violets (I didn’t know what they were, but when I dug up several things the raised bed I saved that plant without even knowing why). Now they’re blooming, and so pretty I don’t even care that they’re also popping up around the yard.

M Sinclair Stevens (Texas) May 7, 2006, 6:05 pm

Thanks. You make me feel like I might be a real gardener after all. My husband says my motto is, “Within every silver lining is a dark cloud.”

Although I’ve been fretting about the drought down here in Texas the last 9 months, accompanied with fretting about the danger from wildfires (Was it really wise to mulch my yard with ground up Christmas trees when every county in central Texas has been under a burn ban since January 1st?)

And just as I’m installing more and more desert plants to cope with these dry conditions, we get 7 inches of rain in three days. Will all these plants rot and turn to mush?

And horrible summer is just around the corner. Will we beat our record of 40 100+ degree days that we had a few years back?

Well, I’m ready to wash my hands of it until fall. I’m off for a week to the lovely Cotswolds, in England where they really have this gardening thing down. I’m hoping to visit Hidcote.

Fretful M–

RO May 5, 2006, 10:22 pm

I have to go on a diet – a garden diet, that is. I am reducing my space due to a pending garage project in the middle of my rosegarden – they will all have to be moved, as will a handful of perennials. I have been moving plants to a nearby garden by digging them up with lots of soil and rushing them by plant ambulance (the red wagon) to their new home. They have sulked a bit, but recovered. But the roses – they have no home to go to. And they are leafing out to boot, and I think I missed my window even if they had a home. Do I pot them up? (These are old fashioned, big rose shrubs) Do I gamble that we won’t get our act together until August? When is a good time to move Roses? Kath, are you dreaming of a rose garden of your very own? – Fretting in Sackets Harbor