Saturday, February 8, 2014

With Spring "just around the corner" I wanted to share some helpful and important tips on conservation and gardening woohoo's and woe's ~

First lets talk about the best "environmentally friendly" way to handle pests and disease in your gardens. Using harmful pesticides and herbicides will cause residual harm and health risks for us and our pets, and we absolutely don't want that.  Here are some very useful tips that I found on a local garden club website that I would like to share. I personally use these same techniques and I can say that they do work.

Conservation Tips for the Garden
  1. Stop using garden chemicals . . . Lawn pesticides and fertilizers leach into drinking water and come into your house on shoes and pets.
  2. The many natural products available at your local garden shop are better alternatives.
  3. Do not allow herbicide 2, 4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid to be used on your lawn.  Exposure doubles your pets’ risk of canine malignant lymphoma and threatens your own health.  
  4. One way to avoid herbicides is use white vinegar to kill grass between patio bricks and spot spray on weeds in lawn – best results when used on a sunny day. 
  5. Kill aphids by spraying soapy water on infested plants then rinse with clear water.
  6. To avoid pesticides, introduce beneficial insects into your garden.  
    ~  One ladybug eats as many as 5,000 aphids per year.   
    ~  Reduce mosquitoes by putting a bat box in your yard.
    ~  Encourage insect eating birds by providing birdhouse

DEER PROBLEMS ~ Here are some "natural" remedies and recipes to help keep those hungry deer away from your beautiful garden. 

I am sure some of you may be thinking "Shotgun"  ... Please don't do that !!!!! instead, here are my tips that I use and also found online. This really does work.

Homemade Deer Repellent - Recipe 1:
3 raw eggs
3 tbls. of red hot sauce
3 tbls. of garlic juice or minced
Add enough water to a blender to process and mix well. Add this to a gallon of water and spray on plants.
Homemade Deer Repellent - Recipe 2:
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon of cooking oil
1 Tablespoon of dish soap
Add 1 gallon of water and shake well. Spray or sprinkle on plants every two weeks or after heavy rain.
Homemade Deer Repellent - Recipe 3:
1 egg
1 or 2 garlic cloves, smashed or minced
1 tablespoon of yogurt or milk
Deer Eating a Bush
Mix in a gallon jug, and pour a little on your plants.
Spray the mixture straight to the leaves of plants you wish to protect. Adding dish soap to the mix can extend its life somewhat, making the solution adhere to leaves of plants a bit better. Though the recipes are relatively easy, they are not a fully set-it-and-forget method. Most any kind of spray-on will need to be reapplied at least every couple of weeks or after hard rains.

As we continue to move through winter, don't get too discouraged, Spring is seriously just around the corner and soon we will be busy tending to our gardens and enjoying the beauty of it all. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The long winter months are dragging on and on, so in order to get out of this rut, I've decided to go visit one of my favorite Historic Properties ~ The Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, NY.  I know it will be covered in snow and the beautiful gardens will still be sleeping, but I know the grounds will be beautiful and I will absolutely love walking around this gorgeous property and taking in all the views of the Hudson River.

If you are interested in the History of Landscapes and properties like I am, then you absolutely must visit the Vanderbilt Mansion Hyde Park, N.Y.  I'm attaching the link to the Garden Associations website, and encourage everyone to read through the history and current events, and also consider helping the association to continue with their mission of preserving and restoring these beautiful gardens.  The property itself is owned by the National Park Service, however, the formal Italian Gardens, that F.W. Vanderbilt had installed, are now being maintained and preserved by the Garden Association.  I am honored to have been a part of the association, and I look forward to continuing this year, as it is truly an uplifting experience.

Here are some photos of years gone by: Spring ~ Summer ~ Fall ~ Winter