Garden Procrastination: You are not alone!

youthgarden4Recently Washington Gardener Magazine asked DC-area gardeners: “What Garden Task You Always Procrastinate On and Why?”

They received a tremendous response. It seemed that no aspect of gardening is immune to being put off to another day. Even the most devoted gardeners find one chore that they loathe and ignore from weeks on end.

For me, it is cleaning out the beds in early spring. I think that it is more the cold than anything that makes me put it off.


UGH… pruning the three azaleas in front of my front bay window! Since these three rarely get to flower due to their being located outside my deer exclosure and therefore constantly de-budded, they do need to be trimmed back every year to keep the scraggly branches below the window area. So, constant, tight-space, maintenance, and NO FLOWERS!!!! (Thanks! Love the mag!)
~ Alison Regan

I procrastinate on pruning because I always forget when I’m supposed to prune the different types of bushes.
~ Mary Lane Renninger

The garden task I most procrastinate in doing is trimming the bigger bushes. Of course, a good reason they are bigger is because I keep putting off the shaping and trimming. But it’s so much work to do it right – clip, eyeball it, clip again. The best ones are those that need minimal clipping, like the nandinas. But those spireas are a challenge to keep in their space. And in order to keep them blooming, I need to trim them 2 or 3 times/ season. Ugh!
~ Alberta Mikulka


Another year has passed, and my resolution to eliminate the horrible oriental bittersweet in my woods is still unfulfilled. In the spring and fall, I am too busy planting, in the summer it is too hot and the ground too hard, and now it is too cold. I should knuckle under and hire someone!
~ Margaret Fisher

Weeding, because it’s tedious work.
~ Sylvia Midgett


What I most procrastinate on: Planting! I buy plants at a sale because they’re cool and of course don’t have a clue where I’m going to put them. So they sit under the maple tree in the front yard until I figure it out. Also: spraying plants to keep the deer away. Just nasty!
~ Sherry Marshall

I always procrastinate on planting my bulbs in the fall. I keep thinking we’ll get one more warmish day… and then I end up out there planting on a not-so-warm day.
~ Anastasia MacDonald

The task I procrastinate on the most is planting! Sometimes I find something irresistible at the nursery, and buy it without a specific place in mind for it. Things that I buy for a particular spot generally get planted promptly, but I suffer from terrible gardener’s indecision for the others. (The plants sometimes suffer too, as they wait and wait to get in the ground.) This can get to be a sizeable problem, since I’m a sucker for anything new and different at the nursery. This fall, I have an absolute goal: My garden club is going on a great 4-day garden and nursery tour next spring, and I will not allow myself to sign up for it unless everything–everything–that’s still in a pot has a home. Because I’m bound to find a few more irresistible things on the trip.
~ Lucy Goszkowski

I always procrastinate planting fall bulbs. Why? First I want to make sure the ground is cold, and second, something in me is reluctant to give up on the chance that there will be more balmy days to come.
~ Anne Hardman

In my pursuit of the eternal summer and the warm season’s harvest, I put off replacing my summer garden for my fall one til it’s all too clear that if I wait any longer, it’ll be too late to plant even that. Strange thing is: I enjoy my fall garden every bit as much as my summer one!
~ Sue Gleason

I procrastinate on starting seedlings. I don’t have much space for starting them in my house, and don’t have any special lights set up. This makes me think I shouldn’t bother….and then in late March when you can smell the earth warming up the urge is too great, and I start a few seedlings, wishing I’d done so earlier.
~ Alexandria Lippincott


I shrink from the odious task of thinning my baby plants. I know it needs to be done, but I feel just awful cutting their little heads off. After all, I brought them into this world. But then, ………I just shake it off and do the deed!
~ Arlene M.

Thinning seed babies because I want to try and save them and pot them separately to make more plants.
~ Nancy L. OConnor


Raking leaves is the task I procrastinate. I claim I’m not procrastinating, that I am using the leaves to keep my garden from freezing.
~ Annie Shaw

I leave fallen leaves everywhere — flower beds, open spaces, driveways, anywhere they land. Why? Perhaps because I think they should stay there, right where nature put them. I’d mulch them but my mower’s broken (this year’s excuse). Usually I wait till I’m ashamed to have the neighborhood’s messiest front yard. Maybe I’ll leave the back yard leaves where they are this year.
~ Carol Jaka

When you live in an old neighborhood with lots of trees, especially oaks, doing something with the leaves becomes almost a full time job. Raking, blowing, composting – whatever is your “pleasure.” In addition, the real procrastination comes from blowing leaves off an almost flat roof (tar and gravel). You have to climb up a 20′ ladder, haul up the blower and electric cord. In addition to that you need one or two mulch bags to gather up all of the fallen branches from the trees. Then you have to blow out the leaves from the gutters and be careful that you don’t clog up the downspouts. Of course then what do you do with the leaves that came off the roof. Using the word procrastination is a very mild way of putting this situation.
~ George Graine


About my yuckiest garden task…We have a terrible deer problem at my house. Fencing the property is not an option because of its layout, so I have to use deer netting for those plants that really need protection – mostly azaleas, hydrangeas and mountain laurel. The job I procrastinate most on in my garden is checking and moving netting when a plant has grown through it. It has to be done three or four times a year, and for plants closest to the house I do pretty well. But the plants farther out in the garden get neglected, and then it takes a really long time to cut away the netting and put new netting up. I hate standing there and cutting for the long time that it takes to disentangle lots of new growth – aaargh!
~ Shirlie Pinkham


Turning the compost heap. Reason for procrastination: I find those great big grubs that live in there intimidating…
~ Ellen McBarnette


The task I often procrastinate about is clearing old desiccated plant material – particularly tomato vines – at the end of the season in my community garden plot. I’ve even tried to excuse it by telling myself the old vines provide good bird habitat.
~ Linette Lander


I always procrastinate on edging my garden. I see all the landscaper companies around making everything look “just so” and I think it is a matter of pride that my garden definitely has a home-done look, until I finally finish it off and clear the edges.
~ Patty Friedman


I always seem to put off the garden pond maintenance for fall. After all, you have to wait until the lilies stop blooming, right? Then I find myself climbing into frigid cold water up to my unmentionables to pull up the lilies and prune them, then drop them back. While I’m in there I also prune the iris and any other plants. I check on the fish (which I do daily, just not from on top of them), and finish up by cleaning out my skimmer filter and basket. If I’ve been smart enough, I brought a towel, otherwise I’m shivering on the patio while I remove my pond sneakers. Maybe next year I’ll do better. :-\
~ Howard Gorinson

What garden task do YOU procrastinate on?

About the Author:

Kathy Jentz is editor/publisher of Washington Gardener magazine.
Washington Gardener magazine, is a new gardening publication published specifically for the local metro area — zones 6-7 — Washington DC and its suburbs.

The magazine is written entirely by local area gardeners. They have real-world knowledge and practical advice with the same problems you experience in your own gardens. They share their thoughts on what to plant in deep shade, how to cover bare spots, which annuals work best throughout the humid DC summers, and much more. If you are a DC area gardener, you’ll love Washington Gardener magazine!

The magazine is published four times per year with a cover price of $4.99. IN addition to the print magazine, subscribers also receive a monthly enewsletter 12 times a year that includes timely information such as a local garden events calendar and gardening to-do list for that month. A year’s subscription is $20.00 — that’s a savings of almost 40% off the per issue price. To subscribe to the magazine: Send a check/money order for $20.00 payable to “Washington Gardener” magazine to: Washington Gardener, 826 Philadelphia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910 OR to pay via Paypal/credit card click on the “subscribe” link at

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About the Author

Kathy Jentz
Kathy Jentz is editor of Washington Gardener magazine and is a long-time DC area gardening enthusiast. Washington Gardener is all about gardening where you live. She can be reached at @WDCgardener on Twitter and welcomes your local DMV gardening questions.