Marty's Garden, June 2015


June is the month the lilies explode with color. Where before there were patches of mulched soil, suddenly long stems with a few leaves spring up. This is the time when any bunny activity in my garden must be curtailed. Bunnies have the annoying habit of taking a bite here and there to see if a plant is to their liking. Normally a bit of bunny nibbling is no big deal and plants generally outgrow whatever it was the bunny ate. Actually, many years ago I learned an important lesson from a bunny. I had sown seeds early in spring and watched my seedlings grow and get bigger. Finally, when the temperatures outside were finally warm enough for these annuals (zinnias) to be put out, I carefully transplanted each and every small plant to the garden. The next morning when I checked on them, I was horrified. A bunny had sampled these zinnias and ate the tops off most of them. Fast forward a few weeks. Each and every zinnia plant which was decapitated by the bunny, grew side branches and was much sturdier compared to the stick-like plants not sampled by bunny. Ever since then just about every seedling I grow myself or annuals I buy get an immediate haircut before they are put in the ground. While they make take just a little longer to bloom, the result is a much sturdier plant with many more flowers. But back to the lilies: as they only have one stem with either multiple flowers or one flower, a careless nibble by a bunny results in a broken off stem and NO flowers for this year. Already I have found three stems cut down, although there are probably another 100+ which will soon bloom. In one instance the bunny actually also ate all of the leaves off the broken stem; something I hadn’t seen before. However, none of the other stems lost any of the leaves, so I think they will be safe for now.


Meanwhile, my male frog at the front pond has left the premises after his croaking for a mate attracted none. In all honesty, his croaking was a bit off and I am not at all surprised no female was attracted to him. Nevertheless, my pond feels empty with just my two fancy goldfish and no frogs. On the other hand, as this pond will be filled in spring next year when we get ready to sell the house, it is probably just as well no frog calls it home right now. Of course, it remains to be seen if any new froglet (baby frog) will be attracted to the garden early this summer, which would require relocation come spring next year.


It seems, at long last, I have won the battle with either the groundhog and/or skunk as they wanted to call the space under the gazebo home. First I put as many rocks, bricks etc. under the gazebo as I could. That didn’t deter them. Then I added 8 foot long pieces of tree trunk around the perimeter of the gazebo; that worked for a little bit and then they figured out you could still dig under the trunk to get to the gazebo. I filled in the holes and temporarily blocked them with large patio pavers. This spring, before the plants reappeared, I put wire screens with rather large openings (2” by 2”) over the soil, anchored them in place and covered them with mulch. Lilies and ferns promptly grew through these screens, but any animal attempting to dig in front of the tree trunks surrounding the gazebo, would be stopped by the screen, which measures about 40 by 20 inches. Meanwhile after my neighbor mowed his lawn a few days ago, I looked out the window and saw a large groundhog emerge from under HIS deck and promptly eat the grass clippings. It looks like my plan to exclude the groundhog (or skunk) from moving in under the gazebo has worked for now.


Soon spring will be over and it will be summer. How time flies.