There is a checkbox in the garden that can do stuff to your couch that you dont expect. It is the 'Dashboard On Root' checkbox in the host options.
It kind of takes over the normal couch api becuase instead of getting api endpoints, there is now html being served on the root.
One solution is to use localhost and 127.0.0.1 to your advantage. They are two different hosts on your couchdb. I tend to use 'http://127.0.0.1:5984/'; under 'hostnames to bind to' and then turn on 'Dashboard On Root'. This way you can access a nice url based garden at http://127.0.0.1 and all your tooling can still use http://localhost:5984 , and best of all you can still get to futon one way or another.