Harrisonburg, VA

I could have killed my fiance on Sunday. I had to work saturday night and he spent the afternoon right up until dark mowing and ...well....unasked for pruning. Sunday morning he tells me with a proud sound in his voice to go look outside at my lilac. It's an ancient lilac, white and 12 ft tall, 12 feet long and about 4 feet wide. It gave a nice tunnel affect between it and the side of the house and was the primary location of my shade garden for my VA bluebells, Wild Ginger, and trillium. He gutted it!!! He was so proud and I was speechless. It's now twelve feet tall on each end still four feet wide but now there's a 5 foot gap right in the middle allowing sunlight right on my less than a week old shade garden and it looks awful. I'm still dumbstruck every time I see it. He at least feels really bad and he thought he was doing a nice thing. He's not allowed near a saw anymore without my express permission. I've got to figure out something to "mask" this for my wedding on July 4th but I get depressed everytime I look at the space.....ok rant over

Winchester, VA(Zone 6b)

never allow men to prune (translate - chop down) - maybe there are even handed men with a pair of pruning shears but I have not met one. My father used to shear things to the ground - only because entities from the plant kingdom are tough - did we have anything at all. You have my sympathy -

how about some shade cloth? the lilac is likely to survive but spring is not the usual pruning time.

My DH is not allowed to prune or even mow.

Edgewater, MD(Zone 7a)

For my DHs safety he leaves any and all yard/garden/digging equipment alone.

So sorry you didnt know till after the fact, I know it can be heartbreaking to have that happen.


Fairmont, WV(Zone 6a)

Oh no...I feel your pain...((hugs))...I agree with roxroe and dravencat, do NOT let the male of the species handle cutting implements anywhere near your garden, ESPECIALLY if said implement is a power tool. My DH is allowed to mow the lawn (mainly because I'm not fussy about it and I hate doing it myself) but I think I am going to forbid trimming because any time he gets near the garden he whacks something to death. (Last time it was a bucket...honest to pete, how can you destroy a bucket with a string trimmer???).

Last year, after I spent months cosseting my azaleas, he ran over one with the power mower AND DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE. He got hauled out of the house and seriously yelled at for that one, no doubt to the amusement of the neighbors. I went to work in a towering snit and vented to my departmental secretary, who made up a great sign in vivid living color that said "Do Not Mow Azaleas!"--which she then emailed to DH. LOL

Anyway, my apologies to the men of DG, gardening is by no means a female-only pursuit or anything like that, but for some reason get a male non-gardener near a plant and only destruction will result.


Prince Frederick, MD

I read your "rant" and laughed out loud. Welcome to my world. My husband is an absolute menace in the garden and with any type of power tool. In his defense, he's a big city boy who never had a garden until we moved down here, but still. You'd think after 10 years he'd catch on to the difference between desirable plants (the ones that are on trellises, in borders, beds, and planters) and weeds.

He's managed to render every piece of outdoor equipment we own inoperable, including the fully-functioning ones I brought into the marriage. When I received a prized division of my grandmother's ancient peony and was called away on a family emergency the day it arrived, he "did me a favor" and planted it-----upsidedown. When it did come up, a year later and to my great amazement, he ran over it with the mower. Hopeless. Must be supervised at all times.

I think a lot of this has to do with what my daughters call "learned incompetence." I've known men who are the same way about domestic chores like changing diapers, washing dishes, vacuuming, etc. At least he left you some of it, and doesn't lilac bloom on new growth? So you should have a bumper crop next year for your first anniversary.

Maybe you could rent a few large ficus trees in pots to space out in front of the lilac and disguise the gap. Or get one of those inexpensive metal trellises and drape it with something like tulle.

Now I have to ask you the really important question. Are you sure you want to marry this guy? Just don't ever let him cut the kids' hair.

Best of luck with your upcoming wedding. I'm sure it will be lovely, even minus several bushels of lilac branches.


Fairmont, WV(Zone 6a)

Scirus--LOL--your poor peonies!! :) I had to stop DH from taking the weed whacker to ours, too. *sigh* I think there is something to the "learned incompetence" thing...DH is also completely incapable of color matching anything (furniture, the baby's clothes, his clothes, etc) to the point where I'm seriously wondering if he is color blind.

On the other hand, bluesjuls, your DF probably does have some practical redeeming qualities...mine is Mr Fixit around the house and knows his way around a toolbox in ways that I never will...and he also vacuums and changes diapers like a pro. :) So just be sure you do your best to utilize (and praise, they work well with positive reinforcement) his strengths...and keep him AWAY from your garden. :)

BTW, any disaster seems ten times worse around wedding time...with luck this will become one of your marriage stories. :)

Hm, maybe we should cross-post this on the Garden Foes forum! :)


Edgewater, MD(Zone 7a)


Crozet, VA

Hi Blue - I know the feeling. A punch in the gut type of feeling but you will get over it.

Reminds me of the time years ago when I was punishing my teenage son for something. I was going to make him pull weeds as punishment. When he came in from the chore and I went to look at it, I saw that he had pulled up some gorgeous red ground cover that I had there. The bed was still full of lots of weeds, but my plant was dead. It took me a long time to get over that one too.

Hope that your wedding day will be blessed.


somewhere, PA

I love this thread! My DH husband does the string trimming - I had to put up a blockade
of logs to stop him from whacking my ferns. He "helped" me with mulching a few years
ago by dumping 4" of shredded bark on my primula seedlngs.


Harrisonburg, VA

Unbelievable!!!! OK, after all that, yesterday he's mowing the lawn and comes within and inch of taking out the shade garden. Luckily the wild ginger didn't get chopped off....after yelling for about 10 minutes, I've decided to relace the white markers, one of which got shredded by the lawnmower, with an adjustable barrier at least for now.

I hate those lame barriers but what else can I do? I don't want to permantly enclose the area because it's supossed to look like a naturalized woodland garden...at least I can yank the barriers out before the wedding...

somewhere, PA

You might try my trick - put up a barrier of old logs? That would be
in keeping with the naturalized woodland.


Richmond, VA

You may want to try bricking in your flower beds.Try to use the older looking varieties of brick.It will look more natural
and less landscaped that way.Ive learned that this trick helps to prevent extreme damage from anyone going on a
pruning spree.Men arent as visually gifted
in the landscaping dept as women.[generally speaking that is].Neither in color or dimension.Because brick stands out, they are more likely to see it.Making them much less likely, to mow over the flower bed or prune the trees in between.
As for repairing the damage, between the
lilac trees, you might want to try planting
something there temporarily.Preferably a shrub.That will take up more space and look like something, that was planned for the space.After the wedding ,you could then transplant it to a different location or
give/sell to a neighbor[if you dont have some place to put it]

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