‘One of the worst mistakes you can make as a gardener is to think you’re in charge.’ Janet Gillespie.

20 Apr

Stories from my Sketchbook  . . . 

grim reaperThinking I was in charge of my own garden was a mistake I made very early on—but I was immediately (and thoroughly) put in my place when all the lovely new plants I planted died a horrible shrieking death almost as soon as I put them in the ground.  (Well, judging by their remains it surely looked like their death had been painful.)

proud plantI had done everything right.  I had checked whether they were the right sort of plant for the area, and whether for sun or shade.  I was planting them at the right time of year.  I watered them as I instructed.  To this day I have no idea what I did wrong.  I tried again. This time with different plants, in different aspects.  Same result.  Sigh.  (Weeds—now those I can grow—in abundance.)  It was mystifying—especially as I have always been able to grow really healthy indoor plants.  (These I have to watch like a hawk as they have become so prolific as to threaten to engulf the house.)

succulent1And then one day I discovered a group of plants which seemed almost unkillable (by me, or anything else).  Succulents.  Hairy, furry, smooth, bumpy, green, brown, yellow, multi-coloured succulents.  Fabulous.  And, over a period of time, and a little trial and error, my succulents and I have now come to a tentative alliance.

lookAs long as I don’t break the rulesit’s all good.  I plant them each in a lovely new pot, place them in out in the garden in cheerful little groups of like-minded friends—and promise to never, ever go near them or touch them again—and they thrive. Garden sorted.

So, as promised in my last post, I have decided to add here a quick drawing from my sketchbook of some of the succulents in my garden.  (And, just to be clear, the pots are actually standing on a garden of bark chips (not just a patch of concrete)—but I have no idea how to draw bark chips so I just pretended it wasn’t there.  I also ignored the rest of the garden—the back fence, the Hills Hoist, the three madcap dogs chasing each other in and around the pots—and anything else that was too hard.  I think that’s called ‘artistic licence’ . . . )


‘My rule of green thumb for mulch is to double my initial estimate of bags needed, and add three.
Then I’ll only be two bags short.’

Author Unknown


Posted by on April 20, 2016 in Uncategorized


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6 responses to “‘One of the worst mistakes you can make as a gardener is to think you’re in charge.’ Janet Gillespie.

  1. Judy

    April 21, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Doesn’t look like improvement is necessary to me Sally. Love your sketch and can’t wait to see one of the the girls!


    • sallyinthehaven

      April 22, 2016 at 11:06 am

      If I can get one of the girls to sit still enough for long enough I will oblige. 🙂 I have even tried when they are asleep, but they always seem to know and wake up and run over to see what I am drawing. Sigh.


  2. Jon

    April 20, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Love the sketch Sally


    • sallyinthehaven

      April 20, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks Jon. Hopefully I can only improve.


  3. Steve T

    April 20, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Good gardening strategy Sal – and a lovely sketch too.
    You probably spend more money on the pots than the plants I think, but well worth it for the colour and interest they add to your garden 🙂


    • sallyinthehaven

      April 20, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      I am absolutely sure I have spent more on the pots than the plants, but I figured if the plants die at least there are still pretty pots around to decorate the place. 🙂



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