February 28, 2010

Daisies and Susans: a Gardening Oops

On the first of each month at Joene's Garden we are encouraged to share GOOPS (Gardening OOPS) --- mistakes we've made in the garden.  Since I am a new gardener, learning exclusively by reading and trial and error, almost everything I have done outside has been an oops, either minor or quite serious.  I thought of just posting my blog address at Joene's and saying "go look... it's all a mistake."  But here's one I thought I'd share for March 1, a rather big blunder.

Our backyard patio is a sitting area for the gentle gardener and her guest to rest and admire the scene, both wild and cultivated, that spreads out to the near horizon and into the woods:

When the patio was installed, we had a stone wall put in to surround the lower area for a sense of enclosure while viewing the open prospect beyond.  Of course the wall needed softening, and I wanted full-on cottage garden abandon around it, so I put in some sturdy old fashioned daisies ('Becky') and some classic blackeyed susans (Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm').  At first they were tiny, so I planted lots:

Then they grew.  I mean, they grew.  By the following midsummer sitting on the patio was like being in a movie theater in the front row and the only picture showing was Vegetation Madness.  The view was so completely blocked that it felt like the chairs would topple over backwards in a tsunami of greenery.  Yikes:

We got taller chairs, big teak rockers with fat cushions, to sit up high enough to see over the mass of flowers, but it remained stiflingly claustrophobic.  You can't tell so much in this picture from above, but it's still impossible to see any view sitting in these rockers:

I guess it looks nice from afar, but sitting down below that billowing wall of flowery masses was not working for this gardener:

So last Fall they all came out, except for one stand of daisies and one stand of susans at the corners.  All I can say is "big fat gardening oops".

What to put in for replacements?  (Must be lower, smaller, less dense and nicer behaved.  But beautiful, billowy, soft and flowery.)

There's a bird bath now, next to the remaining clump of blackeyed susans.  I can see over it from the patio.  That's a start.


  1. Hi Laurrie, Your oops looks very pretty! I suppose it's a different story sitting there. I'll be interested to see what you end up putting in that spot.

  2. Laurrie, thanks for the morning chuckle. I do think that you might still have problems though, the black eyed susans, are huge self seeders!

  3. Laurrie, thanks for sharing your GOOPs. I think all gardeners have at some point had similar experiences with these prolific beauties. Your sitting area looks like a great location for herbs - lavender, thyme, sage, marjoram - not yellow flowers but fragrant and more contained. Please let us know what you end up planting there, and how many daisy and black-eyed susan seedlings you end up weeding out.

  4. "the only picture showing was Vegetation Madness"

    I had to laugh! As a new gardener, I expect to live the world of GOOPs for some time yet :-)

    Thanks for sharing. Nice to be reminded we don't all start out brilliant!

  5. Thanks everyone, for being so nice about my ineptitude. I'll have to be vigilant about any self seeding, I hope I can keep the blackeyed susan seeders in control. I like the idea of herbs around the patio wall, I might try that!

  6. That's not a mistake, that's a personal preference. :)

    Catmint might be a good component there.

  7. Sweet bay, I actually have a catmint that needs to be moved from its present place... I agree it might be good here.


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