The panic sets in

aachenelf z5 MplsApril 26, 2013

You would think I would know better by now since I go through this every single year - and I do mean EVERY-SINGLE-YEAR - , but NO, here I go again.

Spring is very late this year, but it finally came today. Last week it was snowing and cold, but now we're headed towards the 70's for the weekend. I should be overjoyed at finally being able to get outside and do something, but I'm overwhelmed with what to do first and just how much there is to do and it will never all get done and everything has to be done YESTERDAY and blah, blah, blah. I'm panic stricken! I want the snow to come back, so I can go back to doing nothing.

In reality, I will get everything done, I have plenty of time, I will figure out a plan of action and accomplish everything in record time like I always do, but today I'm FRANTIC!

Am I the only one? I hope not 'cause then I'll have to admit I'm seriously disturbed or something. Not a good thing.

(I wish I drank. I'd be slugging down a bottle of Scotch right now)

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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

I tell you what, I'll come over and drink your scotch and let you know what you should do next. lol

Nope, never happened to me. I always get everything done...on time.

Aaach, I gotta run. I forgot to prune the roses, water the transplants, sift some compost and...


    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 5:56PM
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I'm in the same boat. It finally warmed up and there is so much to do and I started to stress out. Then I thought gardening is suppose to relaxing not giving me grey hair. My front and back yard look like crap, there are leaves everywhere, the grass needs to mow and so on. However, I am only one person and I can only do some much. I figure it will take me the whole growing season to get most of it done.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 6:13PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

my deadline is 11/1 ..

EVERYTHING that need be.. will get done ...


ps: that is not a typo... i truly dont understand the anal retentive gardener ... really now.. is someone going to yell at you .. if you dont do something ... i say.. wait.. what did you say .. lol ... you think that looks like a weed.. bend over closer... look closer ..... kick them in the butt and tell them to get the heck out of your garden and dont come back.. come on.. what stress ....

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 6:25PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Well, I don't so much get panicked, but I do get overwhelmed. I was thinking the same thing - I kind of wish it would get cold again so I would have an excuse to NOT go out there!

Contrary to what one would think, instead of biting at the bit to get gardening, I'm not motivated this year, and the late start has made me even less motivated as I think of everything that needs to be done.

But, since in the 15 years or so that I've been gardening my chores have NEVER gotten finished before the first snow fall, I don't sweat it too much.... especially after July, lol. By that point, the darn garden is going to do what it wants anyway, so I mellow out by then! And snow is wonderful for covering up those unfinished chores.

Hmm, perhaps that's why we panic/freak out/get overwhelmed - while the snow covers the chores and makes you feel better in the fall, when it melts, everything is still there, in worse shape than ever, just waiting for you....


    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 6:35PM
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I am definitely not an anal retentive gardener. I am WAY relaxed. But I still do feel this same kind of panic. Suddenly there seems to be so much to do! And not to do because it needs to look a certain way, just so much to do to take advantage of the weather in between freezing and sweltering. I think it has to to do feeling my age. I only have so many springs left to enjoy and I want to make the most of them. :) Well, that is part of it. The other part is that I have taken on quite a bit and most of the yard is quite ah, transitional. Now I see all the things I *should* have done to begin with. It is also a time to make all sorts of decisions, a skill I have yet to develop!

I am considering going to a prairie garden. Think the neighbors would mind me burning it every now and then?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 6:38PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Yep, gardening happens in fits and starts - days of enforced lassitude, followed by days of frantic haste....because so much of it is about timing. Who cares about weeds when the tomato seedlings are falling over....or the cucumbers need sowing. Then there is the watering - the bane of my life since my entire home garden is essentially a pot garden which requires daily watering (and nope, there is no irrigation system in the world capable of continual regulation of 200 pots of differing sizes and different plants). I have heard the words 'relaxation', 'meditation' and 'therapeutic' when referring to gardening....but not any gardening I know. Nope, it is a homicidal, stress filled activity with teeth-gnashing, murderous plot envy, competitive boasting, insomnia (and watering by night with a headlamp), vanishing friends and relatives (dead of boredom), starving pets (overtaken by needy plants), imminent divorce (or fleeing to TV sports)....and if it isn't, you just are not doing it right..(a bit like having children).

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 6:44AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Well, at least I know I'm not totally alone.

Basically, I am a pretty relaxed person and usually the small stuff doesn't bug me that much, but I think my annual, feelings of panic have something to do with that transition from winter-in-my-head gardening where everything is perfect and stress free to the reality of spring where you actually have to do all this stuff. And NO, I could care less about what other people think. I don't garden that way. My garden is for me. If others want to take a look, no problem, but I don't actively invite people in.

I know everything will fall into place, I just have to figure out a place to start. Once that is done and I actually accomplish something I'll feel a bit better. Right now the plan is to get my raised bed, veggie garden ready to plant, get the pond drained and cleaned and maybe start on the bed clean-up. I really regret not doing that last fall like I usually do, but can't do anything about that now.

There is some hope for next week. A major cold front is coming back, so we'll be back in the 40's. Heck, it will be too cold to be out there working - a very valid excuse not to do anything.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 9:18AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

I'm always over-extended, I have too much on my plate to spend time in the garden yet I want to spend time out there. So things gets put off and put off and put off until I need to do it RIGHT NOW (example: I *will* get my roses pruned today!). I don't get frantic but I do get agitated when things aren't cleaned up and necessary chores aren't done.

I have relaxed a lot about it in recent years, I just prioritize - what needs to get done ASAP, what can wait a bit, what can wait a longer while. Just like the office. I always seem to be running late or behind with things, though. I have sucky time management skills - I think that's what probably agitates me more than anything and definitely can cause me grief at times...

But, one of the great things about perennial gardening is that for the most part stuff will come up and grow and look great whether I do much or not. My issue is I like things neat and tidy (weeds, debris, messy patios, etc drive me nuts), not so much that things need planting.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 3:36PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

Ha, ha, ha! You took the words right out of my mouth Kevin! I am also overwhelmed by all the things that need done! Like I am already exhausted today from everything else I had to do and now I realized I have to go back out and mow the lawn too! Phew! My back already aches! :(
Gotta love it! lol

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 6:30PM
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molie(z6 CT)

It's the late spring warmup that's driving me up the edge of stress and down the other side to panic. I have always used April as the month for the "big" garden jobs, but this year the warmth never came until this week. And May is right around the corner! Isn't that the time to put in annuals? But wait --- I haven't even raked up the fall leaves or weeded or checked to see what needs to be cut back!

So yes, I'm in panic mode. However--- not a scotch drinker--- I use wine. Wine --- on the deck --- overlooking my gardens. Hmmmm --- are those weeds or emerging perennials? I need new glasses.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 7:34PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Yes I was overwhelmed when I started Spring cleanup, about 3 weeks ago. I am always amazed at how much work it is to clean up the gardens! You would think by now I would know what to expect, but duh it always hits me upside the head. Add pruning, transplanting, weeding, edging, mulching, clearing invasives, etc and Spring time is a LOT of work!

Take it one day at a time - get an hour or two or more done each day if you can. Before you know it it's getting done. And you will be pleased with your progress as the garden spring into life!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 8:13PM
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I'm with ya. The prior owners of this house used to toss all of their brush and debris into a giant heap at the edge of the grass, where there used to be flower beds. So irritating having to spend all this time dealing with the junk. I want to plant and prune and whatnot.... Not heave piles of rotten wood and thorns. Maybe next year will be more fun.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 5:40PM
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This thread reminds me of the benefit of not living in a year-round gardening climate, where there would constantly be some chore nagging at me to finish.

I enjoy peace in the winter in my fluorescent light garden in the basement.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 8:59PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

When the first warm weather shows up, which is usually a false spring!, I start making myself to one thing a night. Pull a few weeds, trim back some old stems, just something every night. It helps. I never get fall chores done. I'm so over gardening by fall, I just leave it spring nearly always brings a lot of work!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 3:32PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I would never want to live in a year-round gardening climate either. When I was into the light gardening thing, it was probably my favorite part of winter. But then the panic really set in come spring and I had to figure out a place for the hundreds of seedlings. Talk about stress!

OK, I made major progress over the weekend and everything I planned to do got done and even some extra stuff.

Don't you hate it though when you have a plan of action and everything is going fine and then it hits you - you suddenly realize some bed or something is all totally wrong and needs major renovation immediately? It simply can not stay the way it is for a second longer. Suddenly your work expands by about 20 fold, but you have to do it or it will bug you until eternity.

That was my weekend.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 4:10PM
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There is nothing like life's lessons to put things in perspective. When I was younger I was in a panic, Overwhelmed by things to do and determined to keep things perfect. Of course there is no such thing as perfect in gardening.

Then I had an accident and was forced to take things easier. You know what I got just as many compliments on my garden.

Now I'm old and am again forced to take things slowly. I still work in my garden--I can't imagine life without flowers and veggie gardening. It is one of the joys of my life. However I do a couple of hours work a day with lots of breaks and what doesn't get done can wait.

There is no panic. There is only enjoyment and peace and the love of sinking my hands into warm soil. The surprise when something you thought was dead shows up and the delight of watching seedlings emerge from the soil. Of course there are the disappointments and frustrations but it is all worth it.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 7:37PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Gardening is a fascinating hobby. It's certainly never boring. I have never once gotten everything done that needed doing, let alone everything I wanted to do, in any one season. (g) I have to remind myself that a garden is a living thing. Spring is my favorite time of year though. I have been in a great mood for a couple of weeks now. Especially with this perfect weather. 70s during the day and cooling off at night. Perfect! And in the garden, everything looks fresh and new, before the dry hot months ahead. But you do need to at least get last year’s debris out of the beds before you can appreciate it!

I do periodically feel frustrated that I can’t do everything it would require to make the garden look as perfect as I want it to, but I love gardening too much to let that be the overriding feeling. Some years have been better than others. I remember one particular year, that for the first and only time I was actually unhappy with the garden and not motivated to get out there. I took a different strategy after that. I started concentrating on making just one area perfect at a time. And I was just thinking the other day, that I am having more success than I did before.

I started with a small 4 ft by 25 ft alley between my house and garage. We pulled everything out of it, planted shade plants all at once and laid down landscape fabric and mulch in a foot wide path down the length of it. That was in 2007 and since that time, I’ve added a little mulch in the spring maybe every other year and cleaned up plant debris every spring and aside from watering it, that’s it. It always looks nice. And it is filling in. Moss has developed in places that adds a nice touch. I added three ‘Sky Pencil’ Hollies at some point and I’m pretty happy with that area. This year, it needs a lot more mulch, which is waiting in the driveway to get done.

So, each season, I focus on one area that is the priority for that season and try to create a finished product that is as low maintenance as I can get it. Choosing a manageable size area is the key. This way, when I look at all the areas that still need work and feel frustrated, I can go grab a chair and park myself in front of the area that is finished, to remind myself I am making progress.

This year’s weather pattern did not allow for getting out there in March when I usually get a lot done, so we have been in ‘catch up’ mode. We needed mulch badly in a large sitting area and around the veggie beds and that was the first job we did. I never ordered mulch so early because I am usually cleaning out the beds first. That job got done and I’m amazed how much more satisfied I am with how the yard looks with just that one job done. Then the next priority was the front yard that everyone has to look at. Had to work on that a little bit daily and two weekends in a row and I still have a few things left to do, but once that clean up is done, nothing more than watering will be needed all season. The rest of the back, has to be done before it’s too hot to do it. Very happy for sunny dry weather to get out there every day.

Agree Eric, I would not survive in a year round gardening climate.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 4:16AM
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Not quite panic, but I'll experience some angst if the 15 or so pots and tubs of Brugmansia I lugged up from the basement and placed outside need to be dragged back in again in the event of impending frost.

Someone described growing lots of container Brugmansias as having a herd of elephants in the garden. I can relate to that.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 12:39PM
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terrene(5b MA)

"herd of elephants" LOL You must love your Brugsmansia, to lug big containers around!

I would love to garden in a year round climate. I like to do gardening-related things year round. Seed harvesting and winter-sowing and house plants carry me over from fall to spring cuz this is definitely not a year round gardening climate! :-P

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 7:15PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Oh yes, the Brugmansia thing, which is why I'm down to 1 plant and will stay at 1 plant.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 9:38AM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Not panic but I do feel the time pressure. So much of gardening is time sensitive.
Number one in spring, get the winter mulch off the plants before they start to mold or die or come up weirdly bent. Not too early and not too late. Got it all done before today's rain and snow.
Number two, cut back old foliage on plants without walking on soft garden soil or new growth. Most off my plants were cut back last fall but a few we're left for winter interest or protection. I cut grasses back a few weeks ago but noticed yesterday that I forgot one. Done.
Number three, get seeds sown.
And then there is dividing, transplanting, adding compost, mulching, and revurbishing beds. On and on, so much to do, so little time.
This year I am removing many of my perennials to make room for my clematis collection and to cut back on summer maintenance so we can travel more. A life beyond intensive gardening, who'd of thought.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 12:34PM
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eclecticcottage(6b wny)

I imagine in a few years it will be different, but I'm in the same spot again this year with ya! This is only spring #2 at this house. Last year we created the main bed, a hosta bed and cleaned up two sort of existing beds as well as two hedge rows from bare root starts (butterfly bush and juneberry) and some blueberries. This year, it was two more beds by a picket fence, another hedge row, 8 fruit trees, gotta move the hostas thanks to the tree killers (er, utility line workers) that determined two trees NOT TOUCHING the lines needed to go away leaving them in full sun (which means making ANOTHER new bed and then doing SOMETHING with the stumps and the newly full sun bed), AND we want to start a veggie garden too, which means complete prep and rabbit fencing. Also...we heat with wood, so we've got a bunch of rounds to split and stack...and wood racks to build, which I also plant to train grapes on (lattice up the sides with it between them above) in one place and honeysuckle in another. I need to win the lotto so I at least have some semblance of time to do these things rather than being at work! At least the existing beds are planted/seeded (which means nightly manical running about to get water on them all so the seeds can get going). And that's jsut the garden work...not including the shed we want to build, finishing work on our old house that we're going to be renting, painting this house...arg.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 4:41PM
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Wow eclecticcottage, I got exhausted just reading that.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 5:12PM
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I take a small 8 foot section and focus on that. If I look at the whole garden, it's overwhelming. One section at a time gives me a sense of relaxation. Also, I only do what I feel like doing, not what I have to do. I let it flow...doesn't have to be perfect all at once.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 12:28PM
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I take a small 8 foot section and focus on that. If I look at the whole garden, it's overwhelming. One section at a time gives me a sense of relaxation. Also, I only do what I feel like doing, not what I have to do. I let it flow...doesn't have to be perfect all at once.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 12:29PM
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We are really good about fall cleanup and even go outside on decent winter days so when spring rolls around we're in great shape. STILL, when everything starts happening all at once I panic and if something happens to take me away from my tasks I totally resent it. I had unexpected company all day today and I was seething thinking of everything I could have accomplished. I don't think this is good:)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 8:55PM
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And I actually thought I was the only one looking at an acre of weeds, dozens of daylilies that need dividing but I don't know where I'm going to plant them anyway as I'll have to grub out brush to find a place for them,perennials that I'm not certain when and how to divide and propagate, dead and live trees to take down without killing myself (two years in a row some old fool over seventy cut a tree down on himself and died around here--and I am looking at thirty foot black cherry trees and an eighteen inch thick Norway Spruce that I want gone), sumac, Japanese honeysuckle,poison ivy, wild black berries, poke berries, box elder and endless square feet of garlic mustard, rows of overgrown seedling daylilies that I planted in Autumns clear back to 2009 and before and now are too crowded to bloom---------I am exausted just looking at it and figure at 76 mayhap I should quit and move to an apartment where I suspect the old lady would be happier with her books and old movies anyway. Whew!! So I just wander out there in my bare feet and enjoy the stuff blooming among the weeds and sit on my woods path and watch the birds, the Pileated Woodpeckers are tearing a log apart and the Stylophorum is blooming and the woods are beautiful--what the hell-----------------------------------------------------Weedy

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 11:55PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

So, I started this thread on April 26 and now everything is done. Everything is cleaned up, all the plants I wanted to move have been moved, the hedge is planted, the new plants have all arrived and are in their place, the garden areas in need of renovation are done, there haven't been any weeds to mention.

Now, what do I do with the rest of the summer? I'm bored.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 6:45AM
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That's an easy one Kevin--you've got time now to design, dig, plant & mulch a new bed.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 7:27AM
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jayco(5b NY)

Kevin, you are more than welcome to come to my house and knock yourself out on my gardens, since I am not done! I promise you won't be bored. ;)

Love this thread. Makes me feel much better knowing I am not the only one easily overwhelmed. Love the idea of just focusing on one area at a time -- that's my problem, too many areas!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 9:29AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

gardenweed - Nope, no more beds. I've actually been eliminating areas I just don't enjoying working in or areas that are too difficult to take care of. I want to concentrate on the high performance beds and make them as perfect (HA!) as possible.

jayco - I think that's the key to tackling all this work. Just focus on one thing or area, get it done and move on to the next. Eventually it all works out.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 9:40AM
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Campanula UK Z8

well hey - just time to sow biennials.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 9:49AM
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Now, what do I do with the rest of the summer? I'm bored.

And that will be me (too) soon. I am impatient regarding getting things done asap (concerning all things gardening) and then there is too much 'free' time in July and August.
"idle hands make the devil's work" in my garden as I start to mess with things that don't need messing with!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 9:51AM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Wow. I have never, ever been at that stage. Good for you!

I think the thing to do is to photograph your garden to enjoy all your hard work, then relax in your perfectly-positioned deck chair and enjoy all that you have worked hard to create!

Do you cut flowers for bouquets? That is another fun pastime once the gardens are moving along.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 10:27AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

"...So, I started this thread on April 26 and now everything is done..."

What the...? What do you mean, YOU'RE DONE?? I am NEVER done. Ever. No matter how hard I try. In fall there are always spring chores I haven't gotten to and in spring there are always last fall's chores that weren't done.

I'm with jayco, Kevin. You are very welcome to come to my garden to do some work and ease your boredom, lol!

Weedy, great post! I'm younger than you but have the exact same sentiments. You nailed it right on the head, that sense of looking out and seeing what needs to be done. Sometimes we do just have to look past the weeds to the blooms and enjoy them!


    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 9:32PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I do not panic about the gardens. My gardens are my relaxing job. It is the house work that overwhelms me.

I even enjoy pulling Creeping Charlie out of the lawn.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 12:52AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Seriously - I am done with all the big stuff, but like rouge now comes the season for tweaking and routine maintenance. I guess that kind of work never ends, but it I find it much more relaxing and not so chaotic. You know - I don't think about it while trying to go to sleep like the other stuff.

I did move a phlox division today. I planted it a couple of weeks ago, but decided it would look better a couple of feet to the right. Time for a break. I'm exhausted.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 4:30PM
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