May 25th, 2011
Does washing and drying your gardening clothes kill ticks that have hitchhiked into your home? In a word–no. I recently read that ticks will not die when run through the washing machine, but that 30 minutes in the dryer will kill them. Not so. I opened the dryer door a few days ago to remove my gardening clothes and what did I see crawling around on my jeans? A deer tick alive and well and ready to get to business on me.
In the future I will use the sanitize feature on my dryer for my gardening clothes and hope that cremates the nasty little arachnids.
I have never seen a year for ticks like this one. I try to be as conscientious as possible and always leave my gardening clothes outside so I don’t bring the ticks in with me. As soon as I am inside, I head straight into the shower and use a washcloth to make sure I have rubbed off any ticks that might be trying to attach themselves. I even use rubber bands around the bottom of my jeans so they can’t crawl up my legs. All that, and I have still had four ticks attach themselves this spring. Four ticks!
I can only surmise that my puppies are bringing ticks into our house and when I have them on my lap the ticks are finding a more amenable host. It sucks–literally! My plan is to wait until I no longer find ticks roaming around the house then visit my doctor for another round of antibiotic. I have heard too many horror stories from other gardeners who ended up with a host of horrible and permanently debilitating symptoms after years of having Lyme Disease without knowing it.
I guess I will also have to bite the bullet and start spraying my clothing with a tick repellent that contains Permethrin before I head out into the gardens. I might even spend the extra bucks and get the Insect Shield apparel that is treated with Permethrin that stays in the garment even after 70 launderings. Hey, ya gotta do, what ya gotta do.
For more info on tick prevention, visit Lymepa.org. Read more about my trials and tribulations with ticks HERE.
My worst deer tick bite
Apr 3rd, 2011
If you live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area you have to go see the Towers of Flowers Show at the Downtown Macy’s Department Store. My family always looked forward to going to the Dayton’s Flower Show there every spring, because they would fill the entire 8th floor Auditorium with themed floral displays. Even the kids like going because often there would be themes like Babar the Elephant that they could enjoy, as well. When Macy’s first took over though, they decided that instead of doing the show in the auditorium, they would spread the floral displays all through the store so people would be encouraged to move from floor to floor in order to see everything. Not good. I just wasn’t impressed and haven’t been back for quite a few years as a result.
This year though my daughter asked me if I wanted to try it again with my granddaughter so I decided to give it one more shot. I am so glad I did because it is amazing! I really felt like I was back in the old Dayton’s days when money was no object and anything was possible. If you haven’t gone for a few years, I heartily recommend making a visit soon to the Macy’s Towers of Flowers Show. You will be glad you did.
You can see more photos of the show HERE.
Macy's Towers of Flowers Show runs March 27th to April 10th, 2011
Mar 26th, 2011
Looks to be a late spring here in MN this year, but it is never too early to start making a wish list for that welcome day when we can begin our frequent forays to the nurseries and garden centers. Here are just a few of the new varieties of perennials, flowering annuals and vegetables that you might look for when you are out and about finding plants to fill your gardens.
Field of Dreams Ornamental Corn
Mar 24th, 2011
I have not been as successful with container plantings as I would like. I usually end up spending over $30 per large deck container just for the plants and rarely do the containers look the way I had hoped that they would look at the end of the season. I’ve finally decided that I am container-challenged so when I saw this photo album on the Proven Winner’s Color Choice Shrub Facebook page…I was excited. They are colorful, much less costly, and a lot less hassle to plant. I can even take the hardier shrubs out of the containers at the end of the season and plant them into my landscape.
Black Lace Elderberry with chartreuse sweet potato
You can find many more flowering shrubs for your pots in Monrovia’s .pdf catalog online or Bailey Nurseries New 2011 Varieties Page.
Jan 2nd, 2011
The beauty of the winter garden
My gardens are covered in a blanket of fresh snow, and I can’t help but go back to the windows often during the day to enjoy their serene winter beauty. I wonder at gardeners who put their gardens to bed and then never look at them again until spring arrives. When you live in a cold climate like ours, winter can last as long as the other three seasons combined so I have learned to appreciate the subtle beauty of the winter garden and the respite from the other season’s pests, chores and other demands.
When I look out the window now I can also see things in my landscape that I never noticed during the growing season. Trees that were covered with leaves in warmer months are now exposed and can be appreciated for their lovely skeletal shapes and the color and texture of their bark. Dried flower heads glow in warm russet tones and grasses add texture and movement to the snowy scene. After a light dusting of snow, even tall weeds glisten and have a magical quality in the landscape.
It is quite beautiful and I can’t imagine gardening anywhere else.
Read my new article for advice on designing your gardens and landscape to have winter interest and color.