5 Lessons from my Garden this Year

Small camel planter with coleus.

At the end of April, I published “Growing a Garden Post.” There I showed several plantings and planned to update the post as things grew. Now that fall is nearing, I thought I’d give an update on my plantings by posting 5 lessons I have learned.

I probably should preface this by saying I wasn’t the best with regular watering or fertilizing. As a bit of an excuse, we were gone in our travel trailer 25 nights from the time everything was planted (end of April) until now.

1. Pruning is a Priority.

The Superbells did not do so super. Once in a Master Gardener class, our instructor said you had to cut back petunias; otherwise, they would grow spindly. Our instructor was right. While Superbells are a different species than petunias, in this way, they are the same. I only pruned them once. You can see what happened. Next year, I plan to plant petunias, and as painful as it is when they are just getting started, I will follow through with the pruning protocol. Promise.

Sponge rock planter with Superbells planted.
4/21/2020 when planted

2. Don’t take on too much.

I planted basil, lemon thyme and spearmint. I had big plans to harvest the basil, make spearmint oil to use as a mouse repellent in the camper, and research something to do with the lemon thyme. It was too much. I believe the basil is so yellow because of all the rain we’ve had, and I don’t plan to harvest it. I have cancelled my plans for the spearmint and lemon thyme because they did not cooperate with me.

Basil, Lemon Thyme and Spearmint – 4/28/2020

Yellow basil growing.  Two other empty pots.
Not so hot on 8/18/2020

3. Go with the Flow.

I moved this pot of Flamethrower and Coleus to our front steps, so they’d get rain while we were traveling. The leaves have lost a bit of their vibrancy; otherwise though, I am pretty happy with the result.

Flamethrower and Coleus.
Flamethrower and Coleus having grown.

4. Planters Must Have Drainage Holes.

I plant petunias every year in the pots in front of our home. As I mentioned, we have had a lot of rain this year. One of the mysteries of the universe, to me, is why in the heck do they sell planters without drainage holes in the bottom? When I originally got these pots several years back, I did put drainage holes in one of them. It occurred to me to do this after one of the pots had already been filled with dirt, and I didn’t bother to go back and redo it. In years past, the effect hasn’t been too bad, as I would tilt the pot and dump out any excess water. But this year with all the rain and us being gone…. well, you can see the result. So, my lesson for next year is I must get holes drilled in or buy new pots with holes. I plan to end this misery very soon by replacing these flowers with some colorful fall chrysanthemums.

Pot with water and no flowers.
8/15/2020 This is just sad.
Pot with Petunias growing and metal frog smiling in front.

5. Fake it until you Make it.

While I am partial to the splendor that nature provides, sometimes you just can’t beat a good silk flower.


  1. You have some nice potted plants. I had to laugh when you said -“sometimes you just can’t beat a silk flower.” A lot of times that is what I have in the house, but outside in my pots they are all real.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that would make a very interesting post – the difference between gardening in Arkansas and Arizona. Plus, I think it would appeal to the many older folk who relocate. In any case, thanks for reading, and enjoy your day!


    • This is what we were told in the Master Gardener class. He said cut them back several times when they were first starting out. However I will have to look for the wave petunia. The more I can leave to nature, the better! Enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I pruned my roses and they are growing good. I think pruning is really needed for some of the plants. I have had hard luck with potted plants and I decided to give up except orchids. This year I am trying my hands in gardening.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, thank you for sharing these, Betty. I love working with plants! Will follow your advice on pruning – I am not doing it as much and definitely need to be on top of it, especially with my sage. Sorry to hear about your herbs. My thyme just died, too. It got rained on too much. Oh well. Will do better on the next pot.

    Liked by 2 people

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