Monday, May 23, 2016

Gardens Must be Done by Memorial Day Weekend

 
Comfrey - Image property of author
 
 
We have enjoyed such a mild winter this year, and minimal snow, which means that I should have been able to get an early start with my gardens, especially the container garden on the deck, but I didn't. The weather was cool enough last week to give us a few frost and freeze warnings during the night, but all of the perennials are doing fine! It is wonderful to be surrounded by green again, from the canopy of leaves over us thanks to the many trees on our property, to the grass, to the gardens of perennials. 

It is my hanging and other planters that I fill with flowers out front, and the container garden on the deck out back that I fill with vegetables, that I have to get going this week. 


 Horseradish, with a "touch" of Mint  - Image property of author

Wishing all of you the very best this Memorial Day Weekend, remembering those who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice their lives for our freedom...THANK YOU!

Monday, April 18, 2016

How to Grow a Deer Resistant Garden

We have a lot of wildlife around us because the houses across the street are on the boundary line of a State forest, and we live in a lakefront cabin. We have to bring in our bird feeder in the warmer weather because of the bears that frequent our property, and there are deer...but the only time I had trouble with deer invading my gardens was during a time of drought. They were on their way down to the lake, and thought they'd stop and nibble off each one of my day lily flowers. If you have trouble with Deer in your garden, maybe this article written by Barbara Frerichs, and used with permission, will help.

Protecting Your Garden From Deer (Edited)

Each year, more and more homes are using only ornamental grass for their gardens. This may be due to the homeowner's love of grass, but it is most likely a result of homeowners who have just thrown up their hands year after year in exasperation over deer-decimated gardens.

Many homeowners give up after realizing that deer have feasted on everything in their garden, from flowering plants, Hostas, standard Arborvitae and Yew, which are the staples of their diet.

A deer-resistant garden does not have to as bland as one might think. With a bit of time, research and careful planning, a garden can be well-designed, colorful and deer-resistant without surrounding the property with a twenty-foot high fence. And since the deer density in some parts of the country can be high, nothing is completely deer-proof.

There are many old wives' tale remedies floating around, such as placing human hair in a stocking, hanging mirrors and foil, or spraying cayenne pepper over the ground, but you could also try a more logical route. The best place to start is with a complete service landscaper or favorite local nursery. Resources and experience have given them a wealth of knowledge. They know what plants are favorite snacks for deer and a good number of plants that they don't eat. They can work with you to develop a wonderful plan for a garden.

If the homeowner prefers to be more hands-on with the gardening, there are several fantastic resources available online. Both the Cornell Cooperative Extension and Rutgers University have lists of landscape plants rated by deer resistance.

In addition to the wide variety of ornamental grasses, there are many trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals available, which will safely add color and depth to any garden. Taking into account the soil and sunlight, along with water availability, one can create an amazing area and keep Bambi at bay.

It seems that highly aromatic plants deter deer, as do those that just taste bad to them. They are creatures of habit and experience, so they stay away from plants that have bothered them in the past. Anise, Aster, Daisies, Lemon Balm, Lily of the Valley, Irises, Ornamental Onion, Russian Sage and even Peonies fall into these categories.

Say goodbye to deer and hello to butterflies with a colorful Buddleia, commonly know as a Butterfly Bush. They are now available in a wide variety of colorful blooms. Even the beloved Hydrangea (I get a lot of grief for this one. Deer have been known to eat the new buds off Hosta plants, and the leaves in the fall. However, the more you have, the less damage they seem to do. It has become hit or miss with the hydrangea lately, a symbol of summer, and although not on the lists mentioned above, is deer resistant and readily obtainable in so many different varieties.) Also look at Cranesbill, Coreopsis and Campanula for instant color. How about Winter Gem Boxwoods and Japanese Barberry? These are two shrubs that will add color and depth to a low hedge or garden backdrop against a building or structure.

If there is a plant that you simply adore and must have in your garden, there are several ways to accomplish this. Plant it in the midst of plants that deer do not like. This creates an aromatic or taste-camouflaged barrier. Also, purchasing a spray-on deer repellent will increase the chance of keeping those plants from being eaten.

There are several repellents on the market, including Deer Stopper, which is all-organic and actually smells good. Deer Out is a natural product as well as Liquid Fence. Although one may last longer than another, no product is continuously effective. They all must be reapplied on an ongoing basis to offer protection. Any one of these procedures, including selective planting, would need to be carefully monitored in order to work well. Remember what works in one area may not work in another.

With the combination of the current deer overpopulation and ongoing land development in many areas, the situation we face with many hungry deer will not disappear anytime soon. Instead of being exasperated by the situation, we can take some time to plan and develop beautiful gardens.


About the author:
Barbara Frerichs, CLP, is a Certified Landscape Professional who is a true entrepreneur. At the time this article was originally written, the following titles linked to her sites, "Lion Landscaping of the Hamptons" and "The Landscaping Calendar". As of this 4/18/16 republishing of this post, the links no longer work. Perhaps one day the author will stop by and provide new links in the comment section.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Friday, November 6, 2015

Is the Fuel You Use Damaging your Outdoor Power Equipment?

This post brought to you by TRUFUEL®. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Weeds and Seed Swap.

Though we are enjoying a very mild start to November in the Northeast, there is no doubt that winter is on the way. Our lawn mower may have done it's last mowing of the season. This weekend I hope our leaf blower will be put to work piling up the leaves that cover the yard, front and back, to be carried off to the woods across from our home. Our yard looks like the picture you see here. I do leave a layer of leaves over the garden beds.

In the past we have taken our trusty red plastic container to the gas station to fill and fuel some of our 2 and 4 cycle outdoor equipment. In the spring when it's time to start up the mower for the first time, it takes quite a few pulls to get her going. We never thought of the fact that the type of fuel we were using could be causing the problem.

Because of this, and the desire to take better care of our equipment that runs on fuel, it was interesting to learn the damaging affects that ethanol, which is in fuel from the gas station. We also learned that there is a fuel that can winter over in our equipment without separating and causing harm, and will give us a good start up when needed during or after storage in the winter cold.

Find out more about an engineered fuel that has been introduced to us at the link that starts this sentence. You'll discover several reasons why this is a superior product that will remain stable when stored up to 5 years, and 2 years after opening. Gasoline is only fresh for about a month which makes what seems like a bargain far from it. 

Find TRUFUEL on Twitter and learn more from tweets.

Find TRUFUEL on Facebook and "like" the page so you can be kept up to date on the latest information on how to use the product. Other readers share their thoughts about the TRUFUEL as well.


Fall Leaves Image Credit 
 
Now off to go make sure all of our lawn care tools are ready to work for us this weekend!

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

New Jersey Fall Colors are Beginning to Show

I stepped out my back door and looked up to a beautiful sight, the top of one of our Maple trees is beginning to show vibrant colors that I captured with my camera for you, but the photo does not do justice to the real view.

The colors are beginning to change here in New Jersey, but right around our area, it is still very green. When I look across the lake from our deck, the hill on the other side is almost entirely green now. As I sit here typing on my laptop looking out the windows on the opposite side of our cabin with a cool breeze blowing on me, it is as if I am sitting under trees though inside. 

We have a Black Walnut outside my window that has been dropping walnuts for a while now. The acorn trees are dropping acorns in large numbers this year. Whether the quantity of acorns can be used to predict harsh winter weather or not, I do not know, I tend to think it happens in cycles....but I do know the squirrels are happy! Each morning at a certain time the pounding of the acorns on the roof increases as they are busy eating in the treetops.

Yes, Fall in the Northeast is a beautiful season, we hope you are enjoying it, and if you are ever passing through our State, take time to enjoy New Jersey's colorful fall foliage!

New Jersey Fall Foliage Tour - Video