Liquid Fence: A Good Deer and Rabbit Repellent for your Roses

”]Cropping the Roses by Beyond the Trail [Gary]TheGardenLady received this question from Bonnie.

We planted a knock-out rose bush this past spring. It started blooming and had beautiful roses. We noticed that the stems were cut. The deer are eating them. What can we do?

Deer love roses. It seems strange because there are thorns. In spite of the thorns, I guess deer like plants that humans eat. Rose petals  and rose hips  and  are eaten by humans.  See here, here and here.

I spray my roses and other plants that deer love with a product called Liquid Fence.  I have been using the product for a few years and my plants are not eaten by deer or rabbits. I think it is pricey because I use it much more frequently than recommended on the container. I have used it even more frequently this summer because of all the rain. Even though the product label says it lasts through rain, I am fearful of losing the plants. Because some some plants are deer resistant, I do not spray all the flowers I have. But I have learned that some plants that I wouldn’t think deer would eat, like sunflowers, will be eaten by the deer if I don’t spray. Liquid Fence stinks like the rotten eggs that is the major ingredient. That dissipates fairly quickly for the human nose; but the smell lingers for the more sensitive nose of the deer. The one thing that I dislike is that the leaves retain a white film from the spray. However, it washes off in the rain.

Continue reading “Liquid Fence: A Good Deer and Rabbit Repellent for your Roses”

More Questions About Knockout Roses

Red Knockout Rose by photomason
Red Knockout Rose by photomason

TheGardenLady recevied these additional questions about Knockout roses.

I just heard about the knockout rose and think it will be perfect for my side patio. Two questions: The above picture? are those purple or pink? How does the Knockout do in partial shade?

There is no purple Knockout rose. They have single and double pink, single and double red, and have recently brought out a yellow rose plus they have a rainbow colored rose and a pale pink single rose. Check out their site.

TheGardenLady has the pink and the red Knockout roses . Though the company says they grow 3 to 4 ft high and 3 to 4 ft wide, mine are higher – 5 or 6 ft tall and and about 5ft wide. I pruned mine down this spring yet they grew back as tall. They bloomed their heads off this spring. And with all the rain we have had, the plants are very healthy with no rose diseases.

I just had the lower branches of trees pruned so that the roses would get more sunlight. Until then they were getting about 5 hours of morning sun. But the company says they can do well with as little as 4 hours of sunlight.

If you’re interested in reading about blooming problems with Knockout roses, please take a look at this post.

35 Acid Loving Plants (with Photos)

More acid-loving plants by barbara voss
More acid-loving plants by barbara voss

So many of TheGardenLady’s readers seemed to be interested in acid loving plants.  Here is a partial list of 35 acid loving plants:

1. Amelanchier- Juneberry

Amelanchier alnifolia by daitengu23
Amelanchier alnifolia by daitengu23

2. Andromeda- Pieris

Japanese Andromeda / Pieris japonica by carsten1968
Japanese Andromeda / Pieris japonica by carsten1968

3. Azalea

pinkish purple azalea by Wils 888
pinkish purple azalea by Wils 888

4. Balsam Fir

Balsam Fir by SaikoSakura
Balsam Fir by SaikoSakura

Continue reading “35 Acid Loving Plants (with Photos)”

Blooming Problems With Knock Out Roses

Gotta love those knock-outs!!! by perennialpal
Gotta love those knock-outs!!! by perennialpal

TheGardenLady received these two questions about Knock Out roses from Mary and Diane respectively.

I planted eight knock out roses in the sun last year and they bloomed. After blooming the first year I put mulch on the base of the rose bush and the ground was not frozen. This spring I cut them back slightly the first bloom was great. We went on vacation and had a bad rain storm and the roses stopped. What am I doing wrong?

Last Spring (2008) I planted 9 knock-out roses. They grew and bloomed fairly uniformly. This Spring they looked very healthy, and all burst into bloom at the same time. After the first bloom, two of them turned a very light green.  I have checked them for over/under watering. Fertilizing is not an issue as I have fertilized them all uniformly. The other 7 are beginning to bloom for the second time, but these two do not have new buds. They do not look like they are ready to die.  I can find no evidence of insect damage either at the root or leaf level. They are all planted in the same bed in one grouping for concentrated color (i.e. within feet of each other).  I am stumped as to what to do. Any ideas?

TheGardenLady imagines that you must have a fantastic show of concentrated color with those beds Knock Out Roses. TheGardenLady has just two Knock Out Roses and the floral show is amazing.

Two questions that are similar but not the same; however the treatment of the roses should be the same.

The first lady had Knock Out roses that stopped blooming after heavy rains knocked off the flowers and haven’t started reblooming.

The second lady has some of her Knock Out roses in one bed that are not blooming.

Continue reading “Blooming Problems With Knock Out Roses”

Overdosing Acid Loving Plants

miracle gro by ooweeishjohn
miracle gro by ooweeishjohn

TheGardenLady received this question from Rene.

I have two adult Lady of the Night plants. I fed them Miracle Gro for Acid Loving Plants. Will anything happen to them? And if so what can I do to save them?

Lady of the night by wiccked
Lady of the night by wiccked

TheGardenLady is assuming your Lady of the Night Plant is Brunfelsia americana. How lovely to have this plant reputed to be the most fragrant of all the Brunfelsia plants which are very fragrant and the MOST fragrant of all plants.

Brunfelsia’s soil pH requirements are 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic) to 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral).

Moderate occasional food and moderate water is all that is required. This Lady of the Night plant even handles dry soil well. They are very long lived. Brunfelsia plants are light eaters which means they don’t need much fertilizer.

But your concern is that you fed them Miracle Gro for Acid Loving plants. TheGardenLady doubts that you will have any problem from the one time only feeding of Miracle Gro for Acid Loving plants.

If you fed them as the Miracle Gro label says to feed plants and not given them an overdose (Remember to ALWAYS follow label instructions when applying fertilizers!) there should be no problem but don’t give these plants any more fertilizer. Brunfelsia don’t really need fertilizer- or if you feel you need to feed, highly dilute the fertilizer.

However, if you feel that you overdosed the plants on Miracle Gro, you can try flushing the soil with water. Brunfelsia plants don’t like overwatering just as they don’t need much fertilizer, so this is only to be done if you think you may have given the plants a gross amount of fertilizer.

Now if you have a problem with any Scotts’ product and Miracle Gro is a Scotts’ product, call them at 1-888-270 3714 as TheGardenLady did to be sure she was advising you correctly. They suggested that if you feel you must fertilize your Brunfelsia their recommendation is that you should use their all purpose fertilizer which has the numbers 24-8-16 on the box.

Creating a Roof Garden in NYC

Terrace Roof Garden Img_1126a by Lanterna
Terrace Roof Garden Img_1126a by Lanterna

TheGardenLady received this question from Michelle.

I live in NYC, and would love to plant flowers and herbs outside my apt. Outside our kitchen window is a blacktop roof. I’ve tried to grow basil and parsley, but they never stay moist enough–sun is too strong. But, I would like to build something bigger to include many flowers and herbs. What would you suggest?

What a lovely idea to use the roof for a garden. However, in your case, living in NYC, one has to be concerned about the weight of plants on an old roof. Your landlord might object. If you think the landlord does not object, TheGardenLady recommends using light weight things for planting.

Plastic pots weigh less and don’t dry out as easily as clay pots or aren’t as heavy as ceramic pots.  Also, if you will be watering the plants, you have to be sure that the water will run off and not seep into the roof – down into someone else’s apartment. You don’t want plants that need a lot of watering.

rooftop garden by bondidwhat
rooftop garden by bondidwhat

Attempting to grow herbs is a good idea because herbs do love sun. Most herbs come from the Mediterranean area where they get lots of sun which is needed for the herbs to have strong herbal flavors. But growing in a field is different than growing on a roof. TheGardenLady imagines that it is probably due to the blacktop roof that your herbs are drying out too quickly. Getting all that heat from the sun plus the heat from the black bottom under the pots might create too intense a heat and cause the small amount of soil in the pot to dry out too quickly.

Continue reading “Creating a Roof Garden in NYC”

Gardeners in the Northeast: Beware of Late Blight

Late blight of potato by Ben·Millett
Late blight of potato by Ben·Millett

The following article was not written by TheGardenLady, but she thinks it’s a valuable one that the public should know about.

Irish Potato Famine Disease affecting Gardens and Farmers throughout the Greater Northeast

Revised by A. Wyenandt, NJAES, Rutgers University and M.T McGrath, Cornell University – Original article by Thomas A. Zitter, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY – Updated July 15, 2009

Late blight, caused by Phytophthora infestans, is a serious disease that affects tomato plants and potato plants around the world.

 late blight by ospud 	 late blight by ospud
late blight by ospud late blight by ospud

Late blight can become a serious problem because it can quickly kill affected plants and its spores are easily carried in wind currents to infect other susceptible plants in even the most remote areas in our region.

Late blight occurs sporadically in the Northeast in any given year because farmers diligently use methods to prevent the pathogen from surviving overwinter. Since our summer thus far has been cool with frequent rains, weather conditions have been very conducive for late blight development.

Late Blight on Plum Tomatoes by Franknsteen
Late Blight on Plum Tomatoes by Frank'nsteen

Currently, all tomato and potato plants grown in home gardens and in commercial fields are susceptible to late blight!

Commercial growers are able to respond to reports of the disease by spraying fungicides to prevent its spread, which otherwise would mean certain death of their entire crops. Unfortunately, many homeowners may not be as aware of this important disease, and if no corrective actions are taken in a timely manner, home gardens can provide a source of inoculum (i.e. spores) for their neighbor’s gardens and for commercial interests.

The occurrence of late blight in 2009 is different compared to most seasons. This is the earliest the disease has been reported over such a broad region of the country. More tragic for the Northeast, is that infected plants have been distributed to large local retail stores throughout the region (Ohio to Maine). Never before has such an extensive distribution of infected plants occurred.

Continue reading “Gardeners in the Northeast: Beware of Late Blight”

Preparing the Garden for a Drought

Summer is here. The main jobs in the garden are weeding, WATERING and deadheading.

Those of us in the Northeast have been having the mildest summer this GardenLady has ever experienced. July feels like May; the weather is so Springlike.

TheGardenLady has been watching the weather reports for many parts of the country that are having a major heatwave. She does not know how to best advise gardens experiencing 100 degree plus days in your area where watering plants is prohibited.

Contact your local county extension office to see if they have any special suggestions.

There were some things one could do before the drought. Should things straighten out and you want to plant new plants, consider them when you plant.

Water Jelly Crystals by Baok
Water Jelly Crystals by Baok

Water crystals or beads (hydrogels) are sold as a means to help hold moisture in potting media. They can absorb multiple times their weight in water. Usually they are hydrated (beads or crystals are put in water before putting them in the soil) and mixed into the medium before planting. One company that sells this product is Plant Health Care Comapny.

Continue reading “Preparing the Garden for a Drought”

Shade Loving Plants

Pink Double Impatiens by Judes Jewels
Pink Double Impatiens by Jude's Jewels

TheGardenLady received this question from Kevin.

I have a very small front area, very small, 2′x25′ with very little sun. I was thinking about some kind of ornamental grass for height and some other colorful flowers.  Any ideas?

In order to give you a more precise answer, TheGardenLady would need to know your temperature zone and the amount of dryness or moisture in your front area.  Without this information, here are some suggestions:

You seem interested in grasses. Most ornamental grasses need sun. Many are shade INTOLERANT. A few will tolerate light shade.  See here.   But these do not bloom as well in shade. Sedges seem to be more tolerant of shade but some can grow too aggressively for your small area.

Koeleria macrantha, Junegrass and Melica imperfecta by edgehill
Koeleria macrantha, Junegrass and Melica imperfecta by edgehill

For a drier site there is Koeleria macrantha (syn. K. cristata) June grass which is a small, green, native clump grass with showy white flower panicles in June. A host for butterfly larvae. Shade tolerant and soil tolerant.

For a moist area there are two plants that might work:
Carex muskingumensis or Palm sedge is a slowly spreading plant with palm-like foliage that requires shade and moist conditions.

Chasmanthium latifolium by nobuflickr
Chasmanthium latifolium by nobuflickr

Also, Chasmanthium latifolium or Northern sea oats which is noted for its showy, drooping flowers and light green, upright, bamboo-like foliage. Flat green flowers will turn copper. Blooms well in shade and reseeds.

Also, consider hostas. The number of different hosta plants is so numerous that you can create a unique garden just with them alone. For your small area you can find miniature or small hostas. Plant variaged hostas or gold colored hostas to brighten the dark area.

Best shade tolerant colorful flowers would be annuals like impatiens and begonias.

Ligularia Dentata by robelsas
Ligularia Dentata by robelsas

If you want perennials consider Astilbe varieties, Greater Celandine (check to see if it is invasive in your area), Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding Hearts), helleborus orientalis (Hellebore) and Ligularia dentata or Elephant ears. One doesn’t see Ligularia very often. It has large leaves. There is one with maroon-black leaves. Showy golden daisy like flowers appear in midsummer.

Lastly, consider an azalea. Azaleas will grow in shade.

Sansevierias: Where to Keep Them – Inside or Outside?

Untitled by *n*o*o*r*
Untitled by *n*o*o*r*

TheGardenLady received this question on her post “Taking Care of Your Mother-In-Law’s Tongue Plant“.

I’ve had the Mother-In-Law plant for about 3 yrs, and kept it outdoors. I’ve been told its good to have these types of plants indoor, say, the office, as they give out plenty of oxygen.  Please advise whether it’s a good idea to put this plant in the office and what care should be given to it.

Green plants give off oxygen. That is why they are so important. Any and all green plants give off oxygen both indoors and outdoors. So plants would be good to have in your office environment as well as in your home.

If you decide to dig up your Sansevieria and bring it indoors, whether you bring it into your office or into your home, treat it with benign neglect. Don’t over water it. Keep it out of direct sun.

But most people bring the plants indoors that don’t grow outdoors or that only grow outdoors part of the year. Since you live in a zone where Sansevieria grows outdoors, let it give off oxygen outdoors and bring a plant to your office that is more exotic. Hopefully you have a window in your office that is near your desk. Check your local nursery stores to see which plants they would recommend for an indoor office space. Let them know what direction the window faces where you will put your plant – noth, south, east or west. Is it a sunny window sunny or is it shaded by something like a big tree outdoors or another building? How cold is the temperature kept in the office? Some plants don’t like it too cold or too hot. Will someone water the plant if needed when the office is closed or you are on vacation? And be sure that no other office worker has any allergies to plants. Though TheGardenLady does not know of any allergic reaction to plants that just sit on a windowsill, today so many people have allergies, it is best to check.

Let TheGardenLady readers know about your choice of plant for the office. A photo would be nice.