I am officially …..-off about my garden this spring. I’ve already written about the damage voles did to my garden, but as spring unfurls it turns out I was optimistic in that previous post.
They Got The Evergreens
They also got the evergreens. I mean… seriously. This week while working out in the front garden, digging and getting rid of the grass and other chores, I noticed the big, mature Junipers weren’t looking vibrant.
As an aside, after your first million plants or so there’s something about how a plant looks that telegraphs its state of health. In this case, the normal dark green of the plant was “off” by a few shades. I pulled back the branches to discover a significant amount of bare bark at the base of all the branches. The voles had eaten it all off.
- The short version is there is one undamaged evergreen (a globe blue spruce) in the front garden and the rest – mostly different species and varieties of junipers and another globe blue spruce – have to be chainsawed out. These evergreens will not resprout. The sole yew in my garden (back garden) was not eaten but a yew is the only evergreen that might have recovered.
- The deciduous shrubs were bark-stripped except for the barberries, forsythia and one hydrangea (why they didn’t eat that one is beyond me as they got the rest but…)
- I expect the shrubs to throw new shoots so I’m cutting off the dead tops and waiting.
- Most of the perennials will recover. The lavender – (what epicurean deer wanted to eat lavender?) – is dead.
I did leave the skeleton of the pearl bush standing and sowed morning glories under it. It will be glorious later this summer but I’ll have weedy, self-sowing morning glories in that spot for the next decade. (A fact that will cause me no end of angst and my better half no end of delight. Now you know why they’re there.)
Not only that but the gold leafed Sumac died. I have wild Sumac all over our property. It’s a weed! But the only one I wanted to keep – died.
The Front Garden Landscaping Is A Wasteland
There’s no way around it, the front garden is drastically changed.
I confess my enthusiasm for spending the significant amount of money to replace the evergreens is limited – as in non-existent.
This Year’s Plan
I’m digging the garden now. As I dig and haul out the carcasses, I’m sowing annual seeds. Lots of annual seeds.
- For the front sun garden, I’ll pick up enough flats of petunias to fill the entire garden. Between any of the seeds that germinate and the petunias, I will have color out there.
- The back shade garden will be filled with impatiens. I haven’t written about the damage back there but I do have one lone yew that has apparently emerged unscathed. All empty spots will be filled with an impatiens plant.
- I’ll have a lot of containers.
- I am able to resume rock wall building and – with any luck – I’ll get at least a visual barrier built.
Won’t The Critters Eat Your Garden Again?
Maybe. But I’m now working on a project to protect the gardens. I have a post about our vegetable garden coming shortly over on the vegetable site. I’m calling it “Fort Mayo”.
I’m going to have to get back to you about our front garden when I find some optimism again.
But for this year, my decision is to plant annuals, improve the soil and do some dry stone building. If nothing else I’ll have color out there. Lots of color! And that alone will make me feel better.