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If you have full sun, these are easy—though even these can be problematic.

Here’s more news from the gardening tips for newbies front. Huffington Post published a piece from Hometalk yesterday that offers the “9 best gardening tips for beginners.” I liked it OK—particularly the emphasis on good soil and organics—but couldn’t go along with some of the directives, which seemed chosen at random, including some rather dubious and incomplete seed starting instructions (I don’t think beginners should mess much with seeds.) and a bizarre list of “easy-to-grow” plants, as follows:

 Some plants are just known to be easier to grow than others- plant these! For easy-to-grow produce, Hometalk’s gardening experts recommend tomatoes, peppers, onions, chard, basil, and bush beans. Easy to grow and maintain flowers include clematis(a vine), sunflowers, dahlia’s, foxglove, roses, petunia & black eyed susan’s. Just ask your local plant nursery employee to direct you to the “hardy” plants.

Forgetting the misplaced apostrophes and the fact that this list appears under a picture of mums, and ignoring the vegetables, with which I have no expertise, I take exception to many of the ornamentals on this list. Roses can be very disappointing for beginners, unless you go with landscape types (all roses are the same according to this). Dahlias? Really? Most must be started from tubers, need full sun, must be staked, and in many cases need to be wintered over. Foxglove? I suppose, but the newbie will be very disappointed when she finds this needs two years to bloom and is not really a perennial.  As for clematis, these have somewhat complex classifications and pruning needs and can be very prone to wilt. At least mine are, which is why I’m ready to rip them out en masse. Petunias are easy. Though I see they make no distinction whatsoever between perennials and annuals.

This is always the way with gardening generic advice. You have to stay away from the micro—like which plants to grow—and keep to the macro—soil care, hardscaping, exposure. Otherwise, it’s really best to listen to your local experts and—to a lesser  extent—your gardening neighbors.

I know—it’s so easy to make fun of stuff like this. The problem is, though, that there’s so much just like it online, and that’s where people look now.

Posted by

Elizabeth Licata
on July 8, 2014 at 7:57 am, in the category CRRRITIC, Everybody’s a Critic, It’s the Plants, Darling.

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  • What are the odds that whoever compiled (I hesitate to use the word “write”) this has never gardened at all?

    Susan 5th April 2016 8:43 pm
  • Horrible! Makes me curious about the idiots in charge of gardening for Hometalk. Susan

    Garden Rant 18th January 2017 7:28 am
  • It would seem likely the person who wrote the article was directed to do so and had little personal experience with those plants. I have had minimal luck with foxglove. And I am still trying to find a place where I think clematis will be most successful given the blasting summer heat we have. Cheers!

    Adam Cortell 4th March 2017 4:01 pm

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