A boletus mushroom — they’re out there! (Neal Herbert/Yellowstone National Park)

Deer Gardener: Fall Fair flowers and mushrooms, too

“It’s about display, not necessarily points, although they have some really nice prizes.”

Fall Fair time is here again. It is difficult to find “show worthy” vegetables and flowers with our minimal warmth, but do try to submit something for us to admire. The catalogues have been available in Bayview Market all month. Baking and craft is another area many of us can compete in. The children’s categories have not had as many entries as they used to… maybe we could fill some rainy days creating art and Fairy Gardens? It’s about display, not necessarily points, although they have some really nice prizes.

While walking my dog around the fairgrounds I found two boletus mushrooms, which were on the way out (not edible), but two army slugs (slugosa militante) were just wolfing them down. Okay, I made up the Latin name. I did find some chanterelles, which I ate secretly, so I didn’t have to share.

Before Bible Camp cooking duties took over my life, I planted two new clematis in a permanent location, all trellised and snug. The deer promptly munched the new leaves so I suspect clematis are not on the top of their list as a food source, but I was still disappointed. I needed to respray the deerskyyd and cayenne-pepper discouragements the rain had washed away. Due diligence pays off — lack of it does not.

Aphids have been reported, but mostly in greenhouses. So far I have not had an outbreak, but it’s wise to search out the little green chewy creatures to avoid a huge problem. Safer’s Soap or any “green,” Earth-friendly soap spray will deter them. Once aphids are knocked off the plant, they are done for. They do not climb up and start again, so you don’t need to try to scoop them up. New growth on rose bushes is a prime target for aphid outbreaks, and they are easy to spot.

Dahlias are blooming in my greenhouse in pots, and I was shocked to see the blooms with sowbugs devouring them. I have always blamed earwigs for the dahlia flower destruction, which they also do for sure. Another stroke against sowbugs.

Bambi trimmed my edible pod peas also, to keep me from vanity, so thank you, I guess. They are the only thing that was doing really quite well, except the volunteer potatoes… gotta love those. Theoretically the peas should branch out and come back.

I know someone with a glassed-in porch who has amazing success with her hanging baskets this year. They are truly huge and thriving. Mine are rather sad by comparison, but comparing is out of fashion, right?

Why do we garden again? Remind me someone, please.