GARDENING BY RONELLA: Repel deer; move, water perennials
by Ronella Stagner, Columnist
Sep 25, 2013 | 80 80 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Many gardeners are telling me that deer are becoming a real problem. They come right up to the back deck and eat the potted plants. The plants must have special flavor in late summer and early fall. In checking into some newer repellents, I have found one that is called Repels All, which not only repels deer but all kinds of smaller animals. In reading about this product, I thought of the time that something was eating my tomatoes, but only the ones about two feet up on the vines. I checked the vines at all times of the day and couldn’t catch the rascals eating my tomatoes. Finally, one day I caught him (or her) at the site. It was a large terrapin standing up on his hind feet where he could reach far up on the plants. He had gotten through the fence but couldn’t find his way out. So, with some help from my husband, I carried him out of the area. It seems that there is always some critter bound to eat the fruits of your labor.

For many gardeners, now is an ideal moving time. There are always some perennials that don’t get enough sun and others that have outgrown their place in the garden. For the next two or three weeks, these perennials and even some smaller blooming shrubs can successfully be moved. They will have time for their roots to get a start before freezing weather. Walk through your flowerbeds now to decide which plants need to be moved. I have found more success moving perennials now than in spring when the roots are not settled before the plant is putting out many leaves. The plants moved in fall will need much water before going into winter.

The reason for fall planting of perennials is that in fall the cooler air causes the sap to stop and the plant no longer concentrates on making green leaves and blooms but concentrates on the root system and all this activity takes place while the top gradually dies down.

Have you bought some bulbs and are trying to decide when to plant them? The rule of thumb, or an old saying, is that hyacinths and jonquils should be planted when the maple leaves begin to turn color. It’s an old idea but always works. All the smaller bulbs also can be planted then. But not tulips till the end of November.

Watering all perennials at this time of year is ultra important, but especially important for azaleas and rhododendrons, roses, astilbe, hostas and tall garden phlox. It’s sure death for them to go into winter with dry soil.

It seems like a little bit of freedom not to have to do so much work on the lawn and flowerbeds from now through the winter. My grandparents had always lived in the same house on the Lewis farm and their life was pretty much the same from year to year. One thing that always impressed me was that both of them knew how to relax and enjoy life.

My Pa had many winter chores to do since he was so versatile. He could resole shoes, cane a chair, make brooms, and many other needed items on the farm. But he sure knew how to relax. Pa always found time to fish on Sundays unless company had announced that they were coming, he loved to hunt quail and he loved to just take his dog and walk in the deep woods. Pa also loved to play cards and his favorite game was Sell Pitch. Pa would enjoy a whiskey toddy or a bottle of beer, though only occasionally.

But Pa most loved to read. He loved Western novels and detective books. I remember that the old attic had many stacks of Zane Grey books. He claimed that he only needed four hours of sleep a night. He said that to sleep eight hours meant that he had wasted a third of his life sleeping. I do know that he often would read till midnight and get up early to work in the fields.

My grandmother, Ma, would sit up at night on the other side of the old library table with her needlework. She crocheted, knit, even socks, but her real love was making her beautiful quilts. If she saw a quilt somewhere or even a picture, she would go home and with her trusty scissors and some newspaper, she would copy the pattern to perfection. She was a great seamstress. When my mother was in college, she would send Ma some fabric and a picture of a dress she wanted; Ma could make it and send it to her and it always fit. Pa wouldn’t wear store-bought underwear so she always sewed his underwear, both winter and summer. Neither of them ever complained about what they did for each other.

Ma always found time to read her Bible and, even though, as she got old and her health declined, she couldn’t go to church, she spent the Sabbath as she thought it should be spent. She was one of the most deeply religious persons I ever knew though life had dealt her some horrendous blows.

My wonderful grandparents worked hard to live a gracious life with every thing their hard work could provide. Yet, they knew how and when to relax and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Please feel free to call me at 270-522-3632.
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