Saturday, July 08, 2006

Deer Patrol

Saturday morning and it's getting late already. It's almost 7 and my only accomplishment is my morning walk. During the work week, my morning walks are brief and serve as a jump start to the day. On weekends, rain or shine, I take my time and try to see how things are growing and what areas need attention. When two gardeners try to take care of a couple acres and 15,000 potted plants, there's no doubt the list is always formidable. Gail reminds me of this quite often!

It's foggy this morning and 64 degrees. The sun is burning through and the forecast for a 90 degree day looks accurate. A single raven has been sitting on the tall tamarack next to the lower daylily nursery. It has been talking to itself for almost an hour, apparently lonesome for companionship. Its call reminds me of a book by Bernd Heinrich, Ravens In Winter, which I really enjoyed several years ago. All his books are good with inherent messages, forest facts and an understanding of how nature works with man.

Morning walks are deer patrols too as this time of year the does are out and about with their fawns and gardens are a great place to teach youngsters the beauty of a garden snack. I'm not enamored with these critters when they're in the garden as they can do great damage in a single night. I have used Tree Guard for years as a deterrent and have had super luck with it. It is a latex, spray-on product with a very bitter agent named Bitrex and an accompanying reminder scent that tells animals they already have bitten into something they don't like. Tree Guard has been well tested and it sticks tight to foliage for over three months have to spray it on to make it work.

I sprayed the lower hosta gardens two months ago when the plants were growing well but I never sprayed the retail area at all. The deer hadn't been around and then I headed west for Seattle. I noticed a little damage upon my return and then a few days later noticed with disappointment that they had trimmed the flower scapes off a whole section of my favorites. Tough doing any hybridizing without the flowers.

I have sprayed everything again and things look under control this morning save for a section of 'Sum and Substance' sports which I obviously missed and the center of a few big 'Tall Boy'. I don't know what flavor 'Tall Boy' is in deer flavors but it must be good as they always love it.

The astilbes will be in full glory in a week. If you haven't incorporated this fine plant in your landscape, drop by and see the colors and the height variations from 10" to 5 feet. If you travel down around north central/eastern Massachusetts, stop by Leo Blanchette's in Carlisle and you'll see the best collection going. Seawright Gardens is right there too so it's worth the stop. Today I notice another 10 varieties in bloom and Gail's display garden is probably at about 1/4 bloom and coloring up quickly. This is a special sight.

There's lots to see on a morning walk. It's often cooler and quieter here and the traffic from the pond is minimal before campers head to town for their morning papers. It's an enjoyable time to savor.

From the hill above Peacham Pond where the lawns are growing quicker than the mower,

Gardeninig wishes,

George Africa


Gerry Danen said...

Nice blog, George. Your photos are a great addition to your stories. I hope the deer stay away for you! :)

Anonymous said...

Ravens in Winter, I read that book several years ago. The dedication of the man to spend Christmas holidays in a unheated, drafty old cabin to observe ravens, packing carcass up the mountain, it was a good book.
I use Bobbex Deer Repellant it works well but its pricey and also has to be sprayed on. With 4 dogs you would hope the deer would stay away but the dogs get lazy and the deer cruise thru.
Certainly enjoy your accounts, wish I had the energy to get up at 4 am to observe nature.
Thanks. CJ

Jo*in*Vermont said...

really nice blog, George and I love your website. the virtual tours are beautiful and I hope to visit them 'in person' sometime soon!