Tips for Keeping the Deer Away

July 24, 2013 § 2 Comments

Earlier this week I lamented  over  the gourmand deer who think lilies are planted just for their enjoyment. So I thought I would share some tips for deer abatement.

Deer Hoof Print

The two best ways to keep deer away are:

  • A tall fence– White Tail Deer can jump up to eight feet high, and you want the tall of enough so the deer don’t attempt to jump the fence and get caught in it. However, that said, I  have found the a six foot stops them pretty well, and deer can’t jump both tall and wide so slanting a fence outward can also help deter deer.
  • Plant things that the deer don’t want to eat– The most difficult time I had this year deterring the deer was when a mulberry tree was fruiting and drawing them to the yard, once the tree stopped fruiting the deer presence significantly lowered. In this vein, human hair can work similarly.

deer foot print

Other ways to deter deer:

  • Dog’s (Pee)- Canines are natural predators, and the scent of dogs and their urine will act as a deterrent. However it washes away with the rain, and if you keep your dogs in a fenced area, the deer will know. I let mine out to run around outside of the fence to do their business.
  • Purified Smells– The smell of rot,  rotten eggs in particular, can deter as well.
  • Mint- I have used a diluted castille soap to some success and have heard of others using barred Irish spring around their beds.

The caveat to these, save for the tall fence, is that if the deer are truly hungry, they are going to eat. A little depressing I know, but many plant will flush back out.

Blooming Now: Daylilies

July 22, 2013 Comments Off on Blooming Now: Daylilies

Daylilies might as well be called “deer food”, last year I got one bloom before the deer came along and had quite a pleasant snack.  As a  result, I transplanted them in the fall, moving them to a more remote area of the yard, in an attempt to keep from luring the deer there.  I was pleasantly surprised that the transplant went well with the deer have stayed away from the (for this year), and there are blooms a plenty!

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Blooming Now: English Lavender, Lavandula Angustifolia, ‘Munstead’

July 20, 2013 Comments Off on Blooming Now: English Lavender, Lavandula Angustifolia, ‘Munstead’

Today we bring to a close my week long overture to Lavender. This week has  brought me one step closer to planting  rows of lavender in my vacant backyard, and the bees would be so happy!

 

I bought this English Lavender, in a bit of haste,when I thought one of my beds was a little sparse(it wasn’t), and was surprised to find little blooms popping up this week. Unlike the other two Lavender varieties I have shared this week, Munstead is compact, only growing about 1-2 ft in height and width. It has bright blooms(blooming June-August)  that attract nectar loving insects and short leaf  foliage that is highly aromatic.

munstead lavender

Lavandula Angustifolia

English Lavender

Travel Here: Lavender Farms in Virginia and Beyond

July 19, 2013 Comments Off on Travel Here: Lavender Farms in Virginia and Beyond

Believe it or not, despite my obsession with Lavender, I have never actually visited a Lavender farm. It wasn’t too long ago that I discovered there are options in Virginia,many of these places are small farms and may bot be up to European standards, but look to still be a nice quick trip! Looking at these wonderful places makes me want to pursue a new profession, Lavender farmer…

Lavender Farms in Virginia

This is just a small selection of Lavender farms in Virginia, a more comprehensive list can be found here and here. Make sure to call ahead to make sure farms are open to the public and/or still open for the season. If you can’t even contain  your Lavender love and are in the Virginia area you may be interested in the United States Lavender Conference from the U.S. Lavender Growers Association, happening in Virginia in October.

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Inglewood Lavender, Nelson County Virginia

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Seven Oaks Lavender Farm, Catlett Virginia

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Scott County Lavender, Dungannon Virginia

Evergreen Lavender Farm, Appomattox, Virginia

Lavender Farms in the U.S.

As if anyone(me) needs another reason to love the Pacific Northwest, there are a TON of lavender farms in the Oregon/ Washington area.

Oregon Lavender Association-List of destinations, a festival(!), and tour maps

Sequim Lavender Festival (Washington)

A list of other farms around the United States can be found here , here, and here.

DIY: Lavender Room Spray

July 17, 2013 Comments Off on DIY: Lavender Room Spray

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I would love nothing more than a house that smelled like nothing. The kind of absence of smell that makes you think your house is clean. However in a house with two big dogs, that just doesn’t happen. So I resort to this easy solution for deodorizing.

DIY Room Spray

  • 1 part water
  • 1 part alcohol( I use a  cheap high proof vodka)
  • Approximately 1 Tbsp of baking soda per 2/3 cups of water ( you want it to dissolve)
  • Essential Lavender oil (for a small  spray bottle I use 40 drops)

If you have a more refined olfactory pallet, you can mix scents with lemon, bergamote, rose, or geranium. I have even mixed with citronella, but that is really a more acquired smell.

Happy Mixing!

Know Thy Plant: Fern-Leaf Lavender

July 16, 2013 Comments Off on Know Thy Plant: Fern-Leaf Lavender

Fun Lavender fact:  The name Lavender is derived from the latin lavo or lavandus meaning to wash, since the herb was so commonly used during bathing.

Today, in this third ode to lavender, we highlight the fern leaf lavender. I am unsure of the variety it could be  ‘multifida’  or ‘minutolli’.  Multifida has more of a lavender scent, while minutolli has flashy blooms and a pungent smell. Think this is a sign I need to keep track of my tags? I fortunately have learned my lesson on this one!

fern leaf lavender

This interesting Lavender, like most other varieties, prefers well drained soil and once established, needs only occasional watering.  I will admit that I may have put mine in a not well drained raised bed and over watered this spring , resulting in yellowing leaves. However it has flushed out a bit with the dryer summer months.

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This variety is VERY fragrant. The ‘multifida’ has been traditionally cultivated for oils, for its strong lavender scent.  The variety I have is reminiscent of citronella, and I crush it between my hands and rub on my legs to keep mosquitoes away, to varying degrees of effectiveness. This could mean it is ‘minutolli’, the mystery continues.

multifida lavender

The biggest surprise of this cultivar, is that is has been long blooming for me. I completely expected to get one good bloom out of it, but with deadheading it has had consistent blooms since I planted it in May (greenhouse forced I’m sure). The blooms are long, and often form a  beautifully shaped trident.

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Regardless of variety the growing conditions are very similar:

Zones: 8-11(some places as high as 14) I’ve noticed mine can really take the heat well, however I’ll have to see how it winters over in zone 7. This may have to be an annual for me.

Soil: Well drained

Water: Drought tolerant once established.

Size: Up to 2 ft tall(40 inches with blooms) and around 3-4 ft wide.

Deer Resistance: Yes

Blooming Now: French Lavender

July 15, 2013 Comments Off on Blooming Now: French Lavender

I believe this variety is ‘grosso’ or ‘hidcote’ but I can’t quite remember…

Did you know that lavender has been used  for over 2500 years for fragrance and medicinal purposes?

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