What’s Wrong with this Picture?

November 11, 2011
What a waste, right?

What a waste, right?

I drive past this scene several times of year when visiting one of my regular garden design and garden coaching clients.

No, this isn’t his garden. I don’t know whose garden it is.

Still, it is a lesson in what not to do in the garden.

First, if you’ve got a greenhouse you’re going to let go to waste, why not sell it or just give it away? This one has sat in the same place, basically untouched and definitely unused for as many years as I’ve driven by it.

Second, if you do have a greenhouse fading into oblivion, please don’t let it become an incubator for invasive weeds like the field bindweed (also known locally as morning glory), which is growing happily out the window-less window in this gunky old greenhouse.

Third, topping your trees like the one behind this greenhouse really isn’t pretty. And, it doesn’t do the trees any favors either. Butchering a tree like this only sets you up for a potential hazard, lots of on-going cutting of reaction growth, and a really ugly view. Either prune it properly, leave it alone or have it removed. Don’t just hack on it.

So one thing that looks decent here: the wood chip mulch. Sure, that happy bindweed will grow right through it, but if you’re not going to garden on your perfectly south-facing plot, go ahead and chip it with arborist chips. These will suppress (most) weeds, last a long time, and provide food to soil microbia.

And, yes, I probably should cut these folks some slack. I don’t know them. And, given the way their property looks, my guess is there’s an aging gardener living in that house. S/he probably wants to get out there and pull that bindweed. S/he might have loved using that greenhouse and swath of growing space in years past. S/he may no longer be able to manage the garden. So, in the interest of giving this homeowner the benefit of the doubt, I’ll just suggest this garden likely saw better days, and I’ll hope it will again someday soon.


  1. Margaret L. says:

    A few years ago H’s school PTA spent money and time to build a greenhouse on school grounds. Unfortunately that’s as far as it got. Right now it’s being used for toy storage! We just hired a Garden Coordinator and I’m hoping there will be a plan to use the greenhouse to start seedlings for the class garden beds!

  2. Lead that charge lady! And, good for you!!

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