Deer Repellent System From Messina Wildlife


I want to mention a deer repellent system we’ve used very successfully this season. Believe me, if it works here, it will work for you. We’ve had a few “security breaches” this fall, but I think that was due more to user error than anything. Deer get bolder in the fall and I needed to protect our inlet beds with more fencing earlier on. (I did lose my last two plantings of sunflowers to the vermin and learned a *few* new cuss words, but not near as many as last year).

You must spray religiously, on time, (I spray every 3 weeks) but you are only spraying the ribbon, not acres of plants. I spray about 1500’ of ribbon in less than 20 minutes. The repellent is pleasant smelling to humans.

Using black step in posts with the black ribbon, the fence blends in with the landscape well. So far it has prevented the need to install a 10’ deer fence – fencing us in or out also! It is also simple to set up temporary protection for seasonal bloomers such as tulips.

The link to Messina Wildlife is here.


New Flowers For The 2015 Season

Fall Bouquet
Fall Bouquet
We continue to extend our season with new plants and row cover. This is an example of what was in bloom on October 20th, 2014 – just after our first frost and freeze of the season.

It amazes me that after a season full of way too long hours and hard days that I am still this (overly?) excited over new plants this fall! This must truly be what I was meant to do! There are so many flowers to choose from, and I select our new plants based on feedback from our customers and bloom times; we are always trying to extend our season. We were definitely short on spike shaped flowers for some months and it seems we can never have enough pink and purple flowers, regardless of the shape. Blue is always an elusive color in the flower world, so we are trying a few new “blue” varieties this season. “Coral” and “salmon” were definitely a big hit, although I do admit to being color challenged with particular shades. So in trying to fill our gaps, we’ve added the following to our grow list for next year.

New Varieties for 2015


African Daisy – Zulu Prince – White
Agrostemma – Ocean Pearls (White) & Purple
Amaranthus – Molten Fire – Foliage
Amaranthus – Coral Fountains
Aster – Andrella Super Mix, Bonita and Hulk
Carnation – Chabuad
Celosia – Celway Series
Celosia – Sunday Series
Flowering Cabbage/Kale
Honeywort – Blue & Yellow
Lace Flower – Pink and Blue
Phlox – Tapestry Mix
Salvia- Lighthouse Red
Sweet Sultan
Tassel Flower (Irish Poet)
Tweedia – Heavenly Blue

We’ll also be adding 43 new varieties of Dahlias. Very exciting!


Helleborus (Lenten Rose)
Helleborus  or Lenten Rose  (photo courtesy of Walter’s Gardens)

Shrubs, Perennials and Biennials:
Astilbe – pink, white
Black Snake Root – Hillside Black Beauty
Columbine – McKana’s Giant
Fern – Lady in Red
Feverfew – Virgo
Forget Me Not
Foxglove – Excelsior
Geum – Blazing Sunset, Lady Stratheden
Heath and Heathers – A Variety
Lamb’s Ear
Lenten Rose
Liatris – White
Lobelia – Compliment
Loosestrife – Alexander, Beaujolais
Meadow Rue
Pasque Flower
Peony – Coral Charm, Coral Sunset, Felix Crousse, Festiva Maxima, Paula Fay
Pin Cushion – Beaujolais Bonnets, Black Knight
Poppy – Pink Ruffles
Russian Sage
Salvia – May Nights
Tickseed – Jethro Tull
Tulip – Hakuun (white) Japp Groot ( yellow)
Veronica – Blue Shades
Weigela – Wine and Roses
Yarrow – Cerise Queen, a beautiful shade of intense rose-pink.

Coral Sunset Peony We've added another 70 peonies this fall including Felix Maximum, Coral Charm, Coral Sunset, Paula Fey and additional Duchess and Sarah. The new plants won't produce for several years.
Coral Sunset Peony (photo courtesy of Walter’s Gardens)
We’ve added another 70 peonies this fall including Felix Maximum, Coral Charm, Coral Sunset, Paula Fey and additional Duchess and Sarah. The new plants won’t produce for several years.

Flowering Shrubs on the Spring 2015 Wish List:
Mock Orange
Flowering Quince

Heaths and Heathers
Heaths and Heathers

There are always those flowers and plants that I have desired for years, but for one reason or another they have been put off. This season I am so excited to try heaths and heathers here! Although a low growing plants, both their flowers and foliage are much desired for floral design. They seem to be border line hardy here, requiring snow cover, protection from the harsh winter winds, and ample water their first year.
Another species I am very excited about adding is Helleborus, or Lenten Rose. Although we won’t see any blooms until 2016, this lovely flower blooms very early in the season, in March and April, just when a dose of beauty is appreciated most. Behind the Lenten rose we’ll put a backdrop of Cimicifuga, or black snake root.

Godetia was an early favorite this season. Shown here with veronica and lace flower.

Our favorites from our new 2014 plantings:

I think the number one performer for 2015 had to be the Godetia. It bloomed very well early on, right when we needed it! The tulips were a sight to behold, blooming just in time for Mother’s Day. The baptisia performed amazingly well. I absolutely love this pea-like flower. With 50 plants in blue and yellow, we should have plenty to go with our peonies next spring. The late blooming heroes include Blue Mist, Japanese Anemone and Peruvian Lily. They all continued on well after frost.

Blue Mist
Blue Mist
Lace Flower
Lace Flower – Blue
Baptisia – Available in blue and yellow

Frost Ponderings

Sunflowers, ornamental peppers, belladonna, calendula, wheat, cactus zinnia, pom dahlias, lisianthus, statice, blue bedder salvia all survived the freeze.

There was a hard frost and freeze this morning (October 19). Ice-in-the-water buckets kind of freeze. I had very mixed emotions as I walked the fields and checked for damage. On the negative side – it was so sad to see my lovingly cared for flowers gone for the season. I felt a horrible sense of loss.  And panic!  And furthermore, what a darn huge mess to clean up!

On the positive side, a big sigh of relief! I was running on empty. The days are getting shorter. The season has shifted. Mother Nature knows all things need rest, even us humans who certainly don’t know any better.

I have been checking the flowers, crazily, almost hourly. Who’s o.k.? Who’s going to bounce back?  Can I fill Mrs. Heslip’s order? Can I send a bouquet over to the neighbor (who I have neglected lately) still? Can I get another couple of days out of the flower cart? I know I need to learn to let go and shift gears a bit better. I’ve never been very good at that.

I’ll know more in a couple of days if the dahlias will bounce back, but there is an amazing amount still happy out there for October 20th. The lisianthus are stunning still. There’s a lot of filler that is still very pretty. The die-hard salvia; my wonderful anemone. Maybe not enough for a big event yet this year, but certainly enough for Mrs. Heslip, the flower cart, the neighbor; and for me!