Deer Gardener looking for bulbs and insect repellers

  • Sep. 19, 2008 6:00 a.m.

Lovely sunny days need to be spent digging in the soil. The re-vamping of my flower bed by the house is coming along nicely. While I was away I hired a man to dig out all the bulbs and set aside my huge primroses in grocery bags to hold some soil on the roots. The wondrous weather allowed me to get right in the bed and go a garden fork deeper.Ever wonder where the soil sinks to? Well I can tell you it compacts a lot! I dug out at least as many bulbs again as had been dug before along with a lot of big rocks and tree roots. As the ground compacts it pushes up sticks and rocks until they eventually hit the surface, and jar your arm as you dig. It is surprising to me how dry the soil is ‘down there’. The water doesn’t penetrate it so much as pool up above and rot your roots.While I was in the depths, I added some fertilizer (basic 6-8-6) and put the top soil in the bottom of the hole so the other soil can be improved as I go along. This was time-consuming, but it seems I am here for a long time yet, so it will be worth it.I am inspired to search out some new bulbs for this patch. Tulips of various types can bloom for over a month. Daffodils bloom for at least a month prior to that. If anyone has some personal ‘jewels’ to share, email me. My bulbs have been the same for way too long.My friend Ev loaned me her bulb catalogue to browse and it clearly marks deer-resistant bulbs, so we are not alone in our Deer Gardening. Of course the tulips are not deer resistant, but daffs and some others are.From digging out and separating I have way too many primrose (the white globe ones especially) and blue or white bell bulbs. If you want some, email me. First come first gifted.My tiger lily are finally blooming, well some of them. They are lovely, deer-free plants. Seems like the deer will eat them if they can find them, when they are young shoots. Mine are planted amongst a lot of daffodils and the shoots are camouflaged. I have a very hard time getting my day lily to bloom without being nipped off. Perhaps I can camouflage them also.We need to be vigilant with pest management. The spiders are settling in to lay their eggs. They seem to spin huge webs this time of year, usually across the door to my greenhouse. I loath the feeling of spider web across my face, but I guess you would be kind of weird to like it.It was common practice in the old days to make wreaths of various herbs including bay leaf and lavender, and hang them near doorways. Partly they waft a homey smell, and partly they repel insects. I am told that bay leaves in your door and window jambs discourage spiders. Anyone else with some folklore along these lines? Something to keep earwigs away would be really good!One pest management plan is to remove all the grass and shrubs that may be touching your home or greenhouse, providing a highway for insects to intrude. Have a good look around and try to leave about six inches of sand around buildings. Insects are not interested in plain sand.I am watching for your home remedies about insects… talk to me please. deergardener@hgqci.org

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