Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Blue Smoke Rising

With daytime temperatures above forty degrees F, a walk in the garden was a must today.  We were not the only creatures on the move as tracks in the soft snow were everywhere.  I walked into the stone square to check on the condition of favored plants.  What I saw just sucked the joy from this great day.  Common street words in unique combinations loudly echoed from the ridges.  It took several minutes for the blue smoke to clear before I could snap this photo!

Deer footprints in the snow here and this completely pruned Pinxter bush are a disaster.  At this time of year newly formed but tightly closed buds are found at the end of each branch.  Flowers will open first quickly followed by leaves.  One untouched bud can be seen in the lower right side of the picture.  We do not know how this plant will respond to the trimming.  If new growth appears where branches leave the main stem, the plant should be presentable in another year.  This type of new growth might also provide an opportunity to take soft wood cuttings.

The area inside of the stone walls is not usually visited by deer.  We are home for a mature female deer that has proven to be an excellent mother.  She usually gives birth to twins and they remain close by her.  It is common to see last year's twins mixed in with the new ones.  During hunting season this family group stays close by our home and gardens.  More and more they are eating garden plants.  Daylily buds were discovered to be an epicurean treat last season.  Now we will need to cage the daylilys if we expect to see flowers.  Recently we saw a deer feeding on the clove currant bush right in front of the house.  At this rate we may change the name of this place from Stone Wall Gardens to Fence Wire Inn.

On May 28, 2016, the shrub in the above picture looked like this.  It looks to me like all of the growth, both flowers and leaves, springs from the ends of the branches.  There is little doubt that this plant took a serious hit today.  I now have wire cages placed to make it difficult for the deer to reach these plants.  The good news is that the larger nearby companion plant was not yet touched by the deer.  For that plant the wire defenses were placed in time.

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