The Distracted Gardener Strikes Again

When I’m gardening, I like to think about the garden. Or better yet, think about nothing at all, just soak in the ambiance. This doesn’t always happen, though.

Sometimes when I am gardening I’m absorbed with thoughts of other stuff, especially work stuff. Frequently this involves reenacting conversations that could have gone better, with me playing the role of all participants (a sort of one man show).


These reenacted conversations usually have much better outcomes than the real ones did. The downside is that they interfere with the gardening tasks I am attempting to complete.

Two recent examples. You may remember that I ordered two seed packets for planting this fall: Partridge Pea (Chamecrista fasciculata, formerly Cassia fasciculata) and False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica). So the Partridge Pea was supposed to go on the Parkway Bed, while the False Nettle was supposed to be spread in a few out of the way corners.

While in a highly distracted state, I took both seed packets out and spread them both over the Parkway Bed. I realized what I had done just after I actually did it. And undoing it is not an option: the False Nettle seeds are like tiny dust specks – 208,000 to the ounce.

But wait, there’s more. This past Sunday I was planting some ‘Casa Blanca’ Oriental Lilies. Now I know from experience that Oriental Lilies should be planted about 5″ deep and 12″ apart. In a highly distracted state, though, I planted my bulbs 12″ deep and 5″ apart.

I was able to replant the bulbs, but it wasn’t easy to locate and move them without doing any damage.

As for the False Nettle – I ordered another seed packet. The ones that come up in the Parkway Bed will be pulled or transplanted. Maybe I’ll let a couple few stay where they are.

Have you committed any acts of distracted gardening lately?

50 Comments on “The Distracted Gardener Strikes Again

  1. I think you are a busy guy, and it is understandable. I know when spring comes and the seeds start sprouting, you will have yourself a chuckle. I don’t think there is a gardener out there who hasn’t moved plants into the wrong spot. πŸ™‚

  2. Very funny, glad I’m not the only one who re-enacts conversations, or who plants absentmindedly …but all part of the rich tapestry of life…. Good luck with the plants.

  3. I do often go out with one important chore on my mind and return to the house with something else accomplished yet the much needed chore undone. This post made me giggle. It happens all too often.

  4. I do identify, sometimes going out to the garden with my mind on one task and end up doing something else entirely!
    I grew up with stinging nettles in the hedgerows and learned about the soothing properties of nearby dock at a young age. Your false nettles do not have the “sting” it seems.

    • Hope your tulips are beautiful in the spring. Finding spots for them among other plants is a challenge, which is one reason why I like to use containers.

  5. I’m getting worse as I’m getting older! I have to write my jobs down as a list otherwise they would just get forgotten. I think your bulbs would have found their own level, they’re very good at doing that if not planted at the correct depth.

  6. I can’t remember doing any ‘distracted gardening’. Then again, sometimes I have trouble remembering what I just did, so perhaps it happened.

  7. Golly, that happens to me all the time and not just in the garden. I’ve been know to put the milk in the pantry instead of the fridge. It is a sign that we are way too busy and need to slow down. Yup, better said than done, I know.

    • Milk in the pantry. That sounds familiar. If it were me I would put it in the pantry and two minutes later stop whatever I was doing in order to ask myself where on earth I put the milk.

  8. My garden errors are usually delusional in nature. Of course that shade-loving plant will do well in full sun! Of course there is room for three (not one) shrubs there! It’s not too early for tomatoes! I can keep that mint under control! You get the idea.

  9. Oh my, I never do anything like (oh look something shiny) what were we talking about? So then she said, (where did those bulbs go; they were just in my hand?) and I couldn’t think of a response. Why am I outside? When did those start blooming? The Donald grabbed who where? That’s it something seedy, supposed to plant (why did the neighbor think that would be an okay color to paint her fence? What month is it? No, Jason, it’s just you and you should consult a doct…is that a scarlet tanager?

  10. The garden is the last place I get distracted, except to forget where I put that darn trowel again!

    • Ah, yes. I think there are probably three or four trowels hidden in various parts of the garden. Sometimes I find them during spring cleanup.

  11. Don’t know what happened last year when I planted cabbage seeds in with the parsnip seeds, but I was definitely distracted. I also lose tools from time to time due to distraction, but I recently taught my dog to find the trowel so I’m a little ahead in the game of…”now where did I put that down?”

  12. Ha, ha…I did that this summer with the kohlrabi. I had 2 varieties – one that should be spaced 12″ apart and the other 6″ apart. So I transplanted the seedlings for the 1st one…but ran out of seedlings before I had filled the allotted spot. So I’m sitting there, scratching my head, when I realized I had messed up and planted them at 1/2 the spacing they should have been. Unlike you, I couldn’t be bothered to dig them up and replant them so I just left them and decided that I would start some more seeds to fill up the leftover space & plant those out at the proper distance. Then I moved on to the next variety and, wouldn’t you know it, I did the EXACT same thing & planted them out at 3″ instead of 6″ spacing! Duh! Luckily, when it comes to veg, the “mistakes” are gobbled up within a couple of months and you get to start over πŸ™‚

  13. I do distracted things in the garden all the damn time! I’m such a klutz I’m forever whacking plants in half by accident and will spend 15 minutes digging a hole just to decide to relocate it 6 inches to the side as soon as I’m done.

  14. I was cutting back some native sedges while seeding daikon radish as a cover crop experiment and accidentally cut back a young prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) by mistake.


  15. Hello Jason, I’m glad it’s not just me! While I also do scenario replays in my head, when I’m gardening I’m just absorbed with the plants and thinking about all parts of the garden other than the part I’m actually working on. Most of the “gardening” time is spent trying to remember and find where I left that darned trowel!

    • Yes, I have the same problem with lost trowels, Sunil. I usually find at least one or two when I do spring cleanup. By the way, Sunil, I notice my comments aren’t getting posted on your blog. Is it possible I’m getting sent to the spam folder?

  16. I roared with laughter at this post. Oh, boy, can I relate! I haven’t had much time in my garden of late because I’ve been busy with my gallery. Last Saturday my son came to spirit me away for an afternoon of goofing off, so I sailed out the (carefully locked) door. And THEN checked my pocket. Which of course was empty of keys. My friend has a spare but not to the building, which requires a special key I couldn’t duplicate for her. In the past I have been surprised by the result of absent-mindedness the following season. Now why did I plant that there?

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