Crazy Fungus In Birdfeeder

Garden Guilt Be Damned

I recently read this post by Kat about why she embraced failure as a gardener (trying + failing = learning + growth) and I was struck once again my the gravitational pull of guilt that lingers in my gardens.  I fight it.  I deny it.  I give myself great pep talks about how the garden is there for me not me for it.  That when I want to garden I will always have LOTS to do and when I want to do other things, well that’s life.  I’m busy.  I don’t always feel like dragging my tired ass out to the garden to weed yet another day.  I keep strong and fight the guilt.  If the plants die then they aren’t the right plants for me, I reason.

As Kat eloquently put it, “failure isn’t my favorite part of gardening, it’s PART of gardening. There is no escaping it. If one wants to grow in anything they do, one has to take risks.”

I believe all of this and love that she said it.  We ALL fail sometimes and other times we just let things slide (die, shrivel, wilt). No one can do EVERYTHING with out going bonkers.  Busy lives, busy days, family, friends, jobs, classes, etc, etc, etc.  It’s a part of the process and a valuable one.  So in celebration of all the half-ass projects that I have collecting in my house, that we all have collecting in our houses, I’m posting photos.  Yes, graphic photos, of the less-than perfect moments in my garden:

Sometimes I forget about the bird feeders on a tree, in the garage, or in bird feed box.  Then I get a creepy surprise like this crazy black fungus.

Or mold, sprouts AND crazy black fungus.  Yikes, sorry birds.

Late blight can get away from me as much as I try to remove every branch, leaf, grain of soil that is contaminated.  This Micro Tom tomato plant hid from me and my snippers on De-Blight Day and now I think those little tomatoes are rotting in my fridge.

This weedy overgrown mess is my back garden.  I really need to divide the perennials, clean up the soil, and give it a good mulch for the winter.  But hey, I’m just happy that I planted up the barrel with Gai Lan (Chinese broccoli).

A  kind neighbour gave me some dahlia tubers which I promptly left in newspaper on my deck for 4 months until they sprouted.  I still have no idea where to plant them.

And since the kicthen table is the holding ground for garden / food related projects, it is the wasteland for my collections like these eggshells I planned to use against the slugs that have been mowing down my lettuce seedlings…

…or basil clippings that have been there for months.

There is more out there: dead seedlings, seeds sprouting in packets, trees in need of pruning, and weeds, weeds, weeds.  Ugh, and that box of fall bulbs I was due to plant last month is staring at me every day (plant me plant me plant me).  But I say, “Damn you bulbs and weeds and guilt!”  I have a beautiful garden that feeds me well and is completely and utterly imperfect.  I shun the guilt, hold my head high, knowing I have a garden to work on whenever I want to enjoy a beautiful day outside, or get in a little garden therapy.



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About the Author : StephanieAn artistic gardener aiming to feed the body & soul through an urban potager garden & a community veggie plot in Vancouver.View all posts by Stephanie

  1. Kat White
    Kat WhiteNovember 12,10

    Stevie thanks so much in joining me in a bit of dirty laundry airing. I think it is an important message, especially for those new to gardening. But I might have to disagree on your moldy birdfeeder being a total failure. That black mold growing out of the tube like some alien creature makes for one awesome photo. (And I too have a collection of eggshells waiting for action!)

  2. meemsnyc
    meemsnycNovember 12,10

    Oh my, that black fungus is funky!

  3. Shirley
    ShirleyNovember 12,10

    Great post! You’ve made every one of us who burden ourselves with guilt over things undone feel just a bit better and “normal”. No need to burden ourselves with all that, afterall, the weeds will wait until we have time.

  4. Priscilla Prince
    Priscilla PrinceNovember 13,10

    I love your honesty. Your post reminded me of myself, I’m relieved to know I’m not the only one! I can relate to the frustration and guilt. We’re all busy and although our gardens aren’t perfect, it’s beautiful, it’s a place of healing.

  5. Wendy
    WendyNovember 14,10

    ha ha – how brave to post these photos. I smell neglect – and I know it well! :)

  6. melanie
    melanieNovember 15,10

    I think it is great Stevie no one can do everything all of the time.

  7. TS
    TSNovember 16,10

    When I feel too exhausted, hot, overwhelmed, etc I head out to the garden anyway, usually. Creating something beautiful and knowing I’m contributing to something larger than myself makes the effort worth it. A jolt of caffeine helps, too!!

  8. Dim Sum Gardener
    Dim Sum GardenerNovember 19,10

    I love the title of your blog. Sometimes the best therapy is to do nothing. I’ve officially downed tools and will not be doing anything more taxing than watching the red robins and blue tits feast on sunflower heads left standing until next year. No doubt I shall ‘enjoy’ weeding therapy come spring!

  9. Deb W
    Deb WNovember 21,10

    Being total anal and gardening are a bad combo BUT Grandma said, “Once to seed, seven to weed!” And I’ve muttered this under my breath more than once over the years. ;)

  10. Meg
    MegFebruary 10,11

    oh i wish i’d found your blog earlier, i didn’t know eggshells would keep away slugs!

    i had a big chaotic yard in burnaby for three years, also with much guilt and many half-done projects staring at me… until a month ago, when i moved to an apartment downtown. having no weeds or lawn or pruning has liberated me to doing all the small scale projects i hadn’t time for previously – sprouting, actually keeping herbs alive… indoor garden therapy.

    (i love the weedy overgrown picture, it looks happy and alive.)

  11. jackie thompson
    jackie thompsonNovember 8,13

    I love this. It makes me realize I am not alone in not doing all I should.

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