Garden Musings

Garden Mistakes – A Poem

We have all made mistakes in our landscapes – things we’ve done for which we wish we could have a do over. In fact, gardeners have probably learned some of their most valuable lessons from miscalculations, gaffes, blunders, and lapses of judgment. And what better day could there be than National Mulligan Day to celebrate some of those lessons learned the hard way?

If you see yourself in these garden mistakes,
Don’t feel bad or embarrassed or sad.
Instead give thanks the garden gives mulligans –
Another chance to do it right and be glad.

The soil was cold, the soil was wet,
But oh, how he wanted to plant.
So in went the seeds expected to grow.
But they said, “It’s too cold, I just can’t.”

The lilac was planted. She wanted it to grow,
So she watered and watered again.
If she hadn’t loved that lilac so much,
It wouldn’t be in the compost bin.

And speaking of some watering faux pas –
You know I’ve made one or two.
Forgetting to water the houseplants inside,
Turned them all into mulligan stew.

With pruners in hand and energy high,
He clipped and he cut and he pruned.
He should have stopped before he trimmed the forsythia.
Now, next season’s flowers are doomed.

Enticed by the flowers of gooseneck loosestrife,
I bought them and planted with glee.
And now as they bully their way through the garden,
Instead of pretty, I think they’re beastly.

The seedlings were so cute as they grew in their row,
But there were too many to mature properly.
She didn’t have the heart to pull some to thin them,
So the broccoli grew awkwardly.

He noticed a weed, but didn’t bend down to pull it.
Then the thistle was out of sight, out of mind,
Until it formed seed heads and threw seeds about.
Now he’s put his garden in a bind.

That little evergreen was so cute and so sweet.
When she planted it beside their home.
Now that it’s grown up so big and so broad,
It almost covers their house like a dome.

The plants looked forlorn and just a little yellow.
Some fertilizer, yes fertilizer, is what’s needed.
And if some is good, some more must be better,
But foliage burned from directions not heeded.

He knew that spot in the garden was sunny and bright,
But he wanted bold leaves that weren’t wimpy.
So he planted hostas there and took quite a chance.
They screamed, “Ouch!” as their leaves became crispy.

I have made more than my share of garden missteps,
And if mistakes teach much more than a success,
I must be the smartest gardener on earth, but
Thank goodness for mulligans – I’m still a work in progress.

Happy National Mulligan Day! What mistake have you made in your garden for which you wish you could have a mulligan? Let’s all learn from each other’s mistakes so we don’t have to make every one in our own gardens. Garden with me!




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