Skip to content

Biggest Oops

biggest oops

Taking three years to build the space!

Overwatering during summer

Buying 1-gallon trees instead of larger

Waiting eight years to put in steps

Our initial plantings were done without gopher cages. Big mistake. The plants grew for a few months and disappeared. We had gophers eating them from underground and cottontail rabbits browsing from above ground.

Not planting more toyon everywhere!

Overplanting. It’s my thing.

LA Native Plant Source

Finding out only after it had set seed all over the garden that a grass I had planted and thought was native was actually an exotic species. I’m still trying to get rid of it.

Putting the bay laurel tree in the wrong place. When we didn’t know enough, we put it right where our greywater comes out, far too much water. This tree has never thrived, has barely grown but managed to stay alive. We use the leaves regularly in cooking, but it's a sad sibling to the beautiful laurels that grow in the local foothills.

We planted shrubs too close together in the beginning. Had to remove many! Also didn’t plant enough grasses.

My “oops” moment was when I planted “California” peppers in the California native section. I was raked through the coals by my colleagues. I apologized, but decided to keep them. Three were downed during a windstorm, but the one survivor is a visitor favorite.

The garden was professionally designed. We didn’t have any unforeseen problems.

I can’t think of an “oops” because FormLA is taking such wonderful care of everything.

Believe it or not, NONE!

In the beginning, digging up poppy greens thinking they were weeds.

Underestimating the “zone of death” created by an old pepper tree.

Carelessly digging in the garden and forgetting to first check where the concealed drip lines run.

We could have addressed improving the soil conditions from the very start. The existing soil was in need of remediation and the plant palette has informed us of this throughout the years.

Not being more knowledgeable about plant communities in the early years

Not being more aggressive earlier about removing non-native trees and shrubs

We originally planted non-native sycamores in the parkway and when we realized... we took them out and planted natives. Which is admittedly obsessive for a non-restoration site.

Underestimating the seed bank of weeds

Mistaking a broken pipe for another spring.

We installed a large bird feeder just when the neighbor with cats moved away. The spilled birdseed brought rats. Now we rely on leaving seed heads on the native plants for the birds to feast on (less deadheading).

Leaving the lid off of my tool bucket while testing the irrigation

Too aggressively staking a tall, amazingly beautiful, mature Ribes and I killed it. Really broke my heart.

In 1995 I had no idea of scale and planted the Arctostaphylos glauca too close to the walkway. When it grew I moved the walkway.

Alleged allelopathy from eucalyptus tree.

The biggest OOPS has to be the alteration of the original El Segundo Dunes. With development and fragmentation, the ecology of the site has changed. However, we strive to restore the habitat as best as we can given the circumstances.

Not removing some non-natives when we started and now going back and trying to take them out when they are much larger.

Underestimating the resilience of buckwheat

Manzanita “Ghostly,” touched by overhead water: dead, not enough water during an unseasonal heat wave: dead. I'm 1 for 5 planting this from 1-gallon.

South American Pepper trees, which were planted before there were palms, first by the missions. They lined many streets during L.A.’s early development. This also affected many citrus crops by attracting black-scale pests during LA’s early agricultural history.