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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.