Monday, December 07, 2009

The Ginger Eaters

Monday, December 7, 2009

Twenty degrees above zero this morning as the steam clouds from Peacham Pond making ice became more clear as the sun rose above the now-naked tamaracks. This is the coldest morning temperature-wise although the winds of a couple days ago and again last night made a couple 24 degree days feel much colder.

Karl the Wonder Dog slept in this morning but with unpleasant reason. He had us up last night at 3 in the half moonlight to welcome four deer coming up from the reservoir to eat some apples in the yard. There's one poorly shapen little tree that has a hard skinned, rusty, almost olive colored apple that hangs tough this time of year. Since most of the apples have already fallen, the deer take to these trees with regularity, apparently knowing that good foods in good supply will soon turn to hardwood buds and young branches, raspberry and blackberry leaves, and conifers for the balance of the winter.

As Karl and I walked into the lower hosta garden, the abundance of deer tracks somehow reminded me of Christmas ferns and Asurums, the gingers I have come to be interested in. As we approached the dying yellow birch, the site of last night's animal buffet became obvious. The European gingers and some of the Christmas ferns had been eaten to ground level. Ferns and deer are matched during the course of the late fall and early winter and later on the deer can be seen pawing away the snow to get to something green. This was the first time I ever saw my gingers take a hit. Now I am wondering how they will look come spring. For whatever reason, the deer did not touch the Asurum canadense, the wild gingers (just below) native to the East.

My memory thought back to how beautiful the small but growing swathes of European ginger were in previous years. Almost 100% of gardeners who see them want to buy some and since the move to the new nursery, I haven't had time to get any ready or even get some moved into the display gardens for viewing. As hard as the deer ate them last night, garden viewing in this garden may be more limited next year.

As I read the various listservs, especially the daylily, daylily spider and hosta lists this time of year, occasional attention turns to controlling deer in the garden. As always I refer people to a page on our website that summarizes our experiences here in Marshfield.....deer experiences, not dear experience. Here's the link.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the temperature and barometer are changing as if to signal a nice day or two before the first snowstorm with potential arrives Wednesday in Vermont.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
Now on Facebook as just me: George Africa

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Randy Emmitt said...

Never heard of deer eating ginger. I have a friend that bought about $100 worth of ferns mail order, she planted them in the garden. A few days later all were eaten by the deer!

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Hi George! I learned several things from this post, for example, that deers like ferns. They eat my roses, phlox, nasturtium, but not ferns. Hmm, should I check it now when it's cold and all the above plants are gone? Karl is a good dog. I wish my Amur would wake us up because of a deer. No, he never barks! But he wakes us almost every night, because of his dog's business.
Thanks for your nice comment on my Green Thumb post. We go to Bainbridge Island from time to time. Several years ago, we were even thinking about moving there (we lived in MO then). But the day when we visited the island was grey and wet. That, plus a feeling of being isolated from the rest of the world,changed our minds.The good thing is - it's just a from us!

lynn'sgarden said...

'Morning, George! I love the ginger groundcover and was always told they ARE deerproof...guess your visitors were desperate or didn't read their 'do not eat' manual! I do hope they have no trouble coming back and staying around next year.
Ferns on the other hand~can never get them to stay around long enough to enjoy...

joey said...

Good stuff, George ... love ginger both in the garden and fresh for cooking :) Merry Christmas, dear friend, and heartfelt wishes for a Happy and prosperous New Year!