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 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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?”

  5. 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™‚

  6. 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!

  7. 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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