12 mistakes novice summer residents
Our own cottage appeared with us when I already had serious experience in growing vegetables and ornamental plants on the site of my parents. However, this did not save me from the many mistakes that I made while cultivating my garden. The circumstances were such that we were forced to sell our first cottage and move to a new site. Before starting to host in the new garden, I would like to analyze my past summer cottage mistakes. I hope that my experience will be useful to the readers of Botanychka, as it’s good to learn from the mistakes of others.
1. The choice of cottages in winter
The very first mistake was made when buying our first summer cottage. With the approach of spring, we started a “planting itch,” as gardeners say, we wanted to buy our own cottage as soon as possible. In February, we toured several sites, among which we liked only one. And already in March they became owners of their own summer cottages.
Of course, during this period, snow still lay on the site, which prevented an objective assessment of all the advantages and disadvantages of this country house. For example, of the seven currant bushes that so delighted me upon examination, half turned out to be old and no longer fruit bearing specimens, and the other half were dead bushes. Thus, we did not just have to buy new seedlings, but also spend time clearing the old berry.
In addition to the peculiarities of vegetation, snow can hide many other unpleasant surprises. It often even happens that the owners of a heavily overgrown area mow the entire shoot with a trimmer and numerous stumps are completely invisible under the snow. And in the spring, the new owner receives a plot full of cherry and plum, which is extremely difficult to get rid of.
2. The choice of the "bare" site
A site without large trees and shrubs may seem to many to be a plus - after all, this allows you to independently plan the design without cutting down old copies and recycling branches. In addition, it gives a lot of space for planting light-loving crops.
But still an empty site is far from always a virtue. And the point is not so much that your life goes on in such areas in front of the eyes of your neighbors, and in windy weather the winds walk harder there. The absence of woody vegetation is often due to more serious reasons than the hostility of the former owners to the trees.
There are no trees in new (freshly cut) plots - this is quite logical, but in the dachas of partnerships that were created more than 30 years ago, sparse vegetation should alert. In our case, a minimum of trees turned out to be a consequence of the proximity of groundwater and regular spring flooding. As a result, we had to make a lot of efforts to find breeds suitable for such conditions.
But in the country house of relatives, fruit trees hardly grow due to the fact that the soil is too sandy.
About how we saved the plants in our cottage from spring flooding, read the article Spring flooding of the site - how to save plants?
3. Landing without a plan
Having barely bought a new summer cottage, I want to run to the nursery and buy everything there that my eyes will fall on. But only afterwards you have to run around the site not a single day and think about where to plant your purchases? Sometimes we never find a worthy place for new plants and plant on the principle of "let it be here."
In addition, our plans often change. We understand that in the place of the flower garden it would be better to make a pond, and there that Christmas tree interferes with the path. Some of the plants bought for our summer cottage were more fortunate, and I transplanted them only once. But there are also poor fellows who were transferred from place to place from 3 to 5 times.
And if many perennials take it relatively painlessly, then with each tree transplant, you, in fact, take a whole year of life. The forces that they allow for the adaptation and restoration of damaged roots could go to the growth and development of the tree.
Therefore, for starters, it’s better to plan the site and completely complete the arrangement of the main design elements (flower beds, paths, pond, etc.). And only after that go to buy plants. Moreover - preferably with a ready-made list in hand.
4. Planting conifers too close to each other and close to buildings
The main difficulty that a novice gardener faces is prediction difficulties. What will a seedling look like in adulthood? Theoretically, we know that this tree will become five-meter, but it is often difficult for us to imagine how much it will take up in the end.
This is especially true of conifers, which do not grow quickly and are often sold completely in crumbs. Due to such a deceptive appearance, compact conifers very often plant close to each other or to other plants. Subsequently, all participants in such plantations begin to suffer and lose their appearance. The only thing that can save the situation is a regular and fairly strong haircut. After all, transplanting conifers in adulthood is a very risky business.
Therefore, so that young seedlings do not get lost in the first years during remote planting, they can choose annuals or perennials that can easily transfer the transplant to their companions.
The miniature size, as well as the desire “so that the Christmas tree looked out the window” (as I had), leads to the fact that conifers land close to the wall of the house. As a result, the part of the crown facing the house lacks light and looks oppressed, and the dampness that forms as a result of the branches adjoining the wall tightly is neither useful to the building, nor to the tree.
Under the windows it is better to plant compositions of dwarf species, which, when growing up, do not close up with the wall. And when growing large trees, the diameter of the crown in adulthood must be taken into account, plus one or two meters in reserve.
5. Purchase of large-sized
In order for the plants to grow, to enter into force, and to adequately adorn the landscape, time is needed. But with the funds, you can purchase adult specimens in the prime of life in a container or with a lump of land (using special technology). But such an offer is not cheap.
Trying that my garden would quickly become finished, I also preferred adult seedlings. But since my budget was limited, most often I bought plants with bare roots in the market (fruit and decorative deciduous trees and shrubs) or from collectors who dug conifers by hand without special equipment.
Large-sized after a similar, not too sparing transplant, require very careful care. In particular, we covered the arborvitae with burlap for the first three years of winter so that they would not get burned. As a result, it often turned out that seedlings, bought with absolutely crumbs, almost caught up with larger brothers, who spent much more time on adaptation.
6. Planting plants in turf
This ridiculous mistake I not only made on my own, but I continue to observe it among beginner summer residents. And this is understandable - the flowers are ready for planting and I would like to do it more beautifully, and careful preparation of the soil is not fast and time-consuming. As a result, mediocre weeding is carried out, leaving most of the roots of perennial weeds in the ground.
In the future, it becomes more difficult to deal with weeds, and the flower garden cannot have a neat appearance. Therefore, for myself, I decided to put off the rush so as not to complicate my life in the future.
If there is no physical opportunity to dig a place under the flowerbed and carefully select all the rhizomes manually, then this corner of the garden can be covered with a dense mulch for one season (for example, from cardboard), and then most of the weeds will die on their own. There is a chemical way to remove unwanted vegetation, but do not forget that herbicides are extremely harmful to soil microorganisms.
7. Flower beds without restriction
Professional designers pay very much attention to the bounding edge of flower beds. But summer cottagers, as a rule, do not pay attention to this. As a result, over time, the surrounding vegetation begins to invade the flower garden more and more, especially if the flower bed borders the lawn.
Today on sale you can find a wide selection of border tapes. At the same time, not only the appearance is important, but also the material from which the product is made. In particular, if you plan to trim the flower garden with a trimmer, be sure to choose a tape that is resistant to such damage, which will necessarily be indicated on the package.
8. Planting of ornamental plants on the principle of “more and more”
Beginning summer residents usually have enough unallocated space, which I really want to fill with plants as quickly as possible. And then neighbors come to the rescue, who gladly share the roots. Usually, simple perennials that require a minimum of care are given as a gift.
But the wishes of gardeners are inexhaustible, and every year we bring something new to the garden. As a result, there is less and less space, and the donated “old men” will inevitably lose to the novelties of selection.
Moreover, unpretentious flowers are often aggressive and are actively sown and spread by roots. Subsequently, they inevitably have to be evicted over the fence or sent to compost altogether.
To avoid this, it is better to immediately realize that filling the entire plot in one year is very difficult, and not at all necessary.
Read about the rules for planning a plot in our material First steps after purchasing a land plot.
9. When a plant determines a place, and not vice versa
At first, the main driving force when buying plants was the desire to certainly become the owner of a particular bush or flower. As a result, I lost a lot of plants - they could not settle in the place chosen for them (without taking into account the requirements for living conditions).
Most often, it was a banal planting of light-loving in the shade, because in the sun the empty seat was over, and, on the contrary, the landing of shade-tolerant in the sun. With experience, I came to understand that a plant is not a lifeless interior item. And such a practice will not lead to anything good.
Now, if a place is vacated on my site, I first look at the conditions (sun or shadow), and then - at the environment. And already on the basis of these data I select a flower that will like the conditions and at the same time it will fit as much as possible into the design of this corner of the garden.
At the same time, I try to buy several plants of the same variety whenever possible, since most flowers and ornamental shrubs look best in a group.
10. Planting valuable plants near the neighbor’s fence
Even if your neighbors are friendly and kind people, it is very difficult to predict how your relationship will develop over the years that you will share the common fence. In the beginning, our new neighbors made the most pleasant impression on us. And no one could have thought that, smiling at us on weekends, these same people on weekdays (in our absence) methodically destroyed all fruit and ornamental trees and shrubs, at least some of which joined the fence on their part.
The reason was commonplace - our plants allegedly overshadowed their potato beds. Of course, there are norms of indentation when planting plants near the fence, according to which we planted seedlings, but this was not enough for the neighbors. Subsequently, when the scandal broke out, the neighbors demanded that all trees and shrubs be planted strictly on the other side of the plot (closer to another neighboring cottage).
It is very disappointing to recall how many interesting cultures and valuable varieties were destroyed by unprincipled neighbors. But the creature’s plants are vulnerable, it was poured with boiling water, sprinkled with a herbicide and remember what they called ...
How we protected ourselves from unpleasant neighborly attention, read the article Multifunctional support for plants, or How to effectively hide from neighbors.
11. The absence of labels with the inscription grade
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of maintaining information on varietal affiliation of crops. Almost every year we test new varieties of vegetable and fruit crops in our areas, without fail putting a mark on their varietal affiliation. Unfortunately, in my case, there were often offensive situations when a bright marker on the plates completely burned out by the middle of summer, and I could not find out which variety was bearing fruit.
As it turned out, even if the marker is waterproof, this does not guarantee the high quality of the marks. At my dacha, I used many markers from various manufacturers, and the inscriptions of some were erased in a matter of weeks, while others could not be removed even with acetone.
It was burned several times on markers and began to give preference to the most ordinary simple pencils of a soft type, with which I always write on plastic garden labels.
12. Flower beds under fruit
This mistake is often made by summer residents, on whose plots there are many tall fruit trees. Often this is done not so much out of ignorance as from lack of space. There is practically nowhere to plant flowers, or you want to break the shadow flower beds, and there is simply no other shadow, except from adult fruit trees.
I made this mistake many times, and each time I regretted such a decision. I broke my first shadow flower garden with my parents in the country under an old apple tree. As a result, the ripe fruit bombardment once every two years turned my flower garden into a battlefield, and it seriously lost its decorative effect.
The second time I broke a flower garden under a plum tree, but when my relatives harvested, I unintentionally trampled and broke plants. The third flower garden was broken in my own summer house under the cherry, but there were some excesses here, since the cherry shoot required constant removal and complicated care.
Based on this unpleasant experience, I made a firm decision: the orchard is only separate from the flowers!
Dear readers! Despite many mistakes, today our first cottage is a well-groomed fragrant plot, so unlike the one he got to us from the old owners. When they ask me if I regret buying a summer house, which I had to sell just five years after the acquisition, I reply that I am not sorry - she gave me invaluable experience. I’m sure my new garden will be even better, because we will create it taking into account past oversights.