Regrets, I've Had a Few...

Regrets, I've had a few;
But then again, these few I'll mention.
I'll do what I have to do
And see it through without exemption.
I'll plan each charted course;
Each careful step along the byway,
But more, much more than this,
I'll do it my way.

With apologies to Frank Sinatra and to any of you who now have this song on your brain after reading this post.

Last week Patient Gardener posed the question What plant do you regret acquiring? Well, there's plenty I could confess to, but I thought I'd share my current bugbears with you which are the main reasons why I'm redesigning the border at the bottom of my garden this year. Apologies for the lack of picture quality today, but I don't have any better images of these thugs to show and perhaps showing them at their worst gives you some idea of why I want rid.

Who in their right mind plants Berberis in their border? Not only that, one of them is at the front! If you enlarge the above picture, you can see I must have been out of my mind at the time. Yes, it did have an attractive leaf (dark red with a gold rim) at the time of purchase, but those thorns - ouch! And because Frank's Plants had a special offer on at the time, I bought two others with equally attractive leaves, equally brutal thorns and equally non-descript form. I curse every time I have to squeeze past them to trim and tidy up the back of the border.

Then to add insult to injury, I decided to plant some bluebells in the same area. Most of them I've sensibly planted in the shaded, wooded area in the front side garden: the kind of place they grow in the wild. Right plant, right place. But I had some left over and planted them in my back border too. Why? They've self seeded everywhere including the gravel path and their ugly, large leaves smother everything in sight for a couple of months before they've died down.

So, as part of my spring tidy-up and garden projects for 2009, this little lot's coming right out, baby. And this time there'll be no regrets, I promise.


  1. I don't think you should regret it. A lot of good gardening is experimenting and seeing if things work. Some do, some don't. I remember Beth Chatto telling my parents she was always moving things.

  2. Hermes you're right. And the Berberis did nearly get a reprieve in the autumn because the foliage was so stunning. I wonder if I can guerrilla garden it to deter people from climbing the fence...

  3. Yep, that tune is now firmly lodged in my brain!!!

    Berberis is glorious in autumn though - and EXCELLENT as a boundary protector. Could you trim it and shift it to somewhere else!?

    As I'm someone who moves plants as the drop of a hat regardless of the 'correct' time to do it, it'll be fine - it'll either recover and thrive...or die!

  4. Hi VP I started so sing after Regrets...

    I regret when I'm so stupid to buy plant that are lets say not made for my climate. I buy it, plant it and it looks miserable for years and then....I kill it.

    xoxo Tyra

  5. THere are SO many.. but the main one is my wisteria which climbs over the shed. I bought one which was expensively a few years old in the hope it would flower and nurtured it for years, doing all the proper fiddly pruning stuff. It hardly flowered at all for a while then now it has started flowering it does whilst in full leaf so half the racemes are covered. The leaves are a yellowy green which doesn't go with my colour scheme (for some reason I thought they would be grey/green). It is a permanent annoyance to me as I always wanted a wisteria and I feel I should love it but I don't! So I don't really want it but I can't bring myself to get rid of it after all the work I've put in.

  6. nice set of thorns! a former roomie (at my current residence) planted a climing rosebush at the base of the mail box. rapid grower, humongous spreading roots, impressive thorns,& both the mailman & i throughly regret the planting!! the roots are so deep that i have to wait until the ground thaws completly before ripping it up & replacing the mail box.

  7. Love the way you have changed the lyrics! But darn it, now have that blasted tune in my head as well!

    I will say only one word (this was my husband's mistake, AGAINST his wife's precise instructions!)....

  8. Rosa felipes 'Kifstgate' round the corner from the Rambling Rector. What was I thinking of - it's a single storey bit of the house too!

  9. Thanks for the tip, VP--I definitely don't need anything with thorns other than roses. I don't know that I regret planting anything in particular, but I do regret WHERE I planted them sometimes.

  10. I still find it very hard to pull out my mistake plants from the early days (which are actually only about 2 years ago). I know better now, but still, to kill a living thing.... But those burning bushes must go.

  11. Rip out that Barberry! I hate them. A group of 3 came with this house, and 15 years later I'm still trying to kill them. Just cutting them back is a pain, literally and figuratively. I'm still trying to figure out if there are any plants here I that I planted and now regret. I have no qualms about ripping out thing that just don't work, are thugs, or that I don't like. The only thing that holds me back is the physical ability to get rid of the thing.

  12. Hi!
    I can relate. I planted lemon balm and I eventually dug it up and placed it out of sight. i later saw in in a gaden and in this spot it was effective. I did enlarge your photo and those thorns are wicked!

  13. Mr Sinatra still rules! The Lady is a Tramp is by far my favorite of his songs, followed closely by Fly Me to the Moon. Though, admittedly, I prefer the Sex Pistols' version of My Way. And, yes, I've had planting regrets, but now I'm in a happy Frank-song place, so I shan't go there! :)

  14. I know all too well VP that those bluebells are a nuisance - I inherited them and they have self sown in abundance. Yet I forgive them when they are in flower.

  15. Hi VP, Regrets, you've heard about the very bad Vinca minor. My biggest regrets are always when I put off any plant removal and then they have grown exponentially. During our first years I should have been eradicating the vincas! I have a well developed play ethic that often gets in my way;-) gail

  16. OK VP - I have now spent the whole day humming "that" tune.

    I don't have any plants that bite back in my garden but when I see the Autumn tints on Berberis I do have a little wonder about it - then I remember the spikes

    Fortunately in this garden I have not been here long enough to have regrets .... yet.

  17. I've been trying to remove a couple of bluebells in my small rock garden for over 20 years (never mind the ones in the borders). The bulbs must be over 12" deep at least and I've failed every time. There they sit amongst small delicate plants - looking like large droopy leeks - exasperating!

  18. Nutty Gnome - the only place to shift it to is the guerrilla garden

    Tyra - I'm still singing! I think we all do that and hope the plant hasn't read the manual on where it's supposed to live!

    Arabella - my wisteria died last year. Apart from 1 plant it's the most exensive plant I've ever bought, so it's on my list of regrets too :(

    Petoskystone - that's given me a good chuckle today :)

    Carrie - buddleia - yuk! I can't stand them

    Maggi - 2 rambling roses is a bit excessive!

    Rose - yes I do that too. But at least you can move them

    Benjamin - you're right and that's why they've had a stay of execution thus far. But this time they're lethal, so it's me or them!

    MMD - sounds like they're clinging on for dear life!

    Philip - they are, I can vouch for that! I confine my lemon balm to a pot. It can get rather out of hand otherwise

    Monica - glad I've brightened someone's day :)

    Anna - I love them in my woodland bit, but in a main border I can't even forgive them when they flower

    Gail - I learnt my Vinca lesson in my previous garden :)

    Karen - you're so lucky!
    Let's hope it stays that way :)

    EG - Oh no! I hope I don't have the same experience :(

  19. I've mentioned a couple of regrets in my last couple of posts (as I've finally got round to doing the photos to go with the garden story). I think the worst mistake I made, as a novice gardener when I first moved here, was with bluebells though. There were some growing in what was to become my red/orange bed. "That's OK", I thought brightly, "I like bluebells - I'll move them to my blue/purple bed". I duly dug up loads of bulbs and planted them carefully on the other side of the garden. I then found out about invasive non-native plants - yes, I am now trying to eradicate Spanish bluebells from both sides of my garden. Doh!

  20. Juliet - oh no! From what you've said it looks like I've got quite a job on my hands then :(

  21. I regret introducing forget-me-nots into my garden! x

  22. Louise - I thought of those after I'd posted. They do get everywhere don't they?!


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