The Master Gardener Volunteers have the “Let’s Do This” attitude and were busy with all the spring tasks that need to be done in the Teaching Garden.
Despite the 36 degree morning temperature, everyone worked together to hoist the Martin House along with the individual gourds or luxury condos as Master Gardener volunteer, Bill, likes to say.
His observations over the years is that the birds prefer the natural gourds since they have more space for the birds and their nests. Last year there were six nests; each year the number increases. We’re looking forward to their return since the Martins are a great asset to the garden. They work very hard to eat insects as they fly about the garden. The Martin House and gourds are cleaned during the winter with a solution of bleach and repainted every year. Only acrylic paint is used (never use oil-based) and white is the birds’ preferred color. The base of the pole is a snake guard – our way of protecting the nests. Last year the houses were put up two weeks later due to the cold weather we were having. (See Teaching Garden blog for April 9, 2015.)
This is the fourth year that the garden has maintained rain barrels. This water comes in handy to the far reaches of the garden, like the Woodland Garden. The swing has been set up to let people sit and relax after working in the garden or to just sit and admire the garden view.
The garden is experimenting with attracting bees (great pollinators!) and have set up two types of bee homes to see which one they prefer.
Deer are nice to look at but their damage to the garden plants is not appreciated. Jannell, in the Native Bed, pruned out the red twig dogwood where the deer rubbed their antlers; pruning will help encourage growth.
Jannell said that a branch that had a praying mantis egg sac on it was pruned by mistake so they reattached it to another limb. Hopefully the eggs inside will not realize and will emerge when the warm weather comes.
Ruth, in the Fragrance Bed, has her bags of tricks she uses to discourage deer. The ring over the daylilies protect the emerging plant from being nibbled. Deer love new tender growth. She also sprays Bobbex on the plants, a natural, environmentally-friendly solution. Various tricks are used to deter deer and one must remain vigilant.
The Master Gardeners from the Cooks’ Garden were busy digging potato beds. They are planting more than they did last year because who doesn’t like potatoes and they are so easy to grow as Master Gardener volunteer Amye says. They planted three varieties that will be harvested at different times so there will be a constant supply of potatoes. Planted are Red Norland (early), Kennebec (midseason) and Russet (late).
Refreshing, spring blossoms!