Most of gardening is enjoyable. That's why we keep doing it. But there are always problems and frustrations, new pests to deal with, disappointing plants... Here are my Top 10 gardening frustrations. Feel free to write to me and vent yours.
1. Bad WeatherBad Weather: I know there's nothing we can do about it, but it does seem we've been getting hit harder and harder. Top of the list is the hurricanes many experienced. If it wasn't rain and wind, then it was drought. And I wasn't too pleased with the weather forecasters either. Instead of better radar, some of them should invest in a window.
2. New Pests & Diseases
They say there are more varieties of insects in the world than any other animal and it seems we're destined to meet them all one by one. The Viburnum Leaf Beetle is creeping down from Canada, the Citrus Longhorn Beetle creeping eastward from the west coast and infesting trees other than citrus, The Balsam Woolly Adelgid picking up where the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
didn't go. And then there are the new diseases, like Sudden Oak Death, which is as depressing as it sounds.
3. Losing the Battle with Invasives
What is it that lets these plants thrive when everything else has to be coaxed to grow? How much Creeping Charlie
, Garlic Mustard, Florida Bettuny, English Ivy or Perennial Pepperweed can one gardener be expected to pull. And why is it the exotic insects never fly over to decimate the invasive weeds, only the cultivated plants?
4. Tomato Problems
This is probably because of the aforementioned bad weather, but I heard from more than a few gardeners this summer who had just about every tomato problem imaginable. Blossom end rot
, sun scald, green shoulders
, cat facing, cracking
... With all the new and improved hybrids and all the TLC tomatoes receive, we have a right to expect better.
5. Illiterate DeerIf only deer would learn to read the lists of plants they are not supposed to like. The lists get shorter and shorter each year, so how much effort would it take? There has to be grant money out there somewhere to study this and there's probably a Nobel Prize in it for the person who succeeds.
6. Plant PatentingI appreciate breeders wanting to recoup their R&D money, but come on. Half the fun of gardening is multiplying your plants. Doing so shouldn't make me a criminal. Surely the plant producers know that we'll keep spending money on new plants, no matter how many plants are already crammed into our gardens.
7. Over-priced Plant IntroductionsThis is directly related to plant patenting and seems like just another way to make money from gardening fanatics. I guess that makes it our fault, since we're willing to pay these ridiculous prices. After all, who really needs a $30 daylily when any of your gardening pals would willingly give you all the divisions you can possibly handle.
8. Too any Similar IntroductionsWhile I'm on the soapbox, can you really tell the difference between the 10 gazillion new variegated hostas introduced in any given year? How about yet another purple buddleia or 'the best tomato ever'. It gives you greater respect for the heirloom plants that gardeners saved seed from and grew year after year because they found what they liked and stuck with it. New isn't always improved.
9. Over Hyped PlantsStop setting me up for disappointment. I have yet to purchase a mildew resistant Phlox that was. I have very hot, humid summers. Mildew is just a fact of life, so stop enticing me to kick the football. And test plants well before labeling them for Zones. Just ask the thousands who rushed out to buy 'Limerock Ruby' Coreopsis. How about all the 'red' flowers that turned out to be purple. If you can't trust something called 'Scarlet O'Hara' to be red, is it all just wishful thinking?
10. Re-engineering GardensI'm as guilty of this as anyone. Just when your garden is coming together, you decide it's time to re-do the whole thing. Gardening is becoming as trendy as fashion, but it's just too much work to revamp a garden with every fad.