Did you Ever Regret Planting Something?

Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9bNovember 7, 2012

I planted an Agave near the front door, and 8 years later, it has taken over the entire porch! Plus it has these babies! OMG! Holy Nightmare! We finally hit it with round-up. It's gone, gone, gone!!


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napapen(ca 15)

I call it deleting, and it happens all the time. Just deleted a wigelia which was not doing well. It's just part of gardening.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:50PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I think it would take me less time to tell you what I have not regretted planting.
But yes, Blue Agave is among the plants I need to remove.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:20PM
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I research quite a bit so not much really. I have torn things out that didn't do as well as I hoped but nothing was a nightmare.
I do regret putting my sago in the ground. It's now back in a pot and doing fabulous again.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:57PM
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I research too, but many of my favorite plants seem to be the most irksome; palms, yuccas and agaves, so I basically decided I will pay the consequences for growing what I love.

I just dug up my Agave Americana last week and moved it over a few feet. I had been eyeing it for the last year thinking I should move it, It is only about 3 ft. so was still manageable, and it only took about 5 minutes.

And how can I forget, I regretted most of my whole first planting of my current garden. I ripped out all of the roses and dayliles and shrubs that I had moved over and planted less than a year earlier!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 12:18AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

No, never. How else do you learn what not to grow?


    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 4:54PM
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Morning glory and Mexican primrose. Both have nice flowers but are invasive.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 5:42PM
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Bob_B(Sunset 14, Ca.)

Yes, I have many times regretted planting something. Often times, the decision to rip it out or not is a very difficult one, especially if you have invested a lot of effort and time in the plant, sometimes even years. But if something inside you keeps saying it's the wrong plant, most of the time it is. I've very seldom regretted taking out a plant that I had real second thoughts about -- most recently a native elderberry that I wanted to train into a small, umbrella like tree but which insisted on being a rampant, coarse, elderberry, best left to its native haunt.


    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 7:49PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I love Morning Glories, but I do know they are invasive. We are seeking some acreage for our orchards and vineyards, and I might just put some glory on the fence and let them co-mingle with blackberries. My grandpa did that, and wow!

Round-up made short work of that 8 year old Agave. It's gone. Since it's by the front door, I might just put some stock and petunias there.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 8:38AM
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That's what lopping shears and shovels are for. My biggest regret is buying a house with a thriving stand of bamboo.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 11:07AM
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jxbrown above....."My biggest regret is buying a house with a thriving stand of bamboo."

Why? What is wrong with growing bamboo in yard?
New to California so this might be a stupid question.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 2:00PM
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Running bamboo spreads and pops up everywhere in the yard. My husband sqys that one morning we'll wake up and find a 6' sprout in the middle of our living room.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 6:42PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Happened to an old neighbor of ours. 6' cane in the middle of the garage floor.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 6:43PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

In the middle of a wood floor in a guest house in Venice, CA.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:39PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Wow! And I was complaining about Agave which does have pups and can spread, but bamboo sounds terrible! What if the dude next door plants it? It knows no bounds. Yikes!!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 8:37AM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Wow, just the thought of running bamboo gives me shivers.

I regret planting Ipheion, the tiny bulb that produces cute little clumps of garlic-scented grass with cute little periwinkle star-shaped flowers on top. Cute..... until a few bulbs (literally, a few, like 3-4) multiply into HUNDREDS, and spread by seed through the entire yard, coming up EVERYWHERE, and now you have THOUSANDS that you'll never get rid of without overhauling your entire front yard. I shiver when I find a tiny sprout and promptly remove it with the shovel.

From this I've learned to read plant descriptions more carefully. Phrases such as "Naturalizes and tolerates any soil, in sun or shade" mean "Plant in the back forty and forget about it, neglect it, let it cook in the sun and freeze in winter, and in a few years it will become your biggest nightmare."

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 1:29AM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Wait... back up. Renee, did you say "In the middle of a wood floor in a guest house"???

What is the rest of the story? That is the stuff of nightmares!!!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 11:06AM
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Paperwhites... I hate'em. They stink and reproduce like rabbits! Still... not as bad as 4 o'clocks. OMG! I'm STILL pulling those darn things out! Just when I think I've got'em all, suddenly a "straggler" appears. Yikes. Never again. miteymo

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:50PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

A lot of digging, Jenn. It was a rental. The rhizomes die back if you break them off enough times.

I agree, Miteymo! One Four O'Clock and I still have them coming up six years later.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 11:38PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

NIgella. I planted one six pack and ten years later am still pulling them out. About two years after the first planting I determined to eradicate them and every time I think they're gone, some pop up somewhere. I haven't let one go to seed in a long time, so their seeds are clearly extremely persistent.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 10:46AM
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Italian Cypress. Horribly overused in landscapes across the city. Moth, spider and vermin habitats going 20' in the air. Funky looking tips, hollow and/or dead sections, ugly side branches, and over all shabby and dirty looking appearance. I cut them down and planted citrus in that spot, and I have never looked back.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 3:34PM
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SusanC(9b/10a Sunset 17)

Stachys chamissonis, coast hedge nettle. It's native, pretty and hummingbirds are crazy about it; what's not to love? Well, one tiny plant rapidly spread over the entire front garden. (It was like the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the mint family.) Even though it was everywhere, it hardly bloomed because it didn't get enough sun. Worst of all, it makes me break out in a poison oak like rash so I have to wear long sleeves and gloves when weeding. It's under control now, but I will never be able to eradicate it.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 10:10AM
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Pink Jasmine!!!
There was a little plant on the back deck which was struggling when I moved in, but with my green thumb, it flourished. And flourished. Then, when it was ready for the invasion, it took over my entire house. It went under the crawlspace and now pops up through all the walls and fixtures in my 1924 bungalow. Then it kept going over 30 feet through the crawl space and is now in the front yard. Although I grow organic, I bought Round-Up for the first time a few years ago. The Jasmine just laughed--didn't bother it a bit. Now, looking under my house, I can see Jasmine roots literally bigger than my wrist. Someday I intend to hire someone really skinny to go under there and clear it out (there is only a vent, no real access to my crawl space) but meanwhile I just keep pulling the green shoots out of my light fixtures and floor.
Do NOT plant Pink Jasmine next to your house!!!

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 5:24PM
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nanelle_gw(9/Sunset 14)

^ Uh oh. I think my jasmine is about to bust a move under my deck. Another vote for Mexican evening primrose, and adding Wisteria. We had to move. Put me off vines for a VERY long time.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 8:46PM
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The things I regret planting are the ones that died, for one reason or another, and these include a mamey tree, avodcado, and papaya. Basically, I have the wrong kind of soil - very heavy clay that holds water like a swimming pool, and the roots could not drain. I have a lot of plants in wine barrel planters now, and they are doing much better, but of course some trees would be too big for a planter, I think. I never planted anything that wasn't easy to kill. I've made the mistake of planting some things too close together, and the agave comes to mind - I did not leave as much space around it as I would now like, but it still has sufficient room.

There were a lot of things that I regret that the previous owner of the house planted, but we pretty much got rid of those, which included a birch tree, two plum trees that never produced, and an ornamental peach tree, which I replaced with bananas and heliconia. We also dug up most of the roses and gave them to friends - they require too much maintenance and the flowers clashed with my color scheme.

I planted a passion vine that took over one wall of my back yard in Venice rather quickly and made way more passionfruit that I could use - up to 60 to 80 a day in the summer. We got rid of it because the fruit attracted possums. We had a trumpet vine on the same wall, which made beautiful flowers that bloomed pretty much all year, but the dead part of the vine were difficult to remove and irritated my allergies. We had a Golden Chalise vine on the opposite wall, and it tended to grow everywhere, but it was very easy to cut back and control. It also had the hugest flowers.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 5:37PM
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A groundcover infected with rootknot nematodes. I put it in the shade all over the place. Groundcover finally died, leaving the nematodes behind to haunt me forever.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 12:57AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I feel your pain, Kittymoonbeam. My veggie garden is now a dirt garden.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 11:08PM
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Morning Glory and Cats Paw.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 6:22PM
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mint. What a noob!

and Wisteria. Big mistake....

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:14AM
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BarbJP CA 15-16/9B

Sorry to resurrect this old thread but boy can I relate!

The worst thing I ever planted was Campsis radicans. I can't even remember where I got it, but probably at a box store garden center, they so often have stuff that should not ever be sold anywhere.

Pretty scarlet flowers, fast growth to cover the long ugly fence, and hummingbirds love them I was told.

Well the flowers are pretty and dang! it is fast, hugely fast, dangerously fast!! It covered that fence in about a 16 months, then proceeded to cover the rest of the yard and the neighbors too. It sends out underground runners everywhere, the farthest I found was at least 30 feet away, give running bamboo a run for it's money! It makes wisteria seem like a shy vine.

And as far as hummers liking it? Nope, the flowers are too long for the hummers around here, carpenter bees seem to like them though. Plus it's deciduous, huge ugly bare thing in winter.

We tried digging up the leg sized trunk and gave up. It laughed at Round Up, paused for a second at Brush-Be-Gon, but after just crisping up a little, came back on strong again.

We finally moved away, kept the house as a rental, and the tenants are pretty lax about gardening and never ever watered anything, and the new neighbors on the other side of the fence took out the roses that were there and turned off the automatic irrigation. So, deprived of it's water source, it's calmed down a bit. But it's still ugly half the year, and a good place for rats to hide the rest of the year.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 3:51PM
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Tree's. You just don't need them in the SF bay area. If anything,you want as much sun as possible. And where a tree is? That's shade that all the great shrubs and perennials don't want to thrive. Tree's might not need much water as they grow..and that's because they suck all the other plants share!
Tree's are what you plant that the neighborhood can enjoy..you don't have the same view for yourself. To close!.
No,large tree's just are a bad idea for a typical garden. A patio type tree is ok. But even then,you don't want one you see in every yard.
I have enough of plants from the days when common seemed exotic. Gone are the Italian Cypress,the Mimosa,the Oleander and Hollywood Juniper. And soon,the Ash.
Life is short..get rid of them and move on..

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 8:12PM
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I didn't plant them, but boy do I have to deal with them: Castor tree and Lavender Trumpet vine!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 9:39AM
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napapen(ca 15)

Years ago my neighbors had giant bamboo in their front yard. It started to grow under the sidewalk and come up under the house. They battled it for a few years and won.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 8:40PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

I worry every time I plant something because of all the work of removing wrong things from the past (not things I personally planted) I think I have devoted most of the past 10 years to cleaning up my parents large garden.

#1 Zapote trees. Dad was going to make his third million dollars selling the fruit There must have been a dozen and they reseed constantly, the rats love them and pretty much nothing can kill the roots. Only one remains and I have plants to "remove" it in the fall

#2 Persimmon Trees, Dad was going to make his second million dollars selling persimmons. He probably planted 30. He also liked having the tallest persimmon trees in the area. I do not like persimmon pudding balls 40 feet in the sky waiting to hit me. Only 6 are left

#1 Kiwi's Dad was going to make his first million bucks selling Kiwi's so he ringed the property with heavy cast iron posts double layers of concrete and wire so thick it is hard to bend. Every few feet he put another one of these towers. The kiwi's grew and grew, well the females did, the males died. Giant vines, head clunkers everywhere and only a couple of tiny fruit.

Other things not to plant:

Clock vine
Jasmine-one 1g pot left on the neighbors porch 20 years ago and we are still battling it.
Mystery fruit trees aka rootstock
San Pedro Cactus (contact me if you need some 20' cuttings)

The worst was the pot of yucca once left by the gate. The parts of the stump too big to lift to the "free" dumpster weighed in at 1200 pounds at the dump. It filled 4 2 yard dumpsters plus the dump run and took 8 hours 2x people for the better part of a week to remove it. Thankfully only one tiny part tried to return to life and was removed....knock on wood.

Should I mention the 200+ sq feet of cactus? It was sold to make salads until it got out of control.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 9:57PM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

Kippy! Funny! And thanks for the tips about what not to plant. Min

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 8:08PM
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Native white yarrow. It smells. It comes up everywhere and doesn't look that good. I try to plant natives if possible, but some just aren't that great. And, as I've mentioned in a couple of other posts, a giant podocarpus gracilior hedge that is beyond a maintenance chore/headache/nightmare. And it's boring. Doesn't provide any wildlife benefits. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 8:36PM
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melle_sacto(Z9/Sunset 14 CA)

Yes, my poor AHDH yard :-( I'm sure there have been additional mistakes, but this is what comes to mind:

The double-flowered Rose of Sharon, whose flowers looks like wads of tissue when they fell off the tree -- UGH!

Violets...always gotta watch out for the seedlings in the lawn.

Pineapple mint, IS as invasive as other mints if you ask me. I finally threw down black plastic for a couple years when we reconsidered the front yard.

Vitex angus-castus...not because I didn't LOVE it, but because it grew WAY larger than I thought it would so it was far too close to the house. We had to take it out :-( However, there's a little seedling that has emerged and I'm hoping to pot it up and maybe find a better place.

Red trumpet vine: attracted so many ants and hardly bloomed. What a disappointment. And then it sent invasive runners everywhere. Dug it out years ago and still finding little shoots that pop up...to remind me of that mistake.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 8:33PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

The red trumpet is indeed invasive! We slayed a row of those, and hit the suckers with round up regularly.

Mint.. yep. Only in containers on concrete.

I'm ok with the Rose of Sharon, and I have no seedlings which would be welcomed.

Nothing grows in our lawn. Drought conditions. Fake lawn. Looks gorgeous all day, every day.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:22PM
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New Zealand flax thinking it was a compact variety when in fact they turned gargantuan weighing so much, they knocked me on my can when digging them up. And I ruined a garden cart trying to move one too.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 2:02AM
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Kippy, that's hilarious man. Great post.

"Posted by tinyscrafts (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 10, 13 at 3:14
mint. What a noob!
and Wisteria. Big mistake...."

So Tiny, why was wisteria a big mistake?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 4:31AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I'll answer for Tiny. Wisteria is invasive. Huge root system! If it gets out of it's pot and into the ground, it will come up in places you didn't know you had. Very hard to control and to get rid of.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 9:02AM
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And I just removed Wisteria..and its stump was covered in concrete,not a minute too soon. And the rot it caused on the roof is costing money to repair.
Also,not being planted? Cacti and thorny shrubs. I had enough of the difficulty or removing weeds and grasses near them. The ingrate plants stuck me over and over. Drought tolerant plants that are "safe" like Aloes are the new direction.
And - once again,never plant a tree in the bay area if you want to garden. If you just want a space filler- fine. But tree's ruin the gardening experience.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 7:19PM
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Sierra_Heather(7 ish)

Lombardi Poplar... e-gads and little fishes! If you want to buckle concrete sidewalks or choke the life out of your plumbing, it's a home run!

Vinca minor... it will run wild and snuff out everything in it's path!

Virginia creeper.... does NOT play nice with others!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 2:54AM
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Pyracantha - You need to make sure you've had your tetanus shot. The thorns are really painful. Never again!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 3:04AM
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BarbJP CA 15-16/9B

Oh boy, you reminded me of something. Someone thought it was a good idea to plant two Pyracantha 2 feet away from a concrete path around the pool.
So, a 3' wide path, that folks in swimsuits walk on, with two Pyracantha bushes planted 2' from the paths edge. And these at this point were rather old bushes, that can have a spread of at least 5'-6', so unless we pruned them weekly, well let's just say, "Ouch!".
Second summer we pulled those spiny pests out! Not an easy job either, but now it's way better!

On the other hand, they make a great impenetrable barrier if you have the room and don't want anyone sneaking in, lol!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 1:58PM
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This is such a great thread and so full of useful information.

I don't regret anything I've planted because I haven't planted anything invasive and I figure the trail of plant corpses are all a learning experience, right?

I deeply, deeply regret the previous homeowners plantings. I could throttle them for all the ivy, the iceplant (the bad kind), the clover, the privet tree and plum tree they let grow, the fern of unknown variety that is eating my backyard. I have cursed the ivy the most. It was so treacherous and difficult to remove, and of course, its never really gone, it keeps popping back up through 4 inches of mulch every so often. Ivy makes my blood pressure go up.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 8:33PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Baby Tears as a ground cover began a weed that is still giving me grief. I often regret what I plant.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 11:09AM
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This is a Taro plant ... I read it was invasive in Florida so I planted it in a good size pot and not planning to plant it in the ground ... I live in zone 10...

Has anybody had any regrets in planting this in the ground??

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 3:45PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

You are welcome to come over and dig up the multiple pups from the Sego Palm. OR, just pay for the big one... worth $1000 bucks, and leave me with the pups. Thing is way huge, and blocking my view. Pups are free!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 3:09PM
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Morning glory, kind of.

I kid you not my son and I peeled a thick curtain of it off the back of the house with a rake after snipping it off the cable under the eaves. It's come in the windows and under the door shoe under the front door.

The weirdest place it came out was a pipe on the roof! I thought it was a vent pipe from a heater that was taken out long ago. I was scared my attic was full of it. We checked up there before I had a cast iron heater stove put in because they were going to need to run the flue up through the roof.

We looked: nothing. Where in the heck is that mowing glory coming from?

So I had my son go up there on the roof and start pulling. He pulled and pulled and pulled and pulled! 18 feet of morning glory!

The pipe was a breather for the crawl space under the house. It was growing under the house and went up the breather looking for light.

Even so, in the morning when the flowers are newly opened, it is so beautiful.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 2:57AM
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molewacker z9b Napa CA (No.SFBay)(9b Danville E(SF)Bay CA)

Redwoods! Yikes. You can't trim them. They are thirsty. They get much too tall. They drop sharp leaves. The roots find all your pipes and your wallet.

They are great in the forest but not in a residential yard. As an arborist told me - "oh you have redwoods, therefore, you can't have landscaping". He was correct.

If you have them - rip them out before its too late. I did, now they are someone's deck. But it was already too late for my wallet.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 7:07PM
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A long time ago, I bought a slew of Dusty Miller plants. White, compact and so pretty.

I was totally wrong.
It took a team of grown human beings to get those out. The sheer number of multiplications, the size (compact, my butt!) and the HUGE root systems made for one of my main regrets.

I've also regretted some roses. While I really don't do roses anymore, back when I had about 100, there were a good handful that I regretted planting. The amount of care, attention and diligence it required to keep bug/disease-free vs. the prettiness of the blooms was far from equal. Like one, called Sterling Silver or something....what a waste of time that bush was for me!

I've also eventually regretted every gardenia I've ever bought but that's just because I can't seem to keep one alive. Haha.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 1:10PM
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