Monday, July 19, 2021

Slugs ... I Hate Slugs!

                                        Slugs.They are disgusting. slimy little eating machines.
I have no qualms about dispatching the buggers. One of the most effective ways of killing slugs is to use ... beer.  Fill a shallow container with beer and sink it into the soil so that the top of the container sits slightly above the soil line.  Highly attracted to the beer, the slugs crawl in, get drunk, can't climb out, and drown. Pictured above is just part of one night's haul.  Although not very attractive, I have beer-filled cat food cans dotting my garden beds.  On average there are 3 cat food cans per flower bed. I have a cat, so I have plenty of cat food cans.  Really, any small can or container will do. And the beer? I get the cheapest beer I can find.
Weather plays a big role in the proliferation of slugs. Cool, damp conditions are a slug's paradise. In the heat of summer, gardeners usually welcome the rain. A good rain sure beats having to lug around a garden hose or watering can to water thirsty gardens. Yet, it can have its downside. A string of rainy summer days is pure ecstasy for slugs.  Slugs are primarily night feeding creatures, but I have seen them crawling across the rain soaked soil in the middle of the day to zero in on a zinnia.
I have only 3 zinnias left. I was a bit too late in getting the beer bait out. Better late than never, and the beer did stop the rampage. As an extra deterrent, I sprinkled some crushed eggshells around the base of the remaining seedlings. Slugs supposedly don't like crawling across sharp edges of the eggshells. For me, they do seem to help tremendously.
Coffee grounds scattered at the base of plants is also known to be a deterrent
as well as a few pieces of copper wire twisted together and used as a barrier band around the base of a plant.  If you're not squeamish ...
use your fingers to pluck the slimy buggers off your plants and dispose of them in a container of soapy water.  Or get ...
some ducks! They think slugs are just yummy!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

July In The Poconos 2021

It's been a long time since I last posted to my blog. Life has a way of sometimes taking you down a different path. Things eventually work out ... and you go on from there. So, here I am back in my garden! My Happy Place!

This Summer here in the Poconos has been the wettest Summer I can recall in years. And my plants haven't been very happy about it. It's been a slow go ... to say the least.

My Heavenly Blue Morning Glories & Moonflowers are just barely climbing up the trellises. Cool temperatures and too much rain have made them sulk. Normally by mid-July they would happily be sprawling all over the trellises.

This is my little back corner garden off my back deck. My Hollyhocks in the back left corner look stunted and unhappy. I have a few Asiatic Lillies next to the small sunflower plant on the left that aren't very happy. The Catnip plant in the front on the right side is doing OK, but should be larger by now. That's a Little Miss Kim in the right hand corner ... she was transplanted to that spot last Fall, so I really didn't expect her to do much this year anyway. Maybe next year ....

This is my Front Deck Garden. Not too bad. My Astilbes are doing OK ... also have some Tall Purple & White Garden Phlox in the back center that are growing pretty normally. I actually pruned them back a few weeks ago. I find by doing that, the plants are somewhat shorter but produce more flowers in the later part of the Summer.  The Hydrangea in the front center (Strawberries & Cream) I bought a few weeks ago from one of the local supermarkets. I loved the colors! I have a feeling it's not Winter hardy in my zone (5A), but who cares! I thought it was pretty!

Now on the other hand ... Gotta love the Wildlife! Any Season ... any Time. You never know what kind of animal or bird might come visiting. 

                                           Happy Gardening!


Friday, May 1, 2020

The Birth Flower For May ... Lily Of The Valley

One of the prettiest flowers in the spring landscape is Lily of the Valley.  It is the birth flower for the month of May.

Lily of the Valley's tiny bell-shaped, richly fragrant flowers usually bloom from late April through May.  Grown from rhizomes, the plants grow to a height of approximately 6 inches tall and and 6 to 12 inches wide. It prefers a shady spot in rich moist soil.  As an added bonus, Lilly of the Valley are deer resistant.

Besides pretty white flowers, Lily of the Valley can also be found in a delicate shade of pink.

As for it's meaning, Lily of the Valley signifies  humility, sweetness, and purity.  The plant is also sometimes referred to as Lady's Tears.

Lily of the Valley is lovely growing in the garden

or tuck a bouquet into a cute container!

Thinking more along the lines of something more formal?  Lily of the Valley is absolutely stunning when added to a May bride's wedding bouquet.

Keep Lily of the Valley in a shady, moist spot and she will continue to spread her intoxicating sweet fragrance and grace your garden with  her dainty bell-shaped flowers for years to come.

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April Fools Day In The Poconos 2020 ... And Pandora's Box

Today is April 1st 2020. April Fools Day. It's supposed to be day filled with harmless pranks ... teasing, funny stories, and fun. Unfortunately, this year, April Fools Day, is filled with fear, sadness, and uncertainty.

COVID-19.  Coronavirus. I don't have to tell you what you already know. Our world is no longer the same world we knew just a few short months ago.  Yet, we have to ... believe

There is a story in Greek Mythology about a young woman who disobeyed the Gods by opening a box entrusted to her for safekeeping. She couldn't resist opening the box, and in doing so, released all manner of evils and sicknesses into the world. She hurriedly shut the box, leaving only one thing remaining inside the box. HOPE.  I have always thought of Spring as a time of HOPE and RENEWAL.  And what describes that better than Spring flowers! Hope these will lift your spirits a bit!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Shamrocks ... Myths, Legends, And Folklore

March 17th is St. Patrick's Day. It became so named in honor of St. Patrick who helped spread Christianity throughout Ireland during the 5th Century. Today, it is a festive holiday steeped in Irish customs and traditions that is celebrated throughout the world. The shamrock is probably the most recognized symbol of Ireland.
The first reference to the shamrock dates back to the 1500's. What the shamrock may have signified is what's questionable. Legend has it that St. Patrick used the three leafed shamrock to teach the pagan Celtic people of Ireland the concept of the Holy Trinity - God is one Being made up of three distinct Persons who co-exist as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It took forty years for St. Patrick to convert most of Ireland to Christianity. Yet, before St. Patrick had even begun to preach in Ireland, the Celtic people had long revered the little shamrock and had considered it a sacred plant. Being strong believers in mysticism and numerology, they believed the number three was very powerful. To them the number three represented things that were threefold in their culture such as the sky, earth, and the underworld. 

 It is easy to see why the Triquetra, or Celtic Knot, pictured below was already a prominent symbol in their culture.

This may seem like a odd question, but what exactly is a shamrock? There is really no true shamrock plant. According to most sources the word shamrock comes from the Irish word seamro'g. What varies is the word's meaning. Some say the word means little clover. Others say it means summer plant. The confusion doesn't end there.
   Some believe that either the white clover - Trifolium Repens
    Or yellow clover - Trifolium Dubius
could have been the true shamrock used by St. Patrick. Trifolium repens and Trifolium Dubium are considered clover and both part of a genus of about 300 species of plants in the legume (pea) family. The plants are either annual or perennial depending upon the species. They are both still grown today in Ireland for grazing purposes.

Pictured below is still another type of three leafed plant that may also be considered a shamrock.  It is in the Wood Sorrel family. It is called Oxalis Acetosella. It is also referred to as common wood sorrel.

Now that I have finished giving you some information about the main topic of my blog, Shamrocks ... Myths, Legends, And Folklore, I hope that you will enjoy this additional little photo tour of Ireland's lovely countryside.