Deer Gardener says it’s time to pick rose hips

  • Sep. 7, 2009 6:00 p.m.

It’s nearly time to pick rose hips if you are inclined. The luscious hips should be loaded with vitamin C right now. Dry them for tea or pop ’em in your mouth for a “C” hit, a healthy but nasty feeling in your mouth.I am anticipating my neighbours’ Autumn Crocus – ‘Colchicum’. These interesting plants have a mauve bloom that comes up now, with the leaves coming later on to nourish the corm. I researched them to learn that there are other colors, even doubles available, but they are pricey. So far, I haven’t found a Canadian source but it is early times.The Montbretia or ‘Crocosmia aurea’ are splendid with the tiger lily, calendula and nasturtium for fall garden colour. Montbretia come in yellow-orange, vermillion and crimson. They thrive here in our moist acid soil without being a nuisance, which is pleasing. They are related to iris and are corms. Watch for them and trade something with a friend to get a start.In the late spring I placed a piece of five foot wide (rounded to three foot wide), wire fencing over my daylily, poppy and tiger lily beds to help them withstand the wind and rain. It rounded to be about a foot high and sits on the ground. This has been wonderful support, the flowers have held up so well. I will use this support method in other spots next spring. The deer also distrust the wire and avoided nibbling the daylily.I have been drying some seeds, then placing them in snack size plastic ziploc bags with the date and name on them. Wildflower seeds like to be planted in the fall, naturally, so don’t wait too long to spread them around where you want them to grow. California poppy need to freeze in order to germinate.If you keep your own sweet William and yellow daisies over, plant a pinch from them now for next year’s abundance. Take the flowerless growth near the base of the plant that is a branch, that’s where the roots will come from. They grow easily with just a little protection from being disturbed in the spring.We have about a month until Jack Frost begins to show up. If you have plants you wish to prolong the life of, make a plan early to protect them. A plastic cloche, or moving them to the greenhouse works.I am eager to set out all six of my new hellebores. They are all different! The winter flowering will be fun to watch. I bought two from my friend Marlene that she grew from seed. One of them is small, but three years old. Wow, that is slow growing huh? They need a less acid soil, about 6ph, so I have to place them where they can be limed once a year. Roses also like some lime, so that would be a likely companion.Roses are pretty sad looking all winter, but will provide the half-shade hellebore like in the summer. This winter they will be potted up and I’ll plant the whole pot, that way I can move them when I find the best location. I am still thinking it through, if you have suggestions for me, talk to me at deergardener@hgqci.org