Rotting Cedar Gazebo

Morning Fog by donsutherland1

TheGardenLady received this question from Sandy.

We have a windbreak of 11 100′ Northern spruce trees with a cedar gazebo nestled among them. The roof of the gazebo is built of cut, trimmed cedar branches. We are noticing some of these roof branches are starting to rot. Is it because of the acidic needles falling from the Northern spruce trees and collecting on the gazebo roof?

Its a misconception that cedar will not rot. There are a number of causes for the rot. The elements can wreak havoc on any roofing material. Cedar is susceptible to sun, which breaks down the lignin in wood, causing splitting, cracking and dry rot.

Continue reading “Rotting Cedar Gazebo”

Don’t Always Blame the Deer

I Blamed it on the Deer by mtsofan

TheGardenLady wrote a column about deer and specifically said: Any person who is knowledgeable about deer will never tell you there is a plant that deer will not eat.

Deer will taste everything and will eat anything depending on how hungry they are. Deer have favorite plants. The plants that deer love they will eat entirely to the ground UNLESS you have a fence or you spray your plants with a deer deterrent.

Some people will tell you that deer don’t eat their sweet pea flowers Lathyrus odoratus yet other people will tell you they love to eat their sweet pea flowers. Deer will eat sweet pea flowers. Because a plant is poisonous to humans does not mean it is poisonous to deer. Perhaps your deer have enough other plants that they prefer eating in your garden. Deer have their preferences.

But remember, there are other garden pests who enjoy your garden. Rabbits love many of the same plants deer like and they often like many plants that are not deer favorites. So do not blame the deer for all the eaten plants in a garden. For example, rabbits love sweet pea flowers. For a list of the plants rabbits prefer check out this site:


Toxic Sweet Peas – Lathyrus Odoratus

Lathyrus Odoratus by Ivlys
Lathyrus Odoratus by Ivlys

TheGardenLady received a question on her post about sweet peas that asked whether sweet peas are edible.

Sweet peas, Lathyrus odoratus, are the lovely flowers that English gardeners have been raising since Victorian times and call the Queen of Annuals (see here).  Sweet peas are NOT edible! They are TOXIC. A website definition of toxic is something that is capable of causing injury or death, especially by chemical means; they are poisonous. An excellent, comprehensive list of toxic plants is the one from the University of California at Davis that tells you which plants are dangerous (see here). Refer to this list when you are concerned about plant toxicity. Note that the list tells you the level of toxicity of a plant.

Luktärt (Sweet Pea), Lathyrus odoratus by Peter Karlsson
Luktärt (Sweet Pea), Lathyrus odoratus by Peter Karlsson

Do not confuse the fragrant, colorful and charming ornamental flowers Lathyrus odoratus that are toxic with edible peas Pisum sativum that may be classified as garden peas (English peas), snap peas and snow peas (sugar peas). One eats the shoots and pods of the edible peas. Edible peas have been raised and eaten in Europe since prehistoric times.