Monday, April 24, 2017

Five Annual Flowers That Don't Mind Pocono Mountain Frosty Springs

April in the Poconos can be very unpredictable. One day it's 70 degrees, and the next day we could have a dusting of snow. Right now many nurseries and big box stores in my neck of the woods are stocking their shelves with all kinds of annuals and perennials. Since I have been bitten by the "planting bug", I have to choose wisely. So, let me tell you about some annuals that don't mind a little chill.

 Sweet Alyssum. If you haven't grown it, it is a lovely little plant. It can easily spread a foot wide and anywhere from 3 to 8 inches tall depending on the variety. It likes the sun, but will tolerate some shade. It also is very drought tolerant as well. And it smells ... heavenly.  It comes in shades of white, pink, and lavender. And the biggest plus for me? Nothing eats it! Not deer, slugs, groundhogs, or squirrels. 

Calendula. Also known as Pot Marigold, it is a pretty flower with bright yellow or orange petals. It tolerates full sun to shade and grows 1 to 3 feet in height. Its petals can be added to soups, stews, and salads giving the dishes a slightly spicy taste.

Pansies are an early Spring staple here in the Poconos. They come in a multitude of bright colors. They grow 4 to 8 inches in height and and 8 - 12 inches in width.They absolutely love the cool weather and grow best in full sun or light shade. They will bloom brightly right into Summer before they need to rest. Shear them back, or deadhead them then, and they often return for a second flush of flowers in the Fall. 

Petunias? Yes, Petunias. They love to bask in the sun, but also do well in partial shade. They won't survive hard freezes, but are considered cold tolerant to temperatures hovering around 39 degrees. They come in a variety of types and sizes.

Snapdragons. They love sun, but do their best when temperatures are cooler. The come in an array of colors and sizes. I happen to love the dwarf varieties. Keep them well watered and pinched back  and they will continue to bloom right into Summer. 


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Pocono Mountain Deer Resistant Flowers

Deer resistant flowers are a matter of opinion.  The deer's opinion. To a deer, what might not look tasty today ... might look yummy tomorrow. Anyway, let me show you some flowers from my Pocono Mountain garden  over the years that the deer usually leave alone.
For me, Marigolds are deer-proof. They are a staple for me. From year to year, not a nibble. More than likely it's their pungent scent. Even mosquitoes don't like them!
Violas, sometimes called Johnny-Jump-Ups are another winner. Cute and cheerful. Volunteers show up every year, and I just plant more seeds in the area where the flowers have begun to dwindle.
One year I tried Lavender and found it worked very well. Unfortunately, It just didn't grow well in my garden. It was pretty though.
Snapdragons flourish for me.  Tall varieties are more popular, but I prefer dwarf plants.
 One year I had Shasta Daisies and Rose Campion blooming together. Pretty combination. The deer never touched them. 
Bleeding Hearts are another staple. I have lots of them. Just take divisions from a strong growing plant in early spring and plant them in other places. Voila! New plants. Bleeding Hearts are plants that keeps on giving.
Columbine is another good one. Occasionally, later toward the end of their blooming period, I would find nibbled-on leaves. 
Yarrow grows very well in my garden and spreads with each year.
Lambs Ear doesn't interest the deer at all. The fuzzy, soft pale green leaves are it's selling point, but I actually like the flower stalks more!
Daffodils ... of course. Pretty much every critter leaves them alone.
Alyssum is another deer-resistant plant. I have never seen deer touch it. I've also had great luck with Catmint, Salvia, Monarda, and Ajuga.

It's all trial and error. Try this ... try that and see what happens.
Oh, one other thing ... I have found that some plants that deer will leave alone ...
                                       Groundhogs absolutely ... love!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Pocono Mountain Beauties From Springs Past

Patience is a virtue. Unfortunately, in early April, I have very little.  Up in the mountains, Spring takes longer to arrive. Things are still brown and gray in April. In the lowlands, grass is greening up, daffodils are starting to bloom, and the buds on trees are swelling and showing color.  So, I present to you some Pocono Mountain flowering beauties from Springs past.
                                    What is Spring without Daffodils
or Bleeding Hearts?
Dandelions herald the arrival of Spring, too. Although considered a weed by most, they are still very pretty up close.
Tulips ... tall and elegant, they jubilantly welcome spring with open petals.
Short and dainty, Crocus brighten up even the tiniest corner of the garden
                    while Grape Hyacinths sway gently in the spring breeze.
Peonies always add a pop of color to the garden bed with little effort.
Pieris Japonica are just lovely with their little bell-shaped flowers.

One last thing ....
Be sure to cut some of these Spring-time beauties to enjoy inside!

Friday, March 31, 2017

April's Birth Flowers

                                         Happy Birthday April babies!


and Sweet Peas are your birth month flowers.

Daisies signify innocence, simplicity, cheerfulness, and playfulness. You might automatically think of white petals with yellow centers as the epitome of a ... daisy. Yet, flowers in the daisy family of Asteraceae are many ... and come in myriad of colors, styles, shapes, and heights. Take a peek at the photos below of flowers in the daisy family. You may be very surprised.
Yarrow or Achillea


                                      Echinacea or Purple Coneflowers
                                         Tithonia or Mexican Sunflowers
                                      Bachelor Buttons or Cornflowers
                                     and Dahlias to name just a few.

                                                             Now on to ...
                                                            Sweet Peas!

Sweet Peas, from the Genus - Lathyrus Odoratus ... are fragrant, annual climbers that can reach 5-6 feet in height. There is also a "bush type" plant perfect for flower pots. These lovely flowers represent ...

                                                or delicate pleasure.

                   And a Happy April Birthday to all!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

March Madness In The Poconos And How To Look On The Bright Side

Hmm, what can I say? The calendar might say it's Spring ... yet, it doesn't look or feel like it.  But I do know it is ... coming. 

The hungry deer are fed through the Winter
 so there will be healthy Mama does and new fawns in the Summer.
I winter sowed seeds in January
so I will have seedlings to plant out by late Spring.
I planted tulip bulbs late in the Fall
so I will have beautiful flowers to enjoy in May.
I potted up some amaryllis bulbs inside in late December
so there would be beautiful flowers to enjoy indoors in March.

Still waiting to see my first Robin ...
then I will know Spring is really here.