Monthly Archives: May 2014

Deer Proofing

Well, short of a 8′ fence surrounding Big Garden, the word “proofing” may be a misnomer.

Deer Provoking would likely be more accurate.

In the early years, I really had little problem with them. We’d see them in the yard, but they seemed unaware of my garden. Then, a couple of things happened that I attribute to changing my anonymous status:

  • We had a bad drought year and the thirsty critters discovered my tiger lilies near the pool and my hosta around the deck. I’d never seen deer this close to the house unless they were crossing the yard so their search parties must have been conducted at night
  • A new development went in across the street and some of their natural habitat was altered. It had always been my belief that there was so much for them to eat outside of my garden that they didn’t bother
  • I started growing okra and once they discovered those plants, they were hooked; young okra leaves must be deer crack

Over the years, I have tried a few things including sending my young boys out to take care of business (garden is too big around unless I fill then with a gallon of water a few hours ahead), hanging Irish Spring bars strategically (the soap went missing a week or so later and I actually thought the deer had eaten it in defiance before I found it nestled under melon leaves). I’ve tried a few different sprays and one did work fairly well. If you go this route, look for one that does NOT need to be reapplied after it rains.

Can’t remember the original source, but I have read that deer don’t like chives. One site suggests it is the smell – perhaps I should trim them when the okra are young so that garlicy-onion scent is pungent?

As the central diamond bed that has chives edging it has either needed to be divided or has offered volunteers, I have been edging the sides of the whole garden with chives. This year, I had enough to finish the right side and could get to the back if I did divide the original bed.

Of course, Donny scoffs at this and wants to grow his Better Boy tomato in an old 5 gallon bucket inside the pool fence. Now doesn’t that just sound attractive next to the Proven Winners and palms that I just paid good money for?

I did see a 42″ tall fencing kit with 16 poles and thought about ordering it, but it is really too short to deer proof, but $70 for a deterent isn’t too bad. I mentioned this to Donny who again laughed. He has other ideas, and being he is MacGyver reinvented, they may work.

So, aside from the chives, having a pool party of teen-aged boys, and the spray that worked well until last year, we are going to try a fishing line fence.

The theory of this is that the deer won’t see it but if they bump into several strands looping the garden at various heights they may move on.

My research says to try several systems and to switch them up. Saw a suggestion to make a tin can wind chime and that sounds fun. Didn’t find any on Pinterest so I’ll have to design my own – maybe spray paint the cans too?

I’ll let you know.

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Big Garden Plan 2014

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Despite some rain this week, this weekend looks promising for planting Big Garden. I know a lot of serious gardeners would have theirs in already, but it is just not possible here. We always have too much to do to … Continue reading

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You’d Avoid It Too

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To be frank, I have never been really satisfied with the border that faces Big Garden and I have struggled with trying many different plants in it. Some have passed on and more are about to do the same. Here … Continue reading

Big Garden: Relearning Old Lessons

So, I’ve admitted to being a garden slacker. I’m intending to mend my ways but I got another reminder of why the old ways don’t work.

In the good old days, when gardening was new and I was learning, I poured over every catalog that came my way. It took me a while to get over being ready to order every “garden kit” that showed beautiful cartoon-like drawings of what my garden could look like.

In fact, I almost fell for a few before I kept reading and learning and soon, thankfully, realized that the plants shown would never bloom at the same time and so, therefore, my garden would never look like the proposed selection.

That was a particularly hard lesson to learn. But, I got past it and while it meant I needed to learn a lot more about colors, heights, and blooming times not to mention, sun requirements, I was learning.

Until I got frustrated and shut down. I realize that now.

SO, going forward, I will NOT just pick up a plant that looks interesting. I will actually PLAN what goes into a Perennial Border, just as I have always done with the Vegetable Section.

But, here is the lesson from today: I wanted to order some seeds for direct sowing and waited too long – most were out of stock.

Lack of inspiration led to procrastination and now disappointment.

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A Garden Renewed: The Challenge

What needs to happen is this: 1- Dig up and divide the keepers: tiger lilies, irises, coreopsis (the tickweed kind, which is spreading, but the yellow flowers are worth it), liatris – if there are any left under the Campanula … Continue reading

A Garden Renewed: A Plan

So, here’s the plan, sort of.

Well, I need to backtrack a little. The perennial border on the facing edge of Big Garden is roughly 34 feet long by 3 feet deep. About 10 feet from the left edge is an old garden gate held in place by two 8 feet tall posts that hold two trumpet vines that I only just manage to contain/form an arch over the entrance. (BTW, trumpet vine is one of my invasive species, but I love it, so I am willing to fight its will to get that doorway…)

So, my goal for year one of the reno is to attack those first 10 feet. The next two years will address the remaining border. After 3 years, I really should start over again with the intention to divide what I love, toss the rest (eeks, I can hardly kill a plant, so I will be giving away anything I can’t use that isn’t going to be poison to another’s garden), and find space for improvements.

I’ve already decided I need brighter colors. Big Garden is half an acre from the house so I need orange, yellow, white, purple, magenta, sage green. Currently, the pale pink Campanula, lavender catmint, pink liatris just don’t show up.

Again, I have known this in the back of my mind for a while. I am not an unread gardener; I’ve just been in denial of what needed to be done.

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A Garden Renewed: An Inspiration

I have fallen out of blogging about my garden and have felt uninspired to continue. I have even lost faith in my desire to garden. All of this has been perplexing to me since I have always loved to be … Continue reading

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Not So Hungry Games…

Okay… I fell under the “Twilight” spell late… only to be told by friends I was behind the “Hunger Games” curve… I TRIED to catch the fire but just only¬†got in about 3 weeks ago – between my Book Club … Continue reading