Sunday Scribblings: Second Chances at Gardening

The topic this week for Sunday Scribblings is Second Chances. I wish I could have a second chance at gardening to redo some of the mistakes I have made.

This first mistake I made was planting Bishop’s Weed (aegopodium podagraria). It is a lovely green and white variegated plant that starts out as a helpful ground cover. It then spreads and becomes invasive. I have it everywhere now and find it impossible to get rid of. A friend of mine tried getting rid of this ground cover by spending hours one year pulling every little root out of the bed. I could try that since I hate to use chemicals in my garden. I can kill a clematis and delphiniums, but not these. (also known as Gout Weed).

Starting mint was the second mistake I made. I was thrilled to begin an herb garden and found mint in different flavors. I also added lemon balm to the mix. Now I have both herbs everywhere and none of it really tastes like lemon or mint. If you want to do mint I was advised much later, always put it in a pot and keep it out of the garden. At least the cats enjoy these plants!

Calendulas (calendula officianalis) are a lovely annual flower that are edible and many people use to make soap. They provide a lovely border of bright yellow and orange blossoms, but then they self- sow everywhere. One year I had one whole raised bed taken over by calendulas. I think the dogs carried the seeds on their pads. When the stems and leaves first popped up the plant looked like many others I wanted. By the time I could identify the self-seeder, the calendulas had taken over again. If you have a place that you want to fill up with self-seeders, calendulas are a good choice. It is also called pot marigold. If these are kept in a pot like mint, they would have probably worked beautifully.

I love variegated plants and a couple of years Mom and I found a new variety of green and yellow Artemisia (asteraceae) at a plant sale. They were beautiful the first year. They added color and glowed as the sun shone on them. Now the plants have moved everywhere. They now have grown taller, taken over beds, and look gangly later in the summer. I saw one had popped up way across the yard by the gate. I need to get these under control this year!
We had a farmer friend bring manure in when we were trying to amend our soil. I think the manure helped the soil, but quack grass is not a good choice as a cover crop. We had quack grass everywhere and JEJ aggressively pulled grass for months so beware of manure and what it may bring into your garden.

Here is a short list of perennial plants that haven’t needed a second chance in my gardens. They have always been successful and I would recommend them for a first chance or a second chance garden:
Columbine (Aguilegia) grow well for me. They do spread, but then I can move them. These flowers grows in well drained soil and bloom in late spring. (this is in my sister's garden)
Violets are one of the first bloomers in the spring garden with their beautiful purple flowers. I also love the freckled species that blooms a bit later.
Chrysanthemum (asteraceae) is a standard favorite in my fall garden. With good soil amendments and water these carry the gardens from summer into fall with a beautiful variety of colors.
In another post I will share other favorite plants. What are your perennial favorites ?


  1. I feel your invasive plant pain -- the house that we bought had alot of plantings that the previous owner put in, but she took them from wooded areas rather than going to a nursery -- thusly, my lawn is infested with spurge -- which is SOOO hard to get rid of because the root system breaks so easily. It's just about impossible to get out -- but I keep trying!!

  2. I forgot to leave my url

  3. My dad got a load of manure from a friend once, and it was filled with weed seed. He said the weeds were due to the manure being from horses instead of cows. When I gave him the quizical look he explained: "Cows chew their cud, and the seeds they eat are crushed. Because horses don't chew the cud, the seeds pass through whole, and can germinate in the soil. (Why I use steer manure).

    My favorite perennials are Delphiniums (particularly blue ones), painted Daisies, tulips, the pansies that have edges that look as if they were watercolored, and clematis. (I primarily choose blues, pinks, violets and red flowers). My hydrangea is supposed to be deep pink, but I can turn it blue by making the soil more acidic. Woo Hoo!

  4. I have no problem with mint invasion, it dies on me all the time as I am such a truly awful gardener. Which is a shame 'cos I like gardening a lot! Some of the things that have lived in spite of me are buttercups and bindweed. Weeds, but quite pretty when you get used to them.

  5. I don't have a garden and enjoy reading about other people's!

  6. I wish I had the kind of soil that's easy to work in. My soil is very clayey, so anything I plant is hit or miss. I love my lilacs, and we have peonies in the spring, which smell like roses to me. I just planted freesia, alyssum and something else I forget the name of, they were all bulbs and I think they won't bloom till next spring. We usually get bedding flowers for the summer, I would love to have perennials all over.

    Have you ever seen white zinnias? I was wondering if there are white varieties.

  7. I am glad I started adding perennials. They provide more structure to the garden. Yes, there is a white zinnia. Burpee seeds introduced White Wedding Zinnia.If it looks like the picture it is beautiful.


I always enjoy reading comments!