It all started innocently. My friend and neighbor asked if I would be willing to put my garden on display for the local cat shelter garden tour. Being fond of cats and thinking that the tour at the end of June would spur me into action earlier in the season, I agreed.
Forty days and forty nights of rain later (actually I didn’t count the days, but April was the wettest month on record in our area), I realized that I was in trouble. People complain about weeds – and, yes, I had plenty of those – but I also had trees growing everywhere. Last year was a bumper crop for acorns and it seems that the squirrels didn’t need all of their stash last winter.
Thankfully, the weather turned a few weeks ago, albeit a little hot and humid. So with a friend I reclaimed the gardens; at least from the flora. Little did I know it would be the fauna that would be my next undoing.
Every gardener dreams of a moment. One of deep satisfaction that the garden is well tended; that the worst is behind you and that your efforts have not been in vain.
I was pleased that I had reached this moment – at least with one of my gardens – with six weeks to go until the tour. The bones of the garden, the perennials and hardscaping, were done; only the “dressing” remained. So, I decided to once again tread where those in deer country dread….adding annuals (see April 16 post).
Lantana is a wonderful annual. Floriferous and low growing, it makes for a lovely underplanting. It took several hours to plant and water, but at the end of the evening I was smitten with the effect. The iris were bloom, predominantly shades of purple. The lantana, in shades of yellow, set them off beautifully.
However, by the following morning, the bed was ravaged. Hoof prints abound and lantana were spewed hither and yonder. But none appeared to be eaten. Rather, the deer in a fit of artistic mayhem or in gastronomic protest simply pulled them out of the ground; almost all 30 of them!
Running deer resistance studies for the state means dealing with these creatures on a regular basis; no fences, no chemicals allowed. But I that day I made an exception. I replanted the lantana and dowsed them once with Liquid Fence. It has been two weeks and I am still waiting….but so far so good. The notes in my ledge will cite this one infraction, but honestly I think it was worth it!
For a list of plants on trial, check out
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