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Showing posts from April, 2008

Perfect Gifts for Gardeners

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If someone in your family is a gardener, it’s hard to go wrong by purchasing gift certificates for their favorite local plant nursery. Yesterday, I set out to spend last Christmas’ present from my brother and sister-in-law in one fell swoop. I combined that with some cash left over from last year’s donation to my plant fund made by my cat and dog. In the end, I only had to add $20 to get every single plant I wanted --- a mere two garden carts full. I had a ball.Cash toward longed-for garden ornaments, structures, antiques, gates, fences, etc., mean a lot to gardeners, since the gift will be seen every day. I suppose some gardeners daydream about tools, but I’ve inherited two generations' worth of every tool imaginable. Correction, every tool I can imagine. Well, there is that mini-backhoe thing, but then we’d have to build a garage for it ….Garden books also make welcome presents, though with my library pushing 150 volumes, well-meaning friends and relatives are taking a chance by…

Deer, Oh Deer!

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Over the last 15 years, we’ve gone from no deer problems to severe deer problems, with a herd of 50+ that passes through our property. In late spring, there are invariably fawns and we do enjoy watching them grow up. I long for the days when the dairy farmer next door left corn standing in the fields over the winter. I’m sure he shot a few, but I’m also sure his family ate the meat. (Drawing, CourtesyRobert Savannah, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service)Now the farm is a housing development. The last of the houses was completed about the same time the deer problem began. Hmmmmn. Do you think there could be a connection? So, if we can’t get smarter building practices, we have to get smarter deer control.When deer pressure was low, we tried Irish Spring soap, hair, netting individual shrubs, led the dog around and showed her where to pee, etc. As the situation progressively worsened, we instituted stronger measures, and have found that a combination of solutions works best for us.We built a …

The Detention Basin Queen

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Pictured at left, my current nominee for the ugliest detention basin.Just call me Lois Jean, the Detention Basin Queen. Slowly but surely over the past three years, I’ve been making converts to my new belief system that no detention basin needs to be ugly. In case anyone forgot, I’m out to eradicate those aesthetically obnoxious stormwater collection holes from the face of the Earth! Seehttp://loisdevries.blogspot.com/2007/09/detention-basins-good-bad-and-ugly.htmlMy ever-dependable cohort in this enterprise, Environmental Commissioner Diane Gillespie, and I have spent the past two years traipsing through wind, rain, sleet, and snow (but not the dead of night) to stare into yet another ugly hole in the ground and shoot its portrait. We’ve dragged our municipal engineer, as well as a federal biologist from hole to hole, seeking the answer to our question, “What can be done about this?”The answer is (drumroll, please) they can be converted to stormwater gardens that qualify as habitat r…

Our Gardens, Ourselves

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Recently, I was talking to a friend about spring cleaning in the garden and the conversation meandered to the subject of aging; namely that we just didn’t seem to be able to work continuously from 7:00am to 7:00pm anymore, or to lift bags of soil or tubs of stones with ease, as we once could. Our gardens, and our gardening styles, must change to accommodate our abilities as well as our tastes.She and her husband have been gardening their plot for more than 30 years. Most of our garden was destroyed when we added onto the house about six years ago, so it is relatively new. We have about the same size lots, but each of us has a very different gardening style and philosophy. What we do share in common, however, is that we want to do all of the gardening ourselves.Not everyone does. I recall a cardiologist I visited who was already a grandma several times over. She wanted a mature garden before she was too old to enjoy it. So she hired a local landscape architect, a petite, middle-aged, w…