Monday, May 17, 2010

Lutheran Guilt and Plants Deer Don't Like (2 separate topics - no connection)

One of our regular customers, Ann, was here to pick up some iris yesterday and just happened to mention that I hadn't written anything lately. Properly embarassed, here I am. Sometimes Lutheran Guilt can be a good thing. There has been so much to do here lately between weeding and packing orders and just trying to protect things from frost and floods. This has been a really rainy day with over 2 inches so far and is much too wet to work outside. Just taking a walk around the gardens made it necessary to put on dry clothes.

Another friend, Connie, is looking for some plants that deer don't like to eat. Now, in reality, there are probably very few things that deer will never eat. Hunger makes them eat things they wouldn't normally consume, even things that seem quite unlikely, like the winter they stripped all of the leaves from our American Hollies. Would you want those prickly things on your tongue? I certainly wouldn't. I don't even like weeding around them.

So ... over the next few days I'll post some photos of things deer never touch here and hopefully the deer in other places don't either.

In alphabetical order, just because it's easier to sort through the pictures that way, today I'll do plants whose botanical names start with the letter A.

The first photo is Astilbe 'Sprite', a pale pink version, though Astilbes come in white, red, peach, lavender and maybe more. They bloom early to mid summer and make good cut flowers. Ours seem to like light shade and maybe morning sun.

This next is an odd one, but guaranteed not to be eaten by the deer (or anything else). This is one of those plants you read about occasionally because they smell so bad. They are pollinated by so sorts of flies and smell like rotting meat to attract them. A definite smell of aged roadkill in the garden when this is in bloom, but it is just so cool to look at, we overlook the scent for the day or two it is there and enjoy it. Full sun for this one and well drained soil.
This next is one of our native woods plants, Arisaema or Jack-in-the-Pulpit. They come up in the spring and in late summer, if they've been pollinated you will see red berries where the 'bloom' was. This one likes shade.

Columbines will grow in sun or light shade and come in more colors than you can imagine. They freely cross-polinate and so eventually you end up with a lot of columbine in even more colors. This one is Aquilegia canadensis 'Ecos'. It is an especially tall one, at least 3 feet tall here and sometimes even close to 4 feet tall.

This next is a more unusual one, Alstroemeria 'Glory or the Andes'. Most of the Alstroemerias are tropical things, but this one is happy here in zone 6. We grow it in light shade and it blooms mid-summer. The leaves are variegated with a creamy gold edge.

Achillea, or Yarrow, is an old garden favorite. This also comes in tons of different colors and will pretty much bloom all summer. There are pastel shades on plants only about 18 inches tall, and an old fashioned gold flowered on 3 feet tall. All like full sun and are pretty drought tolerant.

Last photo for today is Acanthus spinosus or Bear's Breeches. This on is supposed to like light shade and we have several growing well that way, but before I knew that I planted one in full sun, and that one also does well. They bloom in mid to late summer with a pink/lavender/blue bloom scape that is quite tall above the plant, which itself is about 18 inches to 2 feet tall. It makes quite a statement in the garden.

So, here's a start. I'll be back tomorrow with the B's and C's.

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