Instant Gratification


BIG DOINGS around here this morning. I had a large doublefile viburnum (viburnum plicatum tomentosum ‘Shasta’) delivered and planted by Spielberg, a nursery in Amagansett. That’s right. Two nice guys came and dug a hole and positioned this gorgeous red-purple shrub in all its fall glory, then made the little moat around it to hold water, while I stood and watched, not straining my back in the least. It was wonderful.

View out my kitchen window at 10AM:


View out my kitchen window at noon:


I followed them with handfuls of milorganite, a fertilizer said to deter deer, and then whipped up a batch of homemade deer repellent, adapted from this website.

Then they planted two other, smaller shrubs I’d ordered: an abelia ‘Little Richard’ and a boxwood ‘Winter Gem,’ evergreens that are sure to cheer me up each time I enter the driveway this winter.



Cottage Garden, Despite the Deer

IT’S WORKING. After 7 years, the perennial beds at my upstate New York place, where my wasband (thanks to Marggy Kerr for that word) lives and gardens, are finally filled in enough to suppress weeds. Two months without any weeding, and I didn’t find the situation at all dire when I was there this past weekend. An hour’s crawl-around with a bushel basket was all it took.

The island bed, in particular — a peanut-shaped bed about 25 feet long and ten feet at its widest, in the middle of the lawn — looks fantastic now, even though the poppies and irises are done and the rudbeckia yet to come.


There is no deer fencing here, amid 20 acres of woods. All the plants we put in are deer-resistant, yet oddly, this year, all the NON-deer-resistant things planted by previous owners in years past — daylilies, white hydrangeas, and hostas, which we had basically given up on — are all in bloom now with little or no evidence of deer damage.


It’s possible that an early-spring application of milorganite (an organic fertilizer that deer conveniently hate) helped, but my new theory is that three cats roaming the property (that’s Lenox, above) and leaving their droppings may scare off the deer, who don’t realize these felines are the domestic variety and not something larger and fiercer.

Anyway, it’s a theory.