Dumbest Place to Plant Something

Ipomoea - 7July 8, 1999

Oh my goodness, some people just have slow blood flow to the brain. I've seen a person who planted several dusty millers along the side of their house. This is a relatively intelligent thing to do. I said relevantly! But they must have had one dusty miller left and so they planted it right smack dab in the middle of their lawn. That is a relatively unintelligent thing to do in my opinion. And does anyone blame me? Last time I saw the poor thing it had grass blossoms towering above it's head. Oy, just pathetic! Has anyone else seen any stupidly-placed plants.

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Stupidly placed plants? Yeah, the two flats of plants sitting in my yard which will probably never find a home before the end of summer!

Oh well.....

    Bookmark   July 9, 1999 at 11:56AM
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Woogie - Michigan

Yeah - the self-sown Cleomes in the driveway to the barn,
that I haven't the heart to pull! So far, my husband is
still driving around them. Woogie

    Bookmark   July 9, 1999 at 1:23PM
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Dirtpig - 4-A

My sister-in-law have columbines growing out of the sidewalks.

    Bookmark   July 9, 1999 at 5:25PM
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Bill - 5

Planting flowers near telephone poles or fire hydrants in neighborhoods with dogs.

    Bookmark   July 21, 1999 at 6:24PM
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Stella - NY

Another person too faint of heart to pull the cleome's. We have Cleome's all over, by next summer they should cover NY State. They grew very conveniently against a fence(street side) and everyone thinks I am a gardening genius for having such beautiful flowers against a boring fence, little do they know I didnt have a thing to do with it.
The scary part is they are already dropping seeds.

    Bookmark   July 22, 1999 at 11:05AM
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Ipomoea - 7

I know what you mean. Our cleomes started out as one cleome. Now they make a spectacular five-foot long mass along a drab gray wall. Everyone says,"Oh, wow!" and I'm thinking,"You have no idea."

    Bookmark   July 22, 1999 at 12:56PM
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lotuslily - 7 NY

Thanks for the warning about cleomes, I just put some in a bed with four o'clocks and marguerita and cosmos, will they and the four o'clocks take over everything? I was happy when told they would reseed. Oh yeah, for the topic, definitely have stupidly placed lots myself, mostly overcrowding. The most recent seen, was 4 evergreens and hedges clinging to the front of someone's windows, and they're still pretty young. And I put in a butterfly bush and a honeysucle in spring in a hummmingbird garden along with other stuff, and it already looks crowded! But I like the jungle look anyway.lily.

    Bookmark   July 22, 1999 at 5:28PM
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Ipomoea - 7

They're not going to really take over. They'll just have a pleasant predominance.

    Bookmark   July 22, 1999 at 5:43PM
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Stella - NY

I love it, pleasant predominance, so poetic.

    Bookmark   July 22, 1999 at 9:21PM
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Ipomoea - 7

Thank you; thank you very much. How 'bout an encore? Drumroll please...............Pleasant predominance. Thank you. Thank you.

    Bookmark   July 22, 1999 at 9:30PM
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sue - 9/ Sunset 14

I have a bad habit of planting brittle or spiny things right by the walkway, you think after countless punctures I would learn, but nooooo....

    Bookmark   July 22, 1999 at 11:45PM
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lotuslily - 7NY

I like pleasant predominance too, it sounds much better! Guess I'll be watching the cleome and four o'clocks vying for pleasant predominance next spring, hopefully they'll get along and let the cosmos be.lily.

    Bookmark   July 24, 1999 at 11:00AM
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viktoria - 5

How often do you see trees that will mature to 50-100' planted about 2' from the front wall? And Junipers and Arborvitae with a vertical form smack dab in the middle of the living room picture window (not that that matters since inside there is a table with a LARGE lamp on it right in the middle of the window, too, blocking the light and view, not that that matters, either, since behind THAT there is a sofa FACING AWAY FROM THE WINDOW). Why have a picture window?

    Bookmark   August 8, 1999 at 10:51AM
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Roxanne - 6

More encore for "pleasant predominance"--yeah, that's what you'll get with 4:00s, hollyhocks, morning glories, irises, cleome (came from next door!), ajuga, creeping moneywort... And about the trees--it's not just the trees too close to buildings, how about the ones planted 10' apart & will have maybe 40' spread?? Don't these folks read the labels?!?!?! and some of them are landscapers!!!!!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2000 at 10:53PM
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Under a maple tree or a black walnut! Been there, done that.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2000 at 11:51AM
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Theresa - 5-Michigan

This is a great topic!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2000 at 12:01PM
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Brian - 7 Atlanta

Speaking of trees planted like shrubs, I have an Osmanthus fortunei (Fortune's tea olive) planted up against the house, right next to the driveway, courtesy of a previous owner. If you haven't seen the juvenile form of one of these, imagine a 10 foot tall chinese holly, only more prickly. It's a constant battle to keep it pruned to where it won't lift the eaves off the house or scrape the paint off the cars. I've received multiple puncture wounds every time I've pruned it and was thinking of cutting the whole thing down.

Fortunately, I finally figured out what it was. I had thought it was a holly but was wandering through a nursery one day and spied that leaf - unmistakeable - as beautiful as it is deadly. I looked it up later that day and found out - surprise, surprise, that it wants to be a 20ft tall tree! Also, if it is allowed to grow into the tree form, it will switch to adult mode, with only one spine per leaf and produce those wonderfully fragrant tea olive blooms.

So, this fall I'm moving it 6ft further away from the house. Both it and I should be much happier with the new arrangement!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pic of Fortune's Tea Olive

    Bookmark   August 3, 2000 at 9:58AM
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Kate G.

Well we may all be conveying our problems with planting plants in DUMB places, which we all have at one time or another.. BUT I'd like to take a moment here and add that one of the absolute best places to plant something is in a compost pile. Especially one made from grass clippings and newspaper.. The only flower I've ever had a problem with in there was Irises.. they can't really handle the dampness.. ;)
But pumpkins.. they love it!!

Here is a link that might be useful: KaterTater's Homepage

    Bookmark   August 3, 2000 at 4:14PM
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Zanne - Eastern KY(6-7ish)

Anything planted inside my house will surely die. Everyone who has ever seen my gardens, around my various homes, gives me houseplants. Seem to think I can grow anything. They ALL die.
People who go through a good deal of trouble to "plant" english ivy around their perfectly landscaped brick houses because they saw a pretty picture of it somewhere...

    Bookmark   February 12, 2001 at 9:43AM
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bbiblehuntingtonedu - 5

Ditto shrubs and trees to close to the house. As for those cloeme, those suckers grew so large I could pull them up without loosing half the dirt in my garden. I think I will get out the hack saw and take care of them next time.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2001 at 11:32AM
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Windy - 7a

Our neighbor, who's house I can see from my kitchen window,planted a large tree right next to the power pole. Now, I watch as it grows in leaps and bounds and wonder when they will figure out it will grow into the power lines above it.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2001 at 4:50PM
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ck - 7b

I planted a hedge of Ealeagnus pungens between my house and neighbors about 10 years ago. Its a 3 time a year prune job, but oh my, the whole neighborhood loves the wafting scent for 6 weeks in the fall.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2001 at 3:15PM
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Christine - 7 or 8

The walkway to my front door is bordered on one side by a pyracantha and on the other by a rather aggressive holly. Every time I think I have them pruned back far enough they reach out and snag my jacket! How soon is too soon to prune them back again?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2001 at 8:10PM
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Joy - 8(PNW)

In our last home I planted pink forget me nots on both sides of our walk way. When they went to seed, everyone who'd walk past them would end up with the sticky round seeds all over their clothing.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2001 at 10:26PM
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Liz PA

I'll be afraid to even try planting a garden when the time comes................. after reading all this! !


    Bookmark   March 13, 2001 at 11:50AM
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Eric 7, VA

I once planted Hostas on the edge of the woods (about 15 years ago). It looked great for about three days. On the fourth day, the deer came and figured it was a salad bar. Live and learn.

Of course, I've not made a single mistake since....on Tuesdays.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2001 at 12:44AM
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Joe Saltspring Island BC 8b-9

Yeh,I see plants placed in stupid areas all of the time.I went into one Vancouver,B.C. garden,and the original owner had planted two Trachycarpus fortunei palms right under the overhang of the house.Well,that was way back in 1973.Now those two palms are nearly pushing the roof off of the two story home!It is very common for many gardeners to place tall growing trees under power lines or over hangs.Sometimes it is very unfortunate for the plants when they have to be moved or chopped down.Joe

    Bookmark   March 18, 2001 at 1:52AM
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So many boo boos, so little space.

Our neighbor spent a near fortune on foundation plantings in "do it yourself" mode, all planted 1' from the foundation under the overhang.....big problem.

Personally, the Holly tree by the front door years ago was incredibly stupid.

Spending a fortune on lambs ear, stupid.

So many people buy 10 tulips (name that bulb), and plant each 3' away from the other. Looks incredibly random.

I personally have a horrible habit of impulsively buying shubs in a fit of exuberance, then trying to fit them into the landscape and end up trucking them round and round the beds year after year trying to make some sense of things.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2001 at 10:20AM
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Pardancanda 6/7NJ

...has got to be those Christmas trees next to the house! Especially attractive after turning them into lollipops by removing branches blocking windows. Now, about the Albizzia I thought was a fern, in my early years... Absolutely gorgeous to look down into from the second floor bedroom window when in bloom. Unlike the Christmas trees, it takes very well to cutting down to the ground once a year. Had a "white flowered" form with which I repeated this mistake at a later home, but it never bloomed. John

    Bookmark   March 24, 2001 at 7:36PM
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MissusD 9

I like those pleasantly predominant plants. My Showy Evening Primroses make me look like an expert gardener when there are huge drifts of them in bloom in my yard. Traffic slows down around my corner lot as people stare.

I even have them growing in the cracks in my patio but I don't have the heart to remove them.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2001 at 2:35PM
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Ladyfingers z8TX

A Magnolia tree - right up next to the house. How stupid is THAT???

    Bookmark   April 7, 2001 at 7:19PM
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josiemmmm 3

My entire neighbourhood is cursed with Big Pine Tree. Almost every house was built with a large pine tree planted on front of it. I mean big. And I mean almost every one. It's stupid. I have a massive tree blocking most of my front yard. Did they put it up to block the hot late arternoon sun? Doubt it, because EVERYONE has one. I'm lucky mine is pretty and full, most are scraggly. You'd think they'd mix it up a bit and plant other trees too. But repeatitive is the theme here-the exact same house design as mine is in the bay across the street from me-complete with giant pine! Only they have a garage and I have a cute little porch.
Most of the house have huge evergreen bushes planted right up against their houses, they are touching the windows and completely blocking them. Who was in charge here?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2001 at 12:26AM
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Meghane 7b NC

My vote goes to the Weeping Willow near anything that is supposed to bring water into your house. The willow roots can and will devour the pipes, well, or whatever else you have to quench its voracious thirst. You will not have the water pipes or well for long.

Second place is the tree under the telephone lines. Builders routinely do this in the South (you'd think with all the hurricanes, they would have figured out the underground wire thing, but it hasn't completely happened yet). They'll plant maples or whatever right under the utility lines. Then in 20 years the utility co. comes out and hacks the heck out of all the trees. So attractive.

The builders in my neighborhood also graced all the houses with 2 trees, one plopped on either side of the driveway. One of mine was a maple tree, which I moved because I really don't want the helicopters and leaves all over my car (we don't use the garage for our cars- too much stuff in the garage).

Next vote- anything that attracts bees near anywhere you expect to spend some time- like near a patio, at the front door, etc. Brilliant move.

I know there is some kind of craze going on where people plant stuff in "interesting" containers, but I hate to see plants in shoes, suitcases, toilets, wagons, etc. That's just a personal issue.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2001 at 2:17PM
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sherri 6

I agree with the plants in toilets, wagons, shoes thing....

But last year I planted a Lilac Bush under my oriel window, this year it has quadrupled in height and width, by next year it will be poking into the bottom of the window or will grow crooked to avoid it? Guess I'll have to move it....

    Bookmark   June 2, 2001 at 9:10PM
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Lee Anna z8

The previous owner of my house could've won awards. We cut down six trees and STILL have nine left (mind you, this is a normal size lot - approx 7200 square feet). The trees are all around 30 years old, so they're big. We had (or have):

4 doug firs in the backyard (the largest is 125' tall, and they were all six feet apart - the 2 weakest are gone)
1 doug fir in the front yard (gone)
2 doug firs on the side of the house (1 is gone)
3 Japanese maples, all planted together (at least they're different varieties!)
2 Weeping Seqoias (1 is gone)
1 Common Maple in the front yard (gone, bigtime. It was planted right where the sidewalk and driveway meet)
1 ornamental pine - I don't know the variety, but it looks like a 15' bonzai. Very cool.
1 Austrian Pine, planted 5 feet from the house
1 Tulip Tree - not the Magnolia one. It's the tallest deciduous tree in North America and it's still in my yard... for now.

It was awful to have to cut down so many trees, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why this guy planted so many huge trees so close together.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2001 at 5:07PM
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Lee Anna: I've taken out about 20 trees in my yard. You ask why do they plant them like that?

Well, maybe for the same reason my previous owner planted WISTERIA all over the front yard. Not under trees or light posts and not around the borders...I mean just plopped down in the middle of the grass. 4 to 5 foot Wisteria "bushes". I've removed them and re-sodded, but they're never completely gone. After three years, I'll still walk out some morning and there's a wisteria vine growing right out of the middle of my lawn.

As to worst planting mistake: creeping fig climbing up my brick house. Arghhh! I was so stupid. During the winter it climbed up to the wood eaves and facia boards. When I pulled them down, they brought the paint with them and left these ugly "footprints" all over the eaves. Much of the wood will have to be replaced...all will have to be repainted. DO NOT DO THIS!!!!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2001 at 4:03PM
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Pyracantha - planted anywhere except around the fence at a maximum security prison.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2001 at 2:40AM
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Kimberly 6

How about a mulberry tree planted so it drops all its lovely purple berries on the sidewalk and your car and the birds can sit in it and poop purple poop on your car? (Purple bird poop stains white cars, by the way. Looks like we have purple chicken pox.)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2001 at 11:07AM
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Four Leyland cypress planted in front of a wonderful farmhouse style house w/a wraparound porch. Of course they've grown to about 20 feet now, and you can't even see the house, but maybe that was the look they were after...

    Bookmark   June 26, 2001 at 4:49PM
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veilchen z5 s Maine

Last year I moved a hot pink dianthus to the front of the border right in front of a galiardia that was not in bloom. Well, this year they both bloomed at the same time--the hot pink next to the bright orange/yellow/red looks hideous.

Previous owner's mistake--planting a weeping willow in the front yard next to the street. Poor neighbors across the street had their sewer back up on Christmas Eve--culprit was tree roots. The thing was also quickly reaching its way to the power lines. Took my husband and some friends 3 weekends to remove that huge tree in order to save us a few thousand dollars in tree removal costs.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2001 at 7:04AM
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Dumbest Place to Plant Something? My neighbor planted his stinky dog pen about 15 feet from my deck.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2001 at 1:24AM
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Aurore(Zone 4/5 NY)

Like those with weeping willow, I planted my forsythia too close to the water pipes to the house and the forsythia clogged the pipes up.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2001 at 2:53PM
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Denise 7 MD

The "award winning" builder of our house should have gotten an award in the Dumbest Place to Plant Something category for planting 4 Leland Cypress trees in a line spaced two feet apart and two feet in front of an existing mature maple tree and holly bush. Good grief.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2001 at 2:55PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Peruvian daffodils in the middle of my annual bed. I din't realize they would get so big! Once they were up I didn't worry too much about them--they weren't supposed to make it through last winter. They did. AND survived the drought this summer! I guess I'll have ot dig them out and move them after all... Melanie

    Bookmark   September 17, 2002 at 9:31AM
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Wendy_the_Pooh(z5/6 NY)

I like this thread. I've learned some what-not-to-dos. The dumbest to me are:

1. Planting soon-to-be-huge trees right next to a house (not done by me).

2. Leaving astilbes under the overhang because I don't have the heart to move them, even though I'm forced to water them close to every day in summer (my no-no).

3. Eagerly planting other people's throw-aways in my yard among my other "babies" before figuring out why they threw it away (e.g., a bush with canker)(also my no-no).

4. Ignoring the gleam in someone's eye as she hands me my own cute little *FREE* Jerusalem Artichoke plant (it later grew several feet across and about 10 ft high in a choice spot in my vegetable garden because I never dug the tubers up). I ended up breaking my back to dig it up and toss the whole dang thing away. Lesson learned: do my research first.


P.S. Have you noticed I like hypenated words?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2003 at 12:06PM
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jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

My gardener gave me the good advice about the no-no of planting big trees in one's front yard. Once he opened my eyes, I was able to realize that here, too, it was The Big Thing (pun intended) fifty years ago to plant huge evergreens all over these tiny 4-5000 sq. ft. urban lots.

It looks beautiful when you're driving down the street to see these mature impressive trees. It's a lot less attractive to look at somebody's postage-stamp sized front yard that contains nothing except for a 60' tall sequoia (yup, the giant redwood) well on its way to being 150' tall.

My dumbest mistake was planting white calla lillies. I love them, but I am constantly yanking them out of beds where they don't belong.

In my garden, the Mexican evening primrose has barely got a fighting chance, thank God!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2003 at 12:56PM
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vmperkins(z5 central IL)

A thorny barberry right in front of the hose hookup in the front yard. I can't imagine what genius decided to do this. I look like I went 9 rounds with an angry cat by the end of the summer.

I have been cutting the darn thing back but I ALWAYS stab myself with the thorns when I remove the branches.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2003 at 1:09PM
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A row of hazel nuts over our new drain field.It looked like a good spot--nothing else was growing there-ha!!A few years later we had to hire a man to come with his backhoe and put in a new drain field.Oh well--Live and learn!!!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2003 at 8:30PM
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Dumbest place to plant? Anywhere my boyfriend can reach with the weedwacker. Whenever I hear the whir of the motor followed by a brief silence and a mumbled "uh oh," I know exactly what has transpired. Can't even bear to turn around and look.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2003 at 3:22PM
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Hands down the most common one: under power lines. People plant a tiny maple under a powerline and in twenty years it has to get butchered by the electric company because it is rubbing on the lines. I guess the concept that trees grow taller as they get older, is pretty difficult for some people to grasp.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2003 at 11:35AM
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Great topic! How about this, i planted mint in a box off my deck that was INTENDED to have mixed herbs in it...

    Bookmark   May 7, 2003 at 8:00PM
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Bonnyleigh(z7 NC)

My parents planted a Dwarf Burford Holly right next to the carport and now it's covering the hose spigot that they have to use daily. Ouch..

    Bookmark   May 11, 2003 at 7:15PM
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A wisteria growing up a utility pole. While it looks absolutely beautiful right now, about half way up the pole (it was tiny last year), the power company is probably going to tell the homeowners to get rid of it.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2003 at 9:59AM
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MeMyselfAndI(5/6 central OH)

A housing development is the dumbest place to plant a silver maple tree. Details on why are on MANY discussions on these forums...

Notice the common theme here of entire housing developments being landscaped in ridiculous inappropriate and often damaging ways. This jives with the theory that since companies that plant these things (often trees which are TOPPED to ensure instability, too close to the house, shrubs that get tall enough to block windows) are the same companies people call to deal with these things when they become a problem... as they surely will... they do it on purpose! (And it's a bonus for their buddies, the roofing contractors.) It's the same greedy-thinking people who advise for thick 'wall' of trees to plant 10 large trees too close together and then cut 4 or 5 down later when they get 'too thick.' The only shady yards I could find when house-hunting were shaded by very undesirable trees for a suburban setting. (Top three being silver maple, willows, black walnut.) I'm not saying all businesses of this genre operate this way, but there doesn't seem to be much other explanation for the average housing development builder-installed landscape.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2003 at 9:55PM
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Violet_Girl(z9a TX)

I would definitely have to go with the No Spiny Plants In High Traffic Areas. Such as, if you have small children who love to play in the backyard, DON'T plant vining roses all over. And, NO cacti near the sidewalks, or in the front flowerbeds near the door. And, don't be fooled by the small appearance of that poor, scrawny little Oleander- whatever you do, DON'T go home and plant it under a window.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2003 at 2:11AM
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Okanagan(5b BC)

How about a poplar just about 6' south of a large grape arbor in the northern hemisphere. Also 6' north of a fence. SO, it will shade the grape arbor and completely block the area between that and the fence. After one winter in-ground, it's already got that area more than half blocked with lower branches.

Yes, this was done by a professional landscaper. This garden was "designed" by a college instructor in landscaping.

Was it just a mistake? (Everyone knows poplar, yes?)

Now it'll be my job to dig it out of my mother's yard ... after I spent quite some effort convincing them it has to go.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2003 at 11:09AM
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Violet_Girl(z9a TX)

Thanks to all of you- I had already planted Chocolate mint AND peppermint in my 1.5'x3' bed- along with marjoram, chamomile, horehound, and soon to be lemon basil and pineapple sage. I finally got the message taht they would conquer my bed soon, and I potted them instead. You saved me a LOT of work and money.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2003 at 11:28PM
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rcontreras(7b NGa)

I, too, have planted creeping fig against a brick wall at my house and lived to regret it. I have also planted wisteria in a half whiskey-barrel, thinking I had contained it. How was I to know the root would just bust out the bottom of the barrel?
The previous owner of my current house, however, planted her irises in the shade and her hostas in full sun. Made me feel better about the fig and the wisteria.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2003 at 10:38PM
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I planted a honeysuckle vine on a trellis next to my house. Well, it has gone wild and it is everywhere. I can't pull it out fast enough.
It is vining up my lily stems, irises, absolutely anything and everything....... Driving me nuts!!!!


    Bookmark   June 5, 2003 at 11:11AM
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Hmmmmm, there are so many plants in my yard that were planted on top of other plants that were dormant! We have nearly 12 months of growing season and things are always going dormant and other things coming up. I want to put something in and see a bare spot. Oh perfect! Yikes, there goes the astilbe!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2003 at 1:59PM
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Planting flowering vines around mailbox posts is my personal vote for stupid places to plant things. Do they ever stop to consider that a) your mailbox is federal property and you aren't really allowed to plant stuff on it? and more importantly, b)bees, wasps, and spiders could sting the mailperson when he reaches into your box? (No, I'm not a mailperson, just considerate of them)

    Bookmark   June 5, 2003 at 6:47PM
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I just remembered that one apartment complex I lived in planted live oaks right next to the air conditioning units. How stupid is that? In a few years, the roots would take that a/c right up off the ground. Someone must have told them, because they eventually replaced them with shrubs.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2003 at 10:32PM
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Well I planted four little J.A. tubers to make a natural fence in my yard, I put tomato cages over the place I planted them and roped it off with yellow rope so people would be aware of them. Then I went out of town to work. When I got back someone decided to help me by moving them to the south face of my vegetable garden. I now have a thicket that is going to block out a good portion of sun to the garden......Now what's the verdict on chopping the tops off the plants mid summer when they get really high? I know it sounds harsh but I prefer other veggies to those (although shredded half and half with potatoes makes some good hashbrowns)........

    Bookmark   June 6, 2003 at 12:06PM
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dedoverde(Zone 9 CA)

Finally I have found it. Paradise for the

D i s g r u n t l e d G a r d e n e r

( > C : )

    Bookmark   June 8, 2003 at 1:30PM
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divaone(NC - z7)

8 years ago, after moving into a home in a subdivision and the landscape wrecking crew (construction crew) was gone, I decided I wanted leland cypress trees in the back yard to 'fence' off the house behind me (which had only 2 feet of property on my side). In my haste, knowing the yard was muddy and poorly done, I laced up my legs with large plastic bags up to my knees and dug in with the planting. Didn't even need a hole digger or shovel. I literally SANK in the mud well over my knees!!! Planted the trees anyway... 8 of them. 3 died within two years and the others grew no more than an additional 2 feet high in the span of 4 years :o/ Give me a country home with 'natural' compost and fencing any day.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2003 at 8:45AM
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Try a white birch in Northern Virginia. This was not my mistake but rather the contractor of the new house I built. The first year only 1/3 of the tree had leaves and then this year it has been attacked by birch bores. When I asked the local nursery about this tree, they laughed at any one trying to grow it. But contractor's are the worst so far I have replaced everything they planted. (including holly bushes along the front steps)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2003 at 11:23AM
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dedoverde(Zone 9 CA)

Yucca--ANYWHERE but a container 8 feet away from dirt.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2003 at 2:27AM
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I have a beautful chestnut tree about 70-80 tall with multiple stems. It is beautiful, straight as an arrow, and provides wonderful shade. Unfortunately, someone planted it less than 1 foot from the foundation when they planted it 25 years ago. So I need to get it out before it becomes my basement wall.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2003 at 2:04PM
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amf55nj(z6 NJ)

Oh, I have so many here planted by my predecessors. My favorite- the 40+ foot tall maple which is four feet from the front of the house. Pushing up the sidewalk that I need to push a wheelchair on. Oh, yes, the same tree also shadows what could have been a nice little magnolia, and a Japanese maple. I also have columbines and yellow lilies growing out of the intersection of the soil, and the foundation of the house.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2003 at 4:49PM
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my girlfriend planted one carrot in her veggie bed.When she told me i looked at her quizacly and said,What do you meen you planted one carrot." she assumed that one sead would yeild that bueatiful bunch you got all tied up at the grocery store.I got a good chuckel out of that.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2003 at 3:48PM
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littlebug5(z5 MO)

(**snort**) LOVE the visual of the white car with purple-bird-poop-pox all over it.

There's no doubt about mine -- the wisteria from Hades that I have mentioned in several threads on this board. It's planted (NO, I did not do it) about 1 foot from the foundation of my house. I think there were originally three plants. Now the trunks are as big around as baseball bats and it's trying to pull down my chimney. I hate to think what it looks like underground. DS goes at it with a chainsaw every once in a while. Maybe I'll finally get it all killed someday.

BTW, I had cleomes too, when I moved here (same genius that planted the wisteria). But I wouldn't call them pleasantly predominant -- mine were viciously invasive. And I was yanking them out of the ground even before I had all the boxes unpacked in the kitchen. I have no trouble murdering them. (And I'm still pulling volunteers today, almost 4 years later.)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2003 at 2:35PM
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Trees4Me(z5 Utah)

St. Bernard Puppy Syndrome (SBPS): The neighbor who planted a Colorado blue spruce 6 feet from his driveway (when it looked like a cute little dwarf Alberta spruce) many years ago. He kept flat-shearing off the driveway-side of it with hedge clippers, until it looked like a 40-foot tree cut in half (with the flat side looking brown and dead). He finally had a tree crew come out and cut the thing down.

I guess I'm equally stupid. I put a London planetree in a narrow space (30 feet, maybe?) between my house and my other neighbors. It's still a baby, so we'll see how it works out. But HEY, my wife wanted a big instant shade tree...and the rest of the yard is full!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2003 at 5:34PM
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Wendy_the_Pooh(z5/6 NY)

I planted a 'Bloodgood' London planetree about 15 feet from the house and ten feet away from the 2nd story deck before the neighbors built a tall fence closer to it and my husband built a retaining wall about five feet away from it. I'm hoping it wasn't the "Dumbest Place to Plant Something". We'll see whose hits whose house first.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2003 at 7:13PM
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dedoverde(Zone 9 CA)

I just checked in to get caught up with one of my favorite threads. Am bummed about Vrtlar's chestnut tree!! Too bad some clever architect can't come to the rescue.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2003 at 5:13PM
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This thread has me cracking up!

In my rental house, there's an apple tree (dying and dropping apples, I might add, but too expensive to have removed according to my dear landlord) at one corner of the backyard and a mulberry tree directly across in the other corner... SOOOOOOOOO that means that when I mow this time of year, I have jelly all over the one corner and applesauce all over the other (if the kids run when I ask them to get their apple-collecting buckets).... it's a freaking MESS!! Who's bright idea was that?? Thank goodness they're in the very back of the yard and I can avoid the whole area most of the time....

    Bookmark   July 22, 2003 at 4:09PM
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Elmore(z7 N.AL)

Another Bush in the White House

    Bookmark   July 24, 2003 at 11:27AM
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I will have to tell that one to my ultra lib-lefto-if it feels good do it family members.

that is a good one!!!! seriously!!!!

God Bless George Bush!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2003 at 11:48PM
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The previous owner of my house had planted a row of boxwoods along the walkway. What's wrong with that you ask? Well, the boxwoods blocked the afternoon sun from the walkway, and if it had snowed, or there was ice on the walkway, well you can guess the rest. Those suckers are gone, and I've got ditch daylilies growing there now.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2003 at 3:11PM
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Talamorgan(z6 PA)

The euonymous my neighbor has planted right along the stairs we share (I live in a rowhome, and we share the steps and walkway up to the houses). I never realized euonymous has needle-sharp prickers on the tips of the leaves until she went about 2 weeks without trimming it and I almost got my eye scratched out walking up my own stairs! OUCH! Why would someone plant something that can impale you right along steps? As a contrast, we had a euonymous growing up at my parents house, and I had no idea it had prickers (it's the SAME type of bush) because it was planted in a garden bed along our fence, nowhere near where people walk!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2003 at 11:11AM
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TeresaInCAL(9 California)

Ok, I'll just say Mexican Primrose, in the ground! It spread like wildfire, and no one could put it out. I planted it in the front of the house, it took over the whole flower bed it was in, then it popped up in the BACK yard! Luckey for me we moved...

    Bookmark   September 1, 2003 at 1:40AM
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ohiogal(z5-6 OH)

I had a slope of ground beside my back deck that was plain grass. Boring. I wanted flowers that bloomed continuously and found the perfect pretty little thing. Crown vetch. My friend tried to warn me. Did I listen? Nooooo. I'll say this much for it, it does have nice blooms. I've decided it's part of the yard forever, after trying for 6 years to eradicate it.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2003 at 7:57PM
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garden_witch(z6a MI)

There are two enormous (about 4-5 feet THICK) oaks planted directly between the street and our front walkway (from which they are roughly twoo feet away.) They are ancient, and dead branches fall constanly on the road, the driveway, the sidewalk, our roof, and all over the front yard! You cannot go out barefoot after August, or risk the ouch ouch ouch! of acorns under foot. They shed their leaves about a half foot thick everywhere whithin a three mile radius. The front yard is constantly shaded, and while this is a blessing on hot summer days, I cant grow anything more than hostas, periwinkle, and a few struggling shrubs in my front garden. Oh, and did I mention that our front sidewalk looks like a rollercoaster?!?!?!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2003 at 2:35PM
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Our neighborhood is highly manicured so you always feel obligated to have everything look perfect. One summer someone pointed out that a plant was growing in our 3rd story gutter. It was about 1 foot tall, but I wasn't going on the roof to pull it out, so it grew in the gutter all summer long! Don't ask me how!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2003 at 11:29PM
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Herb_Gardener(Seattle WA)

Our neighbors planted bamboo with no restraints--

it's everywhere! In the sidewalk-- the driveway-- the foundation of our house . . .

When it comes into my garden beds I'm going to take action.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2004 at 8:20PM
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marilou(z4 IA)

Planting award-winning hybrid tea roses next to the dryer vent, which spews out moisture and encourages powderly mildew. Duh! And yes, I'm the culprit.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2004 at 2:03PM
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Well fortunately the previous owners of my house were not much into landscaping and gardening. It took me the first year of living there to fix head scratching problems inside the house. Like if your missing an electrical outlet in one room, you just cut a 1"x1" square through the drywall into the next room, so your plug can fit through the hole and be plugged in there. Anyways they did manage to plant two pine trees directly under the hydro lines. Its like they used a plumb line to line them up, so that the hydro people would have to cut the very centre of the tree off.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2004 at 1:09PM
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GingerBlue(z6 MO)

The previous owner of my house must have sporadically had gardening interests and must have come home with a plant or two a season and just made a place for it in the middle of the yard. There are no flowerbeds. Just about 20 clumps of a single plant here and there randomly in the yard. Iris here, glads there, hibiscus over there, a mum by itself. And now tulips. She even put 4 asiatic lilies, in a row, along the sidewalk. Mowing is a nightmare in this place!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2004 at 11:52PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

"Dumbest Place to Plant Something"?

Downhill from a lava flow would be pretty dumb? Probably already been mentioned I expect. ;o)


    Bookmark   April 9, 2004 at 11:17PM
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ceresone(missouri ozarks)

here i thought i would win a award, lol, guess not. i built a 3'tall 4'square raised flower bed --under a silver-leafed maple tree. but--mint grows good there! i believe i could--if i could,- pick up the bed, and leave the 4'square mass of roots intact! its such a mass of roots a shovel wont go into it.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2004 at 11:10AM
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Cactus/Succulent/rock garden.....

.....right under the run off from the roof. *sigh*

    Bookmark   April 15, 2004 at 10:43PM
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I thought my neighbor was crazy to plant some flowers about 6 feet from the curb, might as well have been smack dab in the middle like Ipomoea mentioned. Just one more thing to mow around and waste time on, as it is right in there with the grass. No border, nothing!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2004 at 12:18PM
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sandra_NY(z4 NY)

I'm one of those softies that can't bear to rip out a plant that has gone to all that trouble to take root, especially if it looks happy where it is.

As a result I have stupidly placed plants all over my property.

I obviously don't have the heartlessness that good gardening demands.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2004 at 9:41AM
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Well when my sis in law first started gardening i gave her a squash plant for her front flower garden. She was very impressed with the great big yellow flowers and huge interesting seed pods ;-)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2004 at 7:27PM
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jkw7aj(z8a (Sunset 5))

In my 25 year old neighborhood, the contractors inflicted the properties with junipers. Vertically oriented junipers, prostrate junipers ... junipers under, on top of, right next to, behind, and inside other junipers. And all rooted within 3 feet of the sidewalk so that all you really see of these monstrosities is a super flat, dead brown, non-growing, sheared off side (to keep the sidewalk clear). I can't stand looking into the hollow, lifeless interior of all these shrubs when I'm walking around. Some of the ones along our sidewalk were planted just a hair further back, so they still look reasonably wild and unsheared, but the others ... My SO is one of those people who can't stand to kill a living, growing (OMG, they're still growing!) thing, so we'll probably always have them.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2004 at 9:00AM
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Mystique1(z8 AustinTX)

Well, in some cases maybe the previous owner had specific size requirements in which a particular planting would be "maintained" through seasonal pruning. This does not apply to aggressive trees with roots that could cause foundation damage. I planted a pyracantha at the from entrace to my home. Some may think this is stupid, but I love the berries and the white flowers in the fall through spring. SO what I have done is trained the pyranchta into a spiral topiary in which I have 6 nice sized rounded balls which looks so elegant gracing my entrance. Keep in mind that this does require more maintenance, but it's part of my pruning routine. Now, if I sell my home I would inform the buyer of any such plantings. If they choose not to keep it up, then of course it would be considered "a dumb place to plant something".

You shouldn't live in your home for the next person. However, you should consider your neighbors and your property boundaries when planting anything that is aggressive. I also think that including such "miscellaneous" information in the disclosures will warn the prospective buyers.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2004 at 10:02AM
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dighappy(z7 NJ)

How about planting morning glory's on a trellis behind and next to rose bushes....darn near need stitches each time I pull the volunteers out (by the thousands)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2004 at 11:39PM
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The people who owned my house before me planted some really large growing shrubs like a foot away from the foundation of the house. I've dug out all but one now, and moved them.

Then they planted the live oaks 10 feet from the back of the house, which is nice for the shade, but not for when those roots start interfering with my foundation and I have to pay an exorbitant amount of money to have them root pruned.

Also, they planted some things in deep shade that needed to be in sun, which I also had to move.

I wonder at the stupidity of people sometimes. I mean, why would they plant a citrus tree between two oak trees? I take it that it was because they didn't want to walk out to the back of the yard to water it, because that's the only place there's sun in the back yard.

But then, I planted an elderberry next to my garage, and it's grown into a monster that slaps me in the face every time I walk by, so I guess I'm not immune to stupidity.

Now to my pet peeve....the stupidest place to plant things is in a climate where they don't belong. Living in Florida, I see so many people hauling hostas, lilacs, and bags of bulbs down here just to have them die. Obviously, they do no research before they uproot these nice, healthy plants and bring them to a place where they won't tolerate the harsh conditions in the summer and lack of winter chill. Same thing goes for people who come to visit and haul tropical plants back up north, then want to know why they aren't coming back out after that last -5 snow storm they had. Do the words "TROPICAL PLANT" bring visions of snow and ice storms to mind? What in the world makes them think they'll survive in that kind of climate?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2004 at 12:57PM
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My house's former owner had planted boxwoods along the front walkway. Nice going! Any snow or ice on the walkway would take forever to melt because those stupid boxwoods blocked the afternoon sun! I had my dad take them out back in '97 and life's been so much better! This same owner had also planted two ceder trees in the front corners of the yard; what this meant was that back in the winter of '96, my husband and I had no place to put all the snow we shovelled out of the driveway! Yes those are gone now too!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2004 at 11:33AM
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loniesmom(z5 (6?) NE OH)

We have a neighbor whose got some very lovely crocus' planted in an exact checkerboard 12" x 12" intervals in their front lawn. SINGLE bulbs, not clumps. When they bloom in the spring it's rather a polka dot effect. Yet their garden beds consist of a stripe of yews along the foundation of the house. Perhaps the most pathetic display of stupidity parading as creativity I've seen.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2004 at 4:32PM
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ladybee(z10 CA)

Don't plant an entire box of wildflowers that are supposed to cover 2000 square feet in an area about 50 square feet. I'm learning that lesson now. Duh on my part.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2004 at 1:52AM
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My vote for the fast-growing fir tree the neighbors planted maybe 5' from my kitchen window a few years ago. This happens to be one of only four small windows where the plants I bring in in winter can get a bit of sun, and this tree now ensures that the ones in this window will only get a tiny bit at the end of the day. On the other hand, they are very nice neighbors, whom I like, the tree makes sense from the standpoint of their landscaping, and I am grateful when it blocks the western sun in the hot summer.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 2:46PM
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I was visiting Steve Muldovin (Famous Daylily Hybridizer) in Ohio a couple of years ago and he told me this story.
A little Chines guy came to visit him and brought him a little pot of bamboo as a gift. Steve planted it out in the back fourty where he had other trees and things he would grow there to bring up to size. to make a long story short 3 years later when we were there the bamboo had covered close to an acer. and he had tried burning, chemical, cutting, you name it. He said (after a while I just Kind of accepted it)?!.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 7:37PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

It may be just an urban legend, but I think that up one's nose is about the dumbest place to plant something. Rumor has it a kid shoved a bean up his nose and it germinated. I like the image, though.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 8:33PM
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gardengirl_sd(z10 CA)

Okay, um Kimberly 6 and her mulberry tree...birds pooping purple poop has got to be the funniest thing I've ever heard!
Close 2nd would have to be...another Bush in the White House. Lovin it, so clever people!
The previous owner had roses planted in the front of our north facing house before we moved in-always in shade and always had mold, so we moved them to the very sunny south facing back yard! Still occasional mold, but much happier and big beautiful roses!
Our next door neighbors planted palms under the power lines-it's getting close to chopping time...sad!
Our next door neighbor on the other side has bamboo border that is like weeds!!! Good for privacy and very nice and green, but very invasive!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 5:02AM
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loveroftheleaf(7 Central NC)

I'd say anything planted within white gravel mulch - BLECH!!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 10:16PM
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ok i simply have to reply to this post. after reading down 3/4 of the way and having tears in my eyes and cant see to read more. LOL

The one that got me the most isnt even plant related. The 1"x1" hole in the wall for the electrical plug to fit. I am laughing at this because I have done this. Mind you in my own home, not rented, mortgaged, etc. Bought and paid for home. I had no outlet in my bathroom, yeah go figure. But one was on the other side of the wall where the laundry hook ups were. After asking my husband for 3 years to fix this, one day i had enough. Went and got a utility knife and sure nough' put that infamous 1"x1" hole to reach the outlet on the other side. ROFL

they still laugh at me for doing this. and before you ask, i still own my home.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 2:08PM
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Let's see... I planted "climbing roses" all the way around my deck, then laboriously trained them up and over the rails so we could _see_ them while sitting on the deck. (Hello bees and thorns!)
I also let ivy grow up my _vinyl_ siding because I thought it was "cute."
I planted a "baby" lantana about 6 inches from my screened porch (grew 5 feet tall and wide in ONE season... ripping into the screens faster than I could keep it pruned down.)
I planted an Angel Trumpet in the middle of my hot, sunny, dry backyard... in Florida... in July.
The list is endless.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 6:26PM
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misskimmie(z4b Central NY)

Oh, I'm glad this thread is still active. My dear mother (God bless her) planted bittersweet vines (male only) because she like the orange berries and pacasandra and honeysuckle on our waterfront camp in the Adirondack mountains. They all all very invasive. This is a beautiful place filled with pines, cherry, beech and spring wildflowers. For 30 years I've battled the invasives - seems like I'm loosing. ... kim

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 10:10AM
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plant-one-on-me(MI 5b)

Mine is planting bishops weed or Jerusalem artichokes in my perinneal bed! Been pulling daily for 3 years now, uggghhh!!!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 8:34PM
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Someone mentioned under a black walnut tree as being a dumb place. I had heard all about that and put a garden under the one very large black walnut in our yard anyway. It has been quite successful for years: full of goatsbeard, siberian iris, daylilies, and astilbe. The tree is indeed a messy one dropping stuff all the time, losing its leaves way too early, but the dappled shade is lovely and the constant squirrel activity is fun to watch.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 8:47PM
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Dumbest Place to Plant Something?!? In my yard where I usually mow.....without telling me or some kind of marker.

Boy!! Did I get in trouble. I didn't see it, really.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 8:05PM
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littlesongbird18(z5 MO)

This has me grinning and nodding with dismay the whole way through. And all I can really say is just because I garden doesn't mean I can do houseplants. I can even kill healthy plants from outside once they set foot inside the house. However I'll go with letting the volunteer pumpkin plant go where it was in the new quasi flower bed.... I now have some lovely humongous pumpkin leaves and a few peeps of my hollyhocks and geraniums. Sage? There was sage in there? where? under this clump of mint or that one? *grins*

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 12:12AM
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woodside(6 IN)

Planting bareroot daylilies underneath hosta leaves and expecting them to grow.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 11:07AM
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This thread needs reviving!!! I was laughing all the way down.

When we moved in to our new house we had to tear nearly every plant out. Which was sad, because we didn't have that many on the lot to begin with. The worst were the Pygmy date palms under the eaves right up against the foundation. Looked great, but as they get 10' tall eventually it would have been a serious issue. Also, they were the perfect height to poke the eye out of anyone under 4' tall who happened to walk by.

My DH loves mint and keeps trying to plant it everywhere. He plants it and I dig it up. (Kind of like our voting... he votes, I go in behind him and cancel him out) He doesn't believe me that it will take over and be impossible to eradicate.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 12:22PM
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too funny!


    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 3:25PM
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Anything deciduous near the pool.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 11:55AM
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I don't know much about gardening but it was the last thing I would do when planting.The dumbest thing I have done in gardening were to over water my newly planted seeds.I guess experience makes you a better gardener.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 1:12AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Love this old thread and the tons of wisdom it contains! Although I've been "doing this" for 40 years, I have a couple...

As a transplanted Yankee, where Cannas must be stored out of ground for winter, I wasn't thinking it through when I put Cannas in flower beds. What do they do here? They are definitely perennial and creep, endlessly, until reaching an impenetrable border. A neighboring Gardenia or Jasmine - not an impenetrable border, I don't want to find out who would win such a battle, or watch such tangle happen. Am working on a new spot just for Cannas, where they will have a mowed-around border.

Bougainvillea in Z8. "They" say it's not hardy here, so I thought, what's the harm in trying? Well, it comes back, nice and spiky, but doesn't bloom. As it is planted at the base of one of the clothesline poles, I'm sure the now 4-year-old root system is massive, likely entwined with the concrete at the base of that pole (which it can't "climb" by itself.) No blooms, I don't put giant thorns in the compost. Total oops, a complete loss so far, unless you count occasional epidermal gouges as some kind of bonus, and the fact that last year, moonflower vine found Bougainvillea to be a fine vector for its' climb to the top of the pole, down the lines... (For those who might wonder, no, it didn't shade the Boug so much that THAT's what prevented any blooms...)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 10:33AM
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This is a picture of a fully grown Japanese maple the former homeowners planted right next to the front porch. When we bought the place, it completely covered the front of the house. People would not go to the front entrance - they would come to the side and knock on the garage door! Pruning it would not have done any good, so alas, it had to go. The former owners probably spent a decent chunk of change when they bought it, but then they completely destroyed its value by planting waaaaay too close to the house.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2014 at 3:46PM
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