I think I’m a reasonably competent gardener.

I’ve been gardening for over 25 years now, and for 20 of those years I’ve been earning my living in nurseries and gardens. In the early days I was confident about my knowledge; now I’ve come to be at peace with the vastness of things I will never know.

Edible plants and orchids are weak areas for me. I know a bit about them but I’m much more confident with ornamental plants.


Over the years I have killed an enormous number of plants.

What kills agapanthus? Well apparently I do…

We’re talking hundreds, maybe thousands, of plants. I can’t begin to think how much money this has cost me.

Not all of these losses were purely my fault. Some of the plants weren’t as frost tolerant as suggested, or weren’t tough enough to take the conditions I was working with.

Yet I must face up to the fact that a lot of plants died through neglect, including those that died in their pots after I’d made an impulse purchase and couldn’t work out where to plant them. Plenty of plants died because I didn’t water them enough or watered them too much. I could plausibly say that in my earlier days I didn’t understand the nuance of watering, but even now I still lose the occasional plant to neglect or under-watering.

Some carnivorous plants can be as challenging as they are enticing

Other plants have been victims of changing circumstances over the years, leaving one place for another and even not having a garden at all.

Too Optimistic

I see a new plant that appeals to me and makes me happy. I buy it and enter into an unspoken promise to the plant that I will plant it and nurture it; in return the plant will thrive for me.

Fairly sure something else killed my pink campanula

But how much space do I have in my garden? I can fit the plant in now but will it have room to grow? Will it be overwhelmed by its neighbours?

I should be more cautious when I’m choosing plants, but buying new plants makes me happy. I have no other vices, and there are worse ways to spend my money.

Must Do Better

I need to stop buying new plants unless I’ve got a specific space in mind.

Who am I kidding? I’m not going to do this! Finding a nice new plant makes me happy, and little else does these days.

I mustn’t be too hard on myself.

Symplocarpus foetidus should be easy to grow, but not here…

Every plant I’ve bought with good intentions has given me a greater insight into the plant world. I am an obsessive plant nerd and love to learn about plants. When I fall in love with my victims, new plants, I’m building up my knowledge and understanding.

I still feel guilty. Maybe I’m too soppy and sentimental to be a gardener and shouldn’t care so much about plants. My plants don’t care about me, and yet they mean so much to me.

I can’t grow Verbena bonariensis… but this is a plant I don’t really care about

I really should stick to the plants that I’ve already got.

But we all know I’m not going to.