What I Hate About My Garden

I was watching funny commercials on YouTube the other day when I had a revelation (And it was not that men in kilts are really hot — I have known that one for quite some time).   Thanks to Garrison Keillor and Honda, I learned that hate can be a good thing.

We don’t like to admit it, but hate more than any other emotion inspires us to change something. When you hate your job, you go get a new one. When you hate your hair, you get a haircut. When you hate the fact that Johnny Depp is apparently not in the market for a 34 year old, slightly frumpy woman from Cleveland… well there is not much you can do about that except to watch Pirates of the Caribbean one more time.

But, back to the main point. Hate, like nuclear power and American Idol, can be a good thing when used properly.

There are several things I hate about my garden.   For example, I hate the Canada thistle. Every year, I try to get rid of the stuff and every year, it apparently thinks that my garden is a prime location for Canada thistle family reunions.   I hate it so much, that this year, I swear that I will diligently snip the leaves off of every Canada thistle that I see.

I hate the weigela on the side of my house. It has been there for as long as I have owned the house and I am sure that the previous owner thought it was a brilliant plant to place in the narrow confines between my house and my neighbors, but I am here to tell them (9 years later) that this was not the case.   Yes, I am that lazy that for 9 years I have cursed and hated that damn bush and did nothing about it (I had other things that I hated more). This year, that will change. It is now at the top of my hate list.

I hate the fact that I cannot seem to grow zucchini. While the rest of the world grows so much zucchini that even the food banks in August have a hard time giving it away, I have not managed to grow a zucchini in well nigh over 5 years.   That stops this year.  I have found neem oil and vine borers better beware.   I am coming for them.

This year is going to be a great year in my garden.   I have the power of hate on my side and I plan to use it to its fullest extent.   May the hate be with you as well.  Sing it with me “Hate something, change something, hate something, change something, make something beeeeetter!”

34 thoughts on “What I Hate About My Garden
  1. So many things in my garden to hate, Bishop’s Weed, wild geranium, barberry… this weekend, they best beware!

    But, I do love your blog! Thanks for writing!

    [Reply]

  2. kath on

    “Zucchetta Rampicante Tromboncino” is a vining zucchini that is in the butternut family (moschata) and therefore resistant to borers as well as some other pests and diseases that bother the usual zucchini plants. The fruits are firmer, but have a great taste and many like them better. You need room to let them climb, however. Since I’ve grown it I haven’t seen the borers! Cheaper than neem oil, too!

    [Reply]

  3. Mary on

    Horsetail is what motivates me. Its roots must start in some deep Hell. I pull or snip at one and three grow back. I hate this weed.

    [Reply]

    Xana Reply:

    I live in Japan and they have a saying “the roots of horsetail are attached to Hell,” but having seen it both here and in the US, I am convinced the roots go through the core of the earth and out the other side! Mary, you and I may be playing tug-of-war with the same weeds!

    [Reply]

    Mary Reply:

    Maybe we should poor gasoline on the horsetail and burn it from both ends. Although it makes it a little more exotic to me that maybe it roots are linked to a plant in Japan. Not enough to leave in my garden though. 😉

    [Reply]

    Bridget Reply:

    We have horsetail here in the north-west of Ireland too and I have it. Thankfully we don’t have it in the veg garden but it comes up in our tarmac drive all summer. My hubby Andy burns it off with a weed gun but it comes back.

    [Reply]

    Tina Reply:

    Here in Georgia, we actually plant Horsetail! I think it is a very trendy, modern looking plant to design with. Yes it requires maintenance if allowed to mingle with other parts of your yard you didn’t intend it to go. Very architectural.

    [Reply]

  4. Carol on

    I had good luck last year covering my vines with floating row covers. While i hate the look of having “caged and blanketed” plants in the front yard, taking the row cover off just as the plants bloomed for me allowed me to harvest for a while. eventually they succumbed to the vine borers, but it was late enough in the season i didn’t cry. maybe this year i can combine the floating covers with neem oil to extend the season

    [Reply]

  5. C. on

    Wouldn’t it be wiser to focus on “I absolutely LOVE a weigela and thistle free yard”? Love is a stronger force if you let it be. I know its splitting hairs, but sometimes its in your best interests.

    [Reply]

  6. C. on

    Wouldn’t it be wiser to focus on “I absolutely LOVE a weigela and thistle free yard”? Love is a stronger force if you let it be. I know its splitting hairs, but sometimes its in your best interests

    [Reply]

    Hanna Reply:

    I could, but where would be the fun in that?

    [Reply]

  7. Daisey on

    Basically, I love my garden and even some weeds that have lovely flowers and leaves have found a home in my perennial garden. They showed up one year.I loved the pleasant yellow flower and compact growth habit. Have no idea what it is…lol but though I hate weeds I decided this one can stay. But, one weed I will never love, nor develop an amiable relationship with is the dandelion!!! How I abhor this plant! Though my eyes are tempted at times to admire the full yellow blossoms….I soon feel the wrath at what grief this causes each year. These not only proliferate by their fluffy duffy stinkin puffy flowers turned to seeds but have the darndest deepest roots that are not easy to get out if you can’t get to them early on. They quickly grow one darn deep root showing their obstinate determined attitude to show you who is boss and they’re not leaving!!
    I have tried to pull off the buds and blooms before they go to seed…only to see a few days later that not even connected to the plant these darn blossoms go to seed and fly away…..So I’ve started to bag them when I pull them but, there are soooo soooo many of them! If I focus on these darn things I will succeed but never get to do anything else in my yard or garden. And how their deep roots can affect my perennials …. I hate them… Good salad greens I’ve been told…come get them for free! This year I’m going to war with a crazy concoction that worked for other weeds….vinegar, salt(lots of it) a little dish detergent(earth friendly kind) and water. This dries out the plant down to the roots and kills it. Be careful where the spray goes it can kill good plants too. I will have to create some kind of barrier to spray these dandelions near my gardens and flowers (which I have all over…lol) I pray the garden angels come to my aid and zap them all dead!

    [Reply]

    Robin Reply:

    find somebody with a pet bunny as long as your yard is pesticide free)….bunnies _love_ dandelions, get your friend to come over & harvest the dandelions…

    [Reply]

  8. nobody on

    I very much doubt that neem will work on squash vine borers. Once they’re inside the vine, they’re home free. Unless you squirt it inside with a syringe. The trick with squash vine borers is to just cut them out with a sharp knife. Cut along the grain of the plant’s veins rather than against, and you won’t hurt the flow of nutrients to the plant’s periphery. Then you can cut the svb into itty bitty pieces once you’ve extracted it from the vine, and the vine will heal. Sure, the neighbors might think it strange when you stalk about the garden with a knife behind your back muttering “i’m gonna kill you.” But it’s a completely effective method.

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    I tried that last year to no good end. I agree with you on the neem though. I have heard it helps to do a false planting in buckets before the true planting. Not sure about that though as this year I have decided against squash. I am giving it a three year break and will try again. Squash borers are my nemisis.

    [Reply]

  9. There are a lot of things that I hate about my yard. I never thought of using it as a motivator, I usually just complain about it. I think I will make a hate list; in a good way, of course! :)

    Kimmi

    [Reply]

  10. I’ll tell you what I hate about my garden – English ivy and honeysuckle. You’re probably thinking, hey, that sounds cool. It isn’t. The English ivy chokes the rosebushes, the honeysuckle chokes the irises and whatever else is in its way.Since we’ve had so much rain, those plants flourish and I haven’t had a chance to try to eradicate them this year. The ivy is worse than it has been in all the years we lived here (14) and so’s the honeysuckle, despite the fact last year I was on a search and destroy mission…..
    oh well, that’s life

    [Reply]

    Kate Reply:

    English Ivy is also on my list. I used to think it was beautiful, creeping up the walls of a house. Until it was my walls. And it was creeping into the windows. And the ants were using the vines as ladders to the second floor.

    Since then, I have despised English Ivy and will do almost anything to rid my yard of it. It may take me a lifetime, but I’m committed to its eventual demise.

    [Reply]

  11. Kay on

    Do be careful about when you apply the neem. I keep bees and use neem but only in the late hours after bees aren’t flying. You don’t want to be counter productive and we need all the bees we can get. :)

    [Reply]

  12. Hanna on

    Let me just wax on about neem oil for a minute.

    From what I have read, it does not work like typical insecticides. First, as I understand it, it gets into the plant’s system and basically turns the plant temporarily into a pest killer.

    Because of this, it only affects bugs that suck or chew on the plant. So, bugs like bees and butterflies are unaffected and it does not harm them. It also means that it should affect bugs that “traditional” insecticides can’t get to, like vine borers.

    I have been using neem oil on my houseplants and I have been very, very impressed. I have never found an organic method of controling spider mites,which hit my plants ever winter. With this stuff, they were gone in a week and never came back. Can’t wait to try it in the garden. :)

    Here is more info from wiki:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neem_oil

    [Reply]

    Mary Reply:

    I have used neem oil for the past three years on all my veggies and I haven’t lost a plant the insects yet. (Knock on wood.)

    [Reply]

  13. Denise from ARk on

    I, too, agree that you should go ahead and try the neem. I’ve been told the same thing about how it works from the county ag agents. Love, love, LOVE this stuff. Just plant one zuke and try it. Let that be your “false” planting, if you will. Either it works, or you only sacrifice the one and then the season is over for the borers and you can go on an replant anyway. I’d lay odds that it will work. The other thing is to watch the underside of the leaves for egg clusters, and destroy those leaves as soon as you see them. It’s just good garden hygiene.

    [Reply]

  14. The spawn of Satan that inhabits my garden is the ever pervasive field bind weed. I constantly battle. I’ve dug out the garden bed that it deemed perfect for it’s first infiltration and yet still it returns, laughing at my silly little try at annihilation. ARGH! The coverage of it all, the choking of purposeful plantings, the ability to replicate itself from tiny, tiny hair like strands of roots; AND then it makes seeds too…. We built all raised beds because of the rock hard clay that is our soil(it’s used to make the outer tiles of the space shuttles) and this one bed is the only one that lacks a weed barrier cloth. Oh, the inhumanity, the struggle and all because of the lack of some cloth, or newspaper, or cardboard even. So now, I pull; But now I’ll tug and dig and burn with a vengeance {{{GRRRRRR}}}

    [Reply]

  15. I haven’t been successful with zucchini either, vine borers or squash bugs every time. I quit giving them some of my limited space. I hope that your Neem experiment works. Then they better look out down here too.

    [Reply]

  16. Robin on

    I too have a hate subject. SLUGS and SNAILS! I use DE here in Florida. And I seem to have problems with squash and cukes. Humm might be the same bugger! Good luck with yours!

    [Reply]

  17. I feel your pain with the canada thistle. How in the sam heck does it make it’s way here to my garden in Delaware? (and take over) I hate, hate, hate it! Go back to Canada, you thistle!

    [Reply]

  18. Daisey on

    Hanna, I must thank you. Due to your “what I hate about my garden post” I went to war with those dandelions I previously wrote about. This past Sunday afternoon I armed myself with hatred and anger of the dandelion and…garbage bags, the extra large ones for those extra large outdoor trash cans. Unfortunately, I should have armed myself with one of my weeding tools..instead I used my hands. On my knees, one hand, sometimes 2, sometimes needing to stand to get a good pull. Some of these things become like mini bushes!
    Well, I filled up 2 of those garbage bags and still haven’t gotten them all. But, I did experience a true sens of satisfaction being able to look over areas of my yard and not see those nasty yellow flowers! However,……the next day…I was hurting all over, from head to toe. My fingers and hands and arms and neck and back…..all because of the constant pulling of those dam weeds. After a day of many pain killers…I am still so proud of my revolting angry attack. For that, I so thank you Hanna!
    Now, see how long before they all come back due to their numerous seeds……ouch

    [Reply]

    Hanna Reply:

    You go!(but I hope you are not sore forlong. :) )

    [Reply]

  19. There are times when I have felt exactly the same way. Although I’m fairly minimalist when it comes to flowers and shrubs, I recently had an outbreak of dandelions similar to Daisey’s situation, though not as many I think. Regardless, your post gave me some motivation to get out there and knock ’em out.

    [Reply]

  20. patty in Cleveland on

    What is it with the Canada Thistle? It seems like for every one I pull (with what seems like 2′ of root attached) 2 more come in its place! It grows above my carpet juniper and I don’t know how to rid that bed of it without killing the juniper! Arrggg! Last year I tried dipping my jersey gloved hand in roundup and stroking the entire green part of the plant, this year there is as much or more than last year. I HATE CANADA THISTLE!!!

    [Reply]

  21. I also have the dreaded Canada thistle (whose roots extend from here to Canada, by the way)AND all8garden’s bindweed. I have determined that the latter is actually an alien invader from another planet, sent here to take over the earth. And it will not be a friendly takeover.

    For your own sanity, give up on the idea of ever winning the battle with these nasties. The best you can hope to do is to control them enough to be able to harvest your garden. Dig all the thistle you can see today, and by tomorrow you will have just as much – just in different spots!

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge