Deer in the Garden

Deer in the Garden

My garden sits along a deer path. I don’t know whether to be happy or angry about this. So many times, in the evening especially, we can look outside and see deer in the front garden. Many times when we are driving home we will see them at our neighborhood’s front entrance.

I’ve always thought it a little strange finding a creature so large just standing next to my driveway. To me, it is exactly like coming home and finding a unicorn munching on your boxwoods, then turning and running into the forest. I never see deer in my yard without finding it a magical experience.

Every deer I see running through the garden always enters and exits by the same route. It’s puzzling. They must have a path with food along the way that they follow. I guess my house is just one stop along their merry little way.

Most gardeners that contend with a deer problem are always very angry about the issue. I’m lucky in the fact that a neighborhood designated dog area is next to my front garden. I think the doggy smells tend to hurry them along their way. So, I get the bonus of observing them, without too much of the “plant munching” heartache.

I do find it strange that what little damage I have tends to be only with certain shrubs or plants. A Oakleaf Hydrangea has gotten munched while 10 feet away the same type of shrub was not touched. A hosta, I’ve read, is one of their favorites and yet the hostas in my front garden have not been eaten. I don’t understand and at the same time I’m not complaining! I’m glad they are not decimating all of my plants, but I’m intrigued by their picky eating habits.

The picture I’ve included is not the best quality, but it was taken by my phone out of our dining room window. You have to be quick to snap the picture before they leave.

I’m happy that they leave my vegetables alone. I believe it’s because my veggies are in the back behind our 6 foot high fence. A friend told me, “Don’t kid yourself! They can jump your fence with the finesse of a ballerina. The reason they haven’t yet is that they can’t see where they will be landing.” So for now, I guess my veggies are safe.

For those of you who struggle with deer here are a few ideas to help shoo them away:

  • Spray deer repellent on and around the plants that are being munched. The smelliest sprays tend to work the best. Reapply every week. I personally would not spray edibles.
  • Put up deer fencing. This can be expensive, but it will be effective. Maybe put it up only in certain areas, like veggie beds, instead of spraying.
  • Try putting dog or cat hair around the areas that are being visited by them. After you brush Spot, deposit the hair. Or, better yet, take a trip to the groomers and leave with a bag of dog hair. Crazy, but I bet it will work!
  • I have heard a lot about Irish Spring soap being used as a deer repellent. Place it in a mesh bag and hang it from branches or attach it to the end of a stick placed in your flower beds. Many people swear by it!
  • And of course, I couldn’t end this subject without mentioning the unmentionable. Although you will never see me spreading urine in my garden, by all means pee to your heart’s content. I won’t tell anyone. Let me know if it works.

Happy (and hopefully deer-free) gardening!

My 3 Favorite Self-Seeding Perennials

Balloon Flower

Balloon Flowers – Mature Flower and Bud

I love perennials in a flower garden. There are so many to choose from and they come back year after year. Some are as tough as old boots and live a very long time. In the southern part of America, you can walk through forested areas and come across a stand of beautiful flowers. The house may be gone but the perennials are still flourishing where they were planted 100 years ago or longer.

One type of perennial that I especially like are self-seeding perennials. The name says it all. They love to seed themselves around the garden. Sounds like trouble, but not really. The original clump of plant that you planted comes back the next year and brings some friends along. Sometimes the plant just keeps getting bigger and wider. And sometimes you find that the flower has seeded itself on the other side of the garden entirely. Because of this I try to be careful when I weed and let some seedlings grow-up if I recognize what perennial they are. Sometimes I don’t want them there and I just easily pull them out.

My 3 favorite self-seeding, flowering perennials are Balloon Flowers, Lamb’s Ears, and Sweet William. These 3 have given me so much joy in the garden. Every year that they come back, it’s like seeing an old friend drop by to pay a visit.

Balloon Flower PatchBalloon Flowers (Platycodon Grandiflorus) are some of the most unusual perennials. I just love how they look as they prepare to bloom. A large stalk reaches skyward and then tiny pea-like flower buds form. The upper most “pea” on the stalk will start to swell and resemble a tiny expanding balloon. When the balloon pops, you have a beautiful, open, star-shaped flower. When this flower fades the next “pea” in line starts to swell. Balloon flowers come in shades of pink, white, purple and blue. This wonderful plant has one down side, it can be top-heavy. To combat this problem, I either stake them or most often shear them shorter early in spring and this creates a shorter plant that tends to not fall over.

Lamb's EarsLamb's Ears StalkLamb’s Ears (Stachys Byzantina) are a soft, fuzzy, gray flowering perennial. This plant also has a look that cannot be compared to anything else. It is unique. The base of the plant looks exactly like ears on a lamb. It is incredibly soft to the touch and its color doesn’t clash with anything else in the garden. The blooms are also unique looking in that they are tall, fuzzy spikes of tiny pink flowers. This plant is considered to be a perennial and a herb. I love this plant in bloom and without blooms. When the flower spikes have faded, I’m just as happy clipping them off and just having the “ears” left.

Sweet WilliamSweet WilliamSweet William (Dianthus Barbatus) is a member of that wonderful, sweet-smelling family that includes delicious, sweet-smelling Pinks. It ranges in colors from white to pink to lavender to red. This is a classic, cottage garden flower. Mixed together in various hues, and planted under rose bushes, you’ve planted a dynamite, cottage combination. This is described as a short-lived perennial, but I disagree. It should be described as a prolific self-seeder. It spreads its sweet-smelling self into large patches in the garden. And I’m so happy it does. I picked up a package of Sweet William seed at Jefferson’s Monticello because it was named after my lovable hubby. Over the years, it has turned into one of my favorite flowers.

Even though these prolific seeders do a great job, I help them out. I love to cut down the spent flower stalks that have gone to seed, dump the seed in my hand, and then sprinkle the seed in a bare spot that needs flowers. One year, as I “dead-headed” a large patch of Sweet William, I whacked the seed laden flower heads around inside a paper bag. At the end of my gardening session, I ended up with quite a lot of seed to scoop out into a new flower bed.

I love pictures in gardening magazines that show a large swathe of flowers all the same kind and color. This is the way to achieve those results. And on a budget, too. Happy gardening to all!

Building A Fruit Cage For My Blueberries

I decided that if I’m going to grow blueberries, I’d like to eat a few, too. Last year I stood next to my blueberries, with fist raised to the sky, and shouted at the birds in the trees, “This means WAR!” I will never again water, fertilize, and mulch berry bushes to harvest only three berries. With this declaration of war, the wildlife around my garden looked a little scared, but I knew somewhere in the trees they had a war room in place and were strategically planning their attack.

I announced to my husband, “This year I will win!”

He looked nervous but pronounced, “Of course you will dear. Now what are we referring to?”

“Blueberries! We are going to build a fruit cage!” I declared.

“Why do blueberries need to be caged?”

And thus it started. After exchanging many ideas, arguing a little and a lot of hand gestures, we started building a fruit cage for my blueberry bushes. I’m very proud. We used PVC pipe and glued only certain sections together, so that it can be taken apart and stored each year. It is 5 feet high and around 10 feet long. We attached wildlife netting to the piping with long twist ties and we pegged it down to the ground by taking a wire cutter and cutting long wire pegs out of coat hangers. This keeps it pegged to the ground and a little more stable. I’m very happy with it, but I think next year I will paint it a dark brown or black to make it less noticeable.

My children believe that any day now I will go out into the garden and find Chip and Dale, giving me a little innocent wave from inside the fruit cage.

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Pests In My Garden … And Why I Had To Call The Police

I debated many weeks over whether I should write about one of the worst days in my life. Some people said not to do it. Some said that maybe the lessons learned would help someone else. I decided to write about it, to not only help someone else, but to maybe bring healing to myself. Please hang with me, I promise my next post will be about blueberries.

I’m a traditional mom. I work in our home and raise our 2 children, ages 5 and 13. We live in a nice, quiet neighborhood in the suburbs. I never expected any trouble.

About 8 weeks ago, around lunch time, my oldest son, Nathan, came upstairs and let me know someone was knocking on the front door. I told him not to worry, it was probably a salesman, don’t answer the door. They will go away. I was preparing to jump in the shower when Nathan came back. He told me the person at the door was holding the door knob and shaking the whole door in its frame! I first thought maybe Nathan had misunderstood the situation. Then I realized something must be wrong. How do you misunderstand a shaking door? It took me about 5 seconds to race downstairs. I told Nathan, “Take your brother upstairs and if you hear me scream – dial 911!”

I looked outside the front door and saw no one. I looked on the street and saw a car I had never seen before in front of my neighbor’s house. A man sat in the driver’s seat. I took about 10 seconds to watch him and noticed he seemed nervous. He looked up and then down the street as if he was watching for someone. I immediately realized that something was wrong. I quickly ran from window to window looking outside for anyone that shouldn’t be there. Nothing. Nothing again. What about there? As I reached the window over our basement door, I saw a bag of tools lying in the grass. I didn’t immediately see a person. I pressed my nose against the window and saw a man at my basement door.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Someone was breaking into my house! In a single split second, primal instincts came flooding into me. Protect my children, protect my children, protect my children! I had no weapons and no time. I screamed, “Call the police!” I hoped Nathan had heard me. Then it occurred to me. Scream. Scream as loud as you can! They can’t make me shut up and I’ll be the loudest siren I can be hanging out of this window. I threw open the window and let it rip, adding a few curse words directed at them for good measure! The two men below me stumbled back away from the house and looked up at me in the window. I don’t know what they were thinking, but I can tell you the look on their face was one of utter amazement. They didn’t think any one was home. And I guess they were amazed at how loud I was. They scooped up their tool bag and ran as fast as they could. Out of my garden, through the gate, and into their getaway car. I ran from window to window as I watched them flee.

My heart was racing and I was drenched in sweat. I grabbed my cell phone and called my husband, out of breath I told him in one sentence what had happened. In one sentence, he told me, “I’m on my way!” Click. I found my children, hidden in a closet, on the phone with the 911 dispatcher. I tried my best to calm them and talk to the dispatcher on the phone. She immediately drilled me with every question you could think of, from what the men looked like to information concerning the car. She reassured me the police were on their way and asked if we were hurt. She was with my children while I tried to protect them. Thank God for 911 dispatchers. Whatever they are paid is not nearly enough. Thank God for police officers. One officer came directly to the house, while several others drove to nearby parking lots looking for the car I had just described to the dispatcher. One officer checked our basement for evidence and found they had broken a window trying to get in. Glass was everywhere! Police took photos of everything, even the footprints in the soft dirt at my garden gate. I appreciate everything the police did that day. We often don’t give them the thanks they deserve.

Needless to say, I was upset and kept thinking what would have happened had I got in the shower just a few minutes before or if Nathan had not heard them rattle the front door. I truly believe God protected my family that day and I’m so grateful. It has been difficult for my family to get past this horrible event. There have been many sleepless nights. My youngest runs upstairs any time someone rings our doorbell. I’m sure it will just take some time for us to feel safe again.

I know this post is not technically about gardening, but it did happen in my garden and I wanted to share it with you. The burglars have left my garden, but have not been erased from my mind. When I look outside I still see those men standing next to my flower bed. In the end, I’m glad nothing was taken and no one was hurt. We had to replace a window and clean up a lot of glass.

My family and I learned many things from the police department and I’m grateful for their help:

A home security system can be a great deterrent – we now have one.

Even if you don’t choose to buy a security system – buy a security sign for your lawn. Some can be bought on eBay.

Drill solid brass pins through the upper and lower sashes of your windows. This is especially helpful on lower level windows. Thankfully, our basement windows were pinned already.

One officer recommended getting a large breed of dog. This is currently being discussed in our household and we will probably do this.

Robbers brake into houses most often in the daytime, when they believe homeowners are away at work. They are not looking for confrontation with anyone and want to rob an empty house. The officers told me to always answer a knock on the door. Ask loudly through the closed door who the person is and, if it is a sales call, tell them through the closed door to go away. This lets any potential robber know you are at home.

They recommended locks on our garden gates, which we immediately added. In essence, you are throwing as many roadblocks, as you can, in front of the burglar.

Between locks, pins, dogs, and security systems, we hope we are sealed up like Fort Knox.

Star Trek and Mother Earth

I just went to see the new Star Trek movie. Yes, I’m a gardener and a Star Trek fan. The movie was really great! I enjoyed it very much! I know. You’re asking – so what? Well I had a gardening revelation during the movie. Yes – I know that’s even worse. I’m having gardening thoughts during a high action movie like Star Trek, but hear me out.

The beautiful blue sky

The movie story takes place on space ships and 3 or 4 different planets. How can you differentiate planets in a science fiction movie? How do you highlight the planet Earth? The answer is green and blue. Every time they showed Earth you could see green grass, green trees, blue sky. Earth also had some futuristic, tall buildings but with them you also saw nature. Mother Earth. The big blue and green marble. Without these things it’s not our beautiful home. Our beautiful planet.

At the beginning of the movie, you see Captain Kirk on a planet. It is not Earth. As he walks, in the background you see red trees. It gives you the impression of someone walking through a slaughter house with blood everywhere. But it is not blood, it is the foliage and nature of another planet. A planet that is not our beloved home. There is no green foliage. The beautiful green that is my favorite color. It’s not our blue and green marble hanging in the universe.

A green leaf, sign of life

On Star Trek – Next Generation, one of the first shots on the show is of the resident robot, Data, in a setting that looks like the Garden of Eden. The garden is not real, it is a hologram created on the ship’s holodeck. The creators of the show wanted it to look as though gardens were a very rare element in the future. I certainly hope this doesn’t come true. An article in an organic magazine stated that as years have gone by more and more young people choose not to go into any agricultural field of study. We have less and less farmers. Less and less horticulturalists. And in the future we will have even less. I worry for our nation and for the ability for us to feed ourselves. I feel we must encourage our children to love nature, know where our food comes from, develop an interest in growing food and pass this knowledge on to their own children.

The astronauts that walked on the moon said the most beautiful sight to them was the Earth. Earth. The beautiful blue orb in the moon sky. It represented home, everything they knew and loved. I was struck during the Star Trek movie by how much I love our Earth. God must be pleased as He looks down upon his lovely creation. We are so lucky to look up to the blue sky, feel the green grass under our toes, watch butterflies twirl around us. So much of life is filled to overflowing with the trivial things of life. Today I looked up to the beautiful blue sky and the green plants all around me. I encourage you to look at the green and the blue that is around you. To plant something today. And to teach your kids to plant, too.

Is My Gingko Tree a He or a She?

I think my Gingko tree is having an identity crisis. You see, Gingkos can be male or female. I bought the tree from a reliable plant nursery with the guarantee that it was a male Gingko. Female Gingko trees produce a weird looking fruit. When this fruit falls to the ground and rots it smells like the nastiest thing you can think of. On a rare occasion, a male Gingko can be hit with a late spring freeze which changes it from a male tree into a female tree. The tree coming close to death causes it to try to produce fruit in order to reproduce. It is an amazing thing and apparently from all the information I’ve gotten does not happen very often. Of course this would happen to my tree – nothing in my life is ever normal.

Gingko leaves in the fallSo, you might ask me why would I buy a Gingko tree to start with. Well, it is one of the most beautiful trees in the fall. The yellow coloring is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Then the tree drops its leaves almost all at once, leaving you with a circle of bright yellow fallen leaves under the tree. With a large Gingko tree, it is an amazing sight. I have heard there are many old Gingko trees at the University of Georgia campus and one day I’m going to go see them in the autumn. There is a beautiful example of a large old Gingko in our little town and every autumn I always plan my daily route around that particular house. But, unfortunately, my little guy turned girl is only seven feet tall and doesn’t seem to want to grow faster or taller.

Gingko leavesWhy am I talking about a problem that happens in the fall? Because for the past few springs I have stood next to the tree, begging it to not make fruit. However, my pleas of “Please don’t make fruit!” have failed, and once again I see the beginning of tiny fruit on its branches. I have come to the conclusion that I will have to cut it down and replace it with a different tree. For now, however, there is very little fruit for me to pick up in the fall but I worry that when it grows large I will not be able to keep up with it’s stinky fruit production. I think it has to go. I’m sad. Does anyone have an opinion? Should I keep it or cut “Stinky” down?

My English Garden

Okay, first I would like to apologize for not posting as often as I should. If you’re going to have a blog and not post very much – that’s kinda stupid. Sorry. I got lost in motherhood and to be honest, I love to garden much more than I love to write about gardening. I’ve spent a lot of time writing comedy lately and really enjoying it. I hope in the near future to start a blog for my comedy writing.

So often I would work in the garden and tell myself I Inside the Garden Gateshould write a post about what I’m doing but then I would go in and realize I need to start dinner or homework needs to be graded. I’ve had a lot of emails from friends, followers, and family telling me to get off my bohonkous and write. They have suggested I get more personal and less clinical. Put in lots more photos and talk about what I’m doing. Okay. Okay.

Well. I’m a forty-something lady, with two sons, a wonderful hubby and a beautiful, never to be finished garden. When I’m not in the garden, my nose is pressed against the window looking into the garden. If it’s sunny outside and I’m not in the garden I feel a little guilty. I somehow think it can’t live without me. I really do think gardening is a form of an obsessive compulsive disorder. I really do love it, though.

Garden - North SideThe style of my garden is an English cottage garden. Yes, that’s right an English garden built in a suburb outside of Atlanta, Georgia. I’ve been studying lately the connection between Southern gardens and English gardens and they are very similar. You could take a picture of a Savannah or Charleston garden and swear you were in England. Boxwoods, ivy, roses. A lot of the same plant types are used in both.

My garden has lots of ivy, roses, hydrangeas, viburnums, itea, ornamental grasses, etc. I love Lamb’s ears; they add a wonderful silver color to the garden. I’m in love with flowering shrubs and plants that reseed themselves like Sweet William, and Balloon flowers. I love herbs like lemon balm, catnip and chives. I have planted lots of chives around my roses to help deter pests. My lemon balm photographs are in an Asian cookbook. If anyone has any great recipes for lemon balm then please e-mail them to me. I have a lot of lemon balm!

Viburnum - Summer SnowflakeOne of my most favorite plants is my viburnum cultivar “Summer Snowflake.” It is so wonderful when it is in bloom and in my region they can get to be 12 feet tall. More like a small tree than a shrub. I have planted many around my fence to add height to the fence. In our neighborhood we can only have 6 foot tall fences. The viburnum gives a sense of privacy.

I try during the spring and summer to cut flowers to bring into the house. I love the old “still life” paintings of flowers One of my rosesand fruit and tabletop scapes. What do you think of my “still life” photo of flowers? I’m very happy with it. Flowers make me happy. I sometimes think I would like to take pictures of my summer flowers and frame them for my walls. Then I could see them all year.

Still Life with RosesRoses Close UpI’m trying to grow fruit in the garden, too. I have a small amount of strawberries. I also have 3 small blueberry bushes which turn a lovely red color in the fall. Last year I didn’t get many blueberries as they were still too young to have much fruit. I think this year I will have to fight the birds, chipmunks, and rabbits for those blueberries! I also have a fig tree in a large pot. It came from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. No, I did not steal a cutting from his tree. They sell plants at a nursery on the grounds of Monticello. My understanding is that it was propagated from a cutting from one of his Brown Turkey fig trees. According to an arborist there, he was quite the fig farmer! Baby StrawberriesI’m not sure if that is true, but I still think of it as Jefferson’s fig. I leave it in a large decorative pot so that harvesting is easier and I can prune it to keep it small. The figs I harvest (2-3 dozen a year) taste spectacular. I am anxious to grow more fruit and veggies. I would love raised veggies beds on the south side of our garden. There is always something to wish and plan for. Bye for now. Happy gardening!

Garden - South Side

Angel with the RosesBay Window GardenSweet William

Increasing The Shrubs In Your Garden

Gardening can be an expensive hobby with buckets, watering cans, and shovels to buy. By the time you have invested in a few good tools, you find you have very little money to spend on plants. A great way to save money on plants is propagating what you already have in your landscape. Especially if you have a plant that you think is really terrific and you want more of it. It is by far the best way to save money in the garden and a lot of fun to boot. And if you have children, it’s great to get them in on the act, too. My 9 year old son has been gardening with me since he was a toddler.

There is nothing like planting a shrub that you have started from a cutting, nurtured, and then planted in the garden. The simple act of pruning a shrub to maintain size or shape can provide you with plenty of shoots to root for cuttings. Unfortunately, the more difficult a plant is to propagate, the more expensive it is in the nursery. Luckily, the majority of shrubs are easy to root from cuttings and this is the subject I will cover here.

Types of Cuttings: Soft, Half-ripe, and Hard 

Cuttings are the most commonly used method for increasing shrubs. There are three different types of cuttings you can take from your shrub: soft cuttings, half-ripe cuttings, and hardwood cuttings. Many gardening books and manuals will often tell you touse one type of cutting for one type of shrub and another type of cutting for another type of shrub. In all honesty, this does not always work that way. I have taken many different types of cuttings from a plant, been successful with some and then tried to duplicate my process the following year only to fail miserably. My best advice is to try soft cuttings first, then half-ripe and finally hardwood cuttings and judge for yourself which is working best. A pot containing a dry, dead stick or a mass of green mush will tell you how well you’re doing. And by the way – experiment – that’s how to become a good gardener. Experiment and fail and learn from your mistakes. Many famous and legendary gardening gurus when interviewed have said the secret to their success has been that through their failed experiments they have learned to more closely observe the plant – its needs and temperament.

Soft Cuttings

Trim below leaf nodeThese are cuttings taken from the growing tips of the branches and trimmed just below a node (a node is the point at which leaves occur on the shoot). The best time to take soft cuttings is during late spring and early summer. If success is achieved and roots form, you could have a well-established plant by autumn. The easiest way of taking the cutting is to remove it from the parent plant by cutting it off with hand clippers. Select a shoot 3-8 inches long. Clip the branch off just above a set of leaves. This allows the shrub to continue making future shoots from this cut area. Then take your cutting and trim the branch off just below a leaf node. Discard this bit. Next remove all leaves from bottom 2/3 of shoot. I sometimes leave only a couple of leaves on the top of the shoot for photosynthesis purposes. The bottom one inch of the cutting can then be dipped in rooting hormone. Studies have shown an excess of rooting hormone can actually retard the rooting process so use only a very small amount. I have two small children toddling around my potting bench so I choose to not use any chemical rooting helpers. My rate of propagation is probably not as high as it could be, but my children and I are not breathing in anything potentially harmful.

Inset cutting into soilAfter you have prepared the shoot, insert it into a small pot of potting soil. First, make a deep hole in the soil with a pencil or your finger, then insert the shoot. Only bury half of the shoot in the soil. It is important that the bottom of the cutting be in contact with the soil. Firm it in by inserting your finger or pencil to the side of the cutting and pack the soil around it. A mixture of potting soil heavy on Perlite will work well in rooting cuttings. I add a heavy dose of sand to the soil which can also help.

The problem with soft cuttings is just that – they are soft and delicate and prone to wilt. To prevent this it needs to be kept in humid conditions. A clear, plastic bag covering the pot works well to keep in moisture. Be sure to support the bag off of the shoot with sticks poked in around the edges of the pot. Without plastic, I have arranged cuttings in their pots under a big leaved shrub. It tends to be moist, shady, and humid under there and can work well to protect them. I am currently housing five or six cuttings under a large hydrangea bush and they all seem to be doing rather well.

Check the cuttings regularly. If any show signs of rot, remove them from the other potential cuttings and discard. The cuttings may root in as little as a few weeks or may take a couple of months. Some may not be well-rooted until spring the following year.

Half-ripe Cuttings

Half-ripe cuttings are taken between early summer and early autumn. This type of cutting is generally easier to root than soft cuttings. They are much less likely to wilt. Although the bottom of the cutting is stronger the growing tip is still soft and delicate. Take these cuttings from the parent plant exactly the same way as in soft cuttings. Prepare the shoot, trim it up, and use hormone powder if desired. However, these cuttings do not need as much warmth and humidity as softwood cuttings. They can be placed on a bench in the shade.

Hardwood Cuttings

These are the easiest of all cuttings to root. Take these when the leaves have fallen, using current seasons growth which is ripe and woody. Cut these branches 6-12 inches long and discard the soft tip part of the branch. The top cut you will make needs to be just above a dormant node and the bottom cut just below a dormant node. Prepare a pot with potting soil, as before, and insert cutting. Keep this in a sheltered spot and by late spring or late summer you should have a well-rooting cutting.

Beautiful New Shrubs

Finished cutting potted upWhen you start, remember rooting plants from cuttings is easy. I have a lovely new hydrangea all thanks to my husband and his paint brush. While painting the trim on our house, my husband hacked at a hydrangea branch that was in his way. After being handed the sad, tattered shoot I frowned at him. My husband is a wonderful man but in no way a gardener. I took the shoot, trimmed it up, and prepared it in a pot of compost. If it didn’t root, I would not have been upset. In fact, I was so busy I didn’t really check on it for a month or more. The happy end of my story is I planted a beautiful new hydrangea in another area of my garden. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Have fun gardening!

Have any questions? Please contact me.

Do You Have A Magic Swing?

Do you have Magic in your garden? Do you need Magic in your garden? No, I don’t mean garden gnomes. Magic – the kind of magic you get from a magic swing. What is a magic swing? It’s a swing in your garden that gives you the permission to sit and do nothing. Do nothing but look around and enjoy your garden. Everyone should have their own Magic Swing. A very popular gardening magazine recently took a poll and found that gardeners rarely sit in their garden and enjoy what they’ve created. What dummies we are! We spend so much time creating beauty and so little time enjoying it.
The Magic Swing
I have installed a swing in my yard that my son and I call “the magic swing.” We call it this because when you sit down, magic happens. You relax and forget the stress of the day. I try very hard, even in the middle of a busy spring, to sit and enjoy what I have created in my garden. So stop mowing, pruning, and weeding – at least for a little while – and sit in your “magic swing.” Gardeners are magicians – we take barren soil and turn it into a beautiful painting. My complements to you, the magician and artist! Have fun gardening!