Have you ever mistakenly cut off more of a plant than you meant to, or forgotten to water something and discovered it a shrivelled up victim of your forgetfulness? Have you ever been a blameless bystander as the fates, the weather, your pets or your neighbours seemingly conspired to undo your hard work in the garden?
Just over two years ago a strong wind blew the roof off our children's play house on the patio at the far end of the garden. This had happened before but on this occasion one part of the roof was sent flying several metres across the garden, landing on our Acer palmatum "Chitoseyama", which we bought about 9 years previously. It had spent most of that time in a pot on the patio looking extremely graceful with its flatly arching branches and bright red autumn foliage. Only recently had I found the perfect place for it to reach its full potential, leaning over a dry stream, to one side of a stone bridge, providing an authentic oriental element to a small Japanese style area.
Now it was sheared off completely just a couple of inches above the ground, so there was no question of it being saved. This left me much more upset than I would have expected, since it should be straightforward to buy another that will do exactly the same thing. It's surprising how emotionally attached it is possible to get to plants, which after all are inanimate objects, usually easily replaceable and unable to communicate with us in any normal sense.
I think it was the sense of a carefully thought out plan being scuppered that was distressing. I wasn't especially attached to that particular Acer, despite having nurtured it for almost a decade. But I was firmly attached to the vision it helped to realise, and the atmosphere it helped create. The feeling of having that vision spoilt really hurt.
But as you can see from the picture, two years on we have realised the same vision, with a new Acer gently arching across the stream, lending its oriental grace to that part of the garden, and adding colourful foliage opposite the dwarf Azalea on the other side.
So if you have a garden disaster, don't worry! Just try again, or try something different, but don't quit!
If your garden disaster has already happened, tell us all about it. What happened? How did you deal with it? Share your stories please, using the comments link below this post.