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Keep 'Em Pretty - July 24th

KEEP ‘EM PRETTY

I don’t know about your summer flowers but mine are beginning to show the wear and tear of summer heat, excessive rain and then hot dry days.  Also, some disease and bug damage along the way.  All normal things but put together my summer flowers don’t look all that great.

Should I take them up and plant more?  Should I just let them go until time for mums and pansies or should I look at a third option?  I think I will look at a third option.

I am going to take the pruners in hand and give them a good old-fashioned shearing. When I finish most of them will have little or no bloom left and they may only be three to four inches tall.  I will then throw a good handful of 10-10-10 in the pot or in the bed, in addition I will see they get a good soaking of water, rain or irrigation and step back and wait.

In a few days new growth will be flourishing, in two to three weeks new blooms will be showing and in four to six weeks they will look better than they have looked all summer.  This will be the second time this summer I have performed this kind of surgery on the plants.  Each time I do this they look better than before.

This will keep them looking great and in bloom until hard frost. Probably until close to Thanksgiving.  Now, there is one problem with this. Pansies will be arriving in the stores in just over a month.  I am going to want some as soon as they arrive.  If my summer flowers are looking so pretty where am I going to plant pansies?

I don’t want to wait until frost kills my flowers to plant pansies.  If I do the pansies won’t have time to grow and be nice looking for the winter.  I want my pansies planted no later than the end of September and would like to have them in sooner.  I want them to have plenty of time to grow and mature before hard frost.  Cold is not going to kill the pansies but they are not going to do much growing during the winter.

I try to plant pansies in between the summer annuals where I have room.  I might clip the ends of the annuals to give me room for the pansies.  If all else fails I pull up the summer crops and plant the pansies.  After all, the pansies will be there all winter and the summer crops only have a few weeks left.

 
Deer O Deer - June 12th, 2018

DEER O DEER

I thought that was a cute way to begin.  We hear so much about the problems people have with deer.  Recently, I have seen a number of posts with pictures on Facebook of deer in yards. Pictures of deer strolling along the street in broad daylight doing no harm.  Just out for a stroll.

In my own case I have looked out the window about midnight, four nights in a row, to see deer grazing in my yard.  I have not seen any damage they have done to my plants.  I haven't tried to scare them away.  Just taken a kind of live and let live attitude.

I don’t think they do as much damage as they get blamed for. There are other animals that damage our plants and deer get the blame.  Rabbits, squirrels, racoons just to name a few.  Damage down close to the ground is likely not a deer.  Taller plants and plants with the top eaten out is probably deer.  Regardless, we don’t want our plants destroyed by wildlife.  I understand that.

When we were running the garden center I always thought it was funny to hear people complain about deer problems.  First, they always seemed to think the deer picked on them exclusively.  No one else had a deer problem.  If they said they had four in their yard last night and I said I just had a customer left the store that had six in their yard.  With the next breath the ones in their yard had grown to eight.  I always wondered how they multiplied that fast.

Let me say here that generally what will keep one animal away will keep most if not all animals away.  Plants that one animal will eat most animals will eat.  So as a general what works for one works for all.  Nothing seems to work all the time.  Wish I could give you a hard and fast rule.

In my case, I spray plants that I really want to protect with Deer Off every three months.  Ones that I am not too concerned about I leave alone.  They get nipped sometimes but usually not enough to worry about.  I will point out here that Deer Off does not have edible plants on the label.  However, the cost of testing and putting edible plants on the label was so expensive that the Company that produces Deer Off made the decision not to put edibles on the label.

Animals generally do not eat plants with a fragrance.  Very few herbs are subject to being damaged by animals.  They also suffer very little insect damage.  White flowers are very seldom bothered by animals.  Why, most white flowers have anywhere from slight to overpowering fragrances.  Fragrant roses have less damage than non-fragrant roses.

Mixing herbs and highly fragrant flowers such as marigolds in plantings of edibles or flower beds can help animals away.  I have containers of vegetables and flowers on my deck.  I usually stick a marigold in all the planters because I have a problem with squirrels. So far it has worked.

Animals have tastes just like we do.  What they eat tonight they may walk right by tomorrow night.  What they don’t eat in your neighbor's yard, they may totally destroy in your yard.  Just Mother Nature.

So' I would say don’t let the deer or other animal decide what you are going to plant.  Plant what you like where you like it.  Use a little common-sense and the damage will be little or none.  I use pesticides where needed. If you make the decision to use them read the label.  I have found they rarely work for people that don’t read the label.

REMEMBER IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE ADDRESSED LET'S KNOW.

 

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Plant of the Week - Crepe Myrtle

Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtle

  • Colorful and long-lasting flowers
  • Colors vary from deep purple to red to white, with almost every shade in-between
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