THE MAY THERAPEUTIC GARDENS GREENLETTER
Ecological restorationists are professionals that work to get the natural plant systems working again. They do this by resupplying drained wetlands with water, planting native plants and seeds and by removing invasive species. We can do similar work when we improve our own gardens and create new gardens by doing the following:
- Removing invasive plants is one way that we can help the natural ecosystems.
- Adding rain gardens to capture the rain water and help it to infiltrate on-site instead of running off our property.
- Using rain barrels to capture storm water and use it to water our garden.
- Mulching the beds to reduce erosion and help retain moisture benefits the plants.
- Including native plantings to attract pollinators and other beneficial insects.
These actions help heal the land and this heals us. We all benefit from nature in many positive ways.
One plant that should be considered for most gardens are blueberries. There are several varieties today that offer possibilities. Polaris will grow in Zones 3 to 8 and is about 3 foot tall. Top Hat is a smaller plant reaching 18 inches and is an excellent choice for planting in containers to use on patios and balconies. Northsky is another compact blueberry and the fruit ripens in mid July. It is good to try different varieties to insure good pollination. For more information on pruning, over-wintering, water requirements and other growing blueberry conditions, check out the web site: http://howtogardenguide.com/2008/02/26/blueberry-care/
We need to encourage pollinators into our gardens by planting the things that will cause them to visit. Some of the annuals to consider planting to attract these beneficial insects and animals include Russian Sage, Bee Balm, Sunflowers, and Bachelor Buttons. Perennials are good to use, not only because they are attractive to pollinators and they will come back every year. These plants include Poppies, Sage, Basil, Lambs Ear, and Oregano. These plants are honey bee as well as human favorites.
NATURAL WEED CONTROL
One of the ways to help reduce the weeds in our garden, walkways and other areas is to use vinegar. To kill grass on sidewalks and driveways, pour full strength white distilled vinegar on it. Spray white distilled vinegar full strength on tops of weeds and reapply on any new growth until plants have starved. Normal vinegar has a 5% acetic acid concentration. This is not enough to kill the mature weeds; however, it will kill the young growth. You may need to apply vinegar twice to kill all the new growth. The conditions should be rain free for a few days for the vinegar to be most effective.
It seems like we have fast forwarded into spring and everything is starting to bloom. This is a good time to take stock of what is doing well in the garden and what may need to be replaced. Get out a note pad to jot down ideas of what we may want to add to our garden. And keep those notes with you when you visit garden centers. Keep an eye out, first of all, for the plants that are indigenous to the region. These plants will perform better because they are native and require less water. The plants will also attract butterflies, hummingbirds and other friendly visitors into your garden.
The deer have already been or will be returning to sample the newly planted vegetables in your garden. One of the ways I have found that is effective in chasing away the deer is the motion activated water spray called “The ScarecCrow”. One of the companies that sell it is Deer Busters. It is attached to your hose and will repel unwanted intruders for up to 30 feet. (Remember to turn it off during the day – otherwise you may chase friendly visitors – like the postal worker). A link to their site is at: http://www.deerbusters.com/dee-4015.html
“You are as welcome as the flowers in May” – Charles MacklinRead more