I’m going to call my next book Why Bad Things Happen to Good Gardeners.***

The first chapter will be entitled “Sh*t Happens and Mother Nature is on Vacation.” It will be an indignant rant about how disease, pestilence, drought, flood and other natural disasters inevitably happen to every gardener sooner or later.

I will use my own experiences as examples. I will discuss how my tomatoes have fursarium wilt—for the second year in a row, despite rotating them to an entirely new location where tomatoes have never gone before. I will describe how a legion of leaf-footed bugs decimated my tomatillos and sweet autumn clematis last year and how I haven’t seen a single one this year. I will show photos of my monarda blooming with powdery mildew.

And let’s not forget the roses, otherwise known as black spot on a stick.


The title of the second chapter is currently up in the air, but I’m considering something such as “Plants Have Loved and Lost” or “Emergency Rooms I Have Seen, Courtesy of My Fiskars Pruners.”

*big sigh*

As I was watering for hours and hours today (see chapter on drought), I was wondering to myself, “What would I do if I didn’t garden?’

Being fairly obsessed with productivity and in love with checks in little boxes on a to-do list, I would probably do something useful. But what?

I’m not considering giving up gardening. This is more like an intellectual exercise I do when I get frustrated. What would you do?

***Why do I say “next book?” Because, yes, I am writing a book. To be precise, I’m co-authoring a book currently called Grocery Gardening. You’ll be hearing more about it in coming months, but you can reserve your copy now by ordering here.

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  • I keep singing the first line from Elvis Costello’s “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes,” “Oh I used to be disgusted, and now I try to be amused.” The Magnolia has scale again, the leaves blackened with sticky stuff, the air around it filled with wasps and hornets and I’m squishing Japanese Beetles all over the place. Welcome to July. Can you add in a chapter entitled “When the Power Company Tree Manglers Came”?
    I must say that your photo displays none of the woes currently plaguing your garden. It looks rather idyllic.

  • Layanee says:

    Can I get a signed copy when it comes out? You go girl!

  • Jean says:

    A book – sounds wonderful and I can’t wait to read it! You know we’ve all been there too. When I start complaining I think of the gardener I met in Botswana – he had to deal with elephants tromping through his garden. So it’s really not so bad, is it? 🙂

  • Kate says:

    Ohhh….death… when fickle Mother Nature kicks you in the gardening sore spot. I’m not trying to hock my blog by any means, but we do celebrate “Garden Blogger’s Death Day” once a month where we all bring out our dead and support each other like a well-staked garden trellis.


    Even with all the death, your garden still looks beautiful!

  • Cindy, MCOK says:

    Well, at least your monarda has blooms! I planted it months ago in my rose bed (the one with the split rail fence on the alleyway corner). It’s running quite happily through the bed but it shows no signs whatsoever of being inclined to bloom. It better get with the program or it’s history!

    What would I do if I didn’t garden? I might cook more often. Maybe. That’s a very strong maybe.

  • MNGarden says:

    From a distance the garden looks good.

  • So glad I ran into your website through a couple other blogs. Your home and garden look so lovely. I think my own back yard would fit within that picket fence! Visitors always say how great one’s garden looks but we all know what things are lurking…like icky black gunk on my honesuckle flowers.

  • rosemarie says:

    I hear you with the roses – I didn’t have any this year — all diseased. Why?

  • Rob says:

    Even though I’m a little late to the party, I saw what rosemarie did in July – no roses. 🙁
    .-= Rob´s last blog ..Pet Medical Supplies That Are Reliable & Affordable =-.