happy planting.


Plant terms can be confusing. If you find yourself a bit perplexed, the glossary below may help. If I have missed any, please let me know.

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Acidic Soil Soil with a pH of less than 7
Alkaline Soil Soil with a pH of greater than 7
Amendment Any material, such as compost or lime, that is mixed with existing soil to improve properties
Annual Plant that completes its lifecycle in one growing season, then dies
Basal Foliage Leaves found near the base of the stem
Biennial Plant that completes its lifecylce in two growing seasons, then dies
Border A garden, usually containing a variety of plants, that is backed by walls, fences, or taller plants, such as, trees or shrubs
Compost Organic material used as a soil amendment
Crown Area on a plant where the stem meets the root, generally found at soil level
Cultivar Refers to a group of plants within a species that has slightly different characteristics, such as, flower color or size
Deadheading Removal of old, spent/dead flowers, may promote reblooming
Deciduous Refers to trees and shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, usually in the fall
Division The process of splitting up plants, commonly performed on perennials
en masse Planting masses of the same plant to create a bold statement
Evergreen Plants that retain their foliage for more than one growing season
Fertilizer Organic or inorganic material added to the soil to encourage plant growth
Groundcover A plant that spreads to cover the soil surface
Growth Rate Slow: 3-6" per year, Moderate: 6-12" per year, Fast: 12-24+ per year
Habit General form or shape of a plant
Hardiness Zone Zones that provide guidelines to measure a plants ability to tolerate hot and cold temperatures
Herbaceous Non-woody plant that dies back to the ground every year
Invasive Plant A plant that spreads rapidly and may take over a garden bed
Loam Soil that is a mixture of clay, sand and silt
Mass Planting A planting where large numbers of the same plant are used to provide visual interest
Native Plant A plant that naturally occurs in a certain area
Node (leaf node) a joint on a plant stem
Perennial Plant that survives for 3 or more growing seasons
Pinching A technique used to promote fuller or shorter plants, often resulting in more flower heads
Rhizome an underground stem
Semi-evergreen Plants that fall between evergreen and deciduous in terms of growth and leaf retention.  Some examples include:  they may shed their foliage for a very short time in late winter or they lose most, but not all, of their foliage for a fraction of the year; sometimes they may lose their leaves due to specific situations, such as, extremes in temperature or drought.  
 Stamen pollen producing structure, usually found within the center of the flower
Spathe Leaf like structure that encloses the flower
Taproot Main root of a plant, usually growing straight down

A plant whose green foliage is marked with another color, usually white or yellow

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The Buck Stops Here!

Would you love to have a beautifully landscaped garden around your home?  But, you feel like every time you plant something in your garden you are simply providing an hors d' oeuvre for the local deer population?  Well, you are not alone.  It is possible to smell the flowers, while enjoying the browsing deer in your backyard.  With just a little special planning, you too can have a stunning landscape. 

Use Protective Measures: audemars piguet replica watches

  • Fencing – deer can jump anything lower than 8 feet, unless you use  double fencing (two fences around whatever you are trying to protect, 4 ft. high and 5 ft. apart)
  • Netting – construct temporary fencing using deer netting and temporary steel poles or use the netting to wrap around larger plants. 

I know, I know, everyone hates to put up any type of fencing or netting, but sometimes it can be your only option in the short term.  Young trees and shrubs often need to be protected from deer browsing, but as they mature and become woody they are dropped from a deer’s menu.  Newly planted perennials can often be ripped right out of the ground by deer, but once established, even if eaten, they will soon produce new foliage and flowers.  At my house, I need to put up temporary fencing around new plantings in the winter, but they come down in spring. 

Change the menu –use undesirable plants, including:  

  • fragrant (or as some people say “smelly”) - mint, chives, lavender, sage, rosemary, peonies, iris, salvia, marigolds, monarda, allium  
  • hairy – lamp’s ear, pulmonaria
  • poisonous - foxglove, daffodils, poppies, hellebores, euphorbia, baptisia  (not all plants labeled as poisonous are life threatening, instead, many tend to cause gastrointestinal distress, hence, why deer do not eat them) 
  • prickly (you will need to wear gloves with these) - spruce, barberry, brunnera, cleome 

Scare tactics – use sound, light, motion (wind chimes, flags, windsocks, dogs, motion sensors)

What is that smell? – Deer do not like strong scents   

  • plant onions, garlic 
  • scented soaps (Dial, Irish Spring)
  • premade deer deterrent,  such as:  Liquid Fence, Deer Scram, Plant Saver
  • or make your own 

To make homemade deer repellant, place 3 eggs, 3 tbsp. garlic juice, 3 tbsp. hot pepper sauce and 1/2-cup water in a blender. Process until combined. Add this mixture to 1 gallon of water and fill a spray bottle with the repellant. Spray your outdoor plants to repel deer.

Or you may want to try:  place 2 eggs, 1 cup water, 1 cup skim milk in a blender. Process until combined. Spray on plants.

Another popular recipe is 2 eggs, 2 tbsp. oil mixed well. Add this mixture to 2 gallons of water. Fill a spray bottle with this repellant, and spray plants as needed to keep deer at bay.

Adding 2 tbsp. of dish washing liquid to any of the above recipes will improve adherence to plant leaves. 

A few words of wisdom:

Deer appetites vary by neighborhood based on the pressure in that area.  In other words, if you live in an area with an over-abundance of deer, the deer will eat plants normally not on their preferred menu.  Go into this venture anticipating that you will have to experiment and there will be some successes, but also disappointing failures.  Keep trying!!      

DO NOT FEED THE DEER.  You aren’t doing yourself, your neighbors, or the deer any favors.  By feeding deer you are bringing diseases and parasites into your yard, which can then transfer to your pets and children.  Deer over browse the areas around feeding stations (yours and the neighbor’s yards) and when well fed will produce more offspring adding to the overpopulation problem. 

You will have greater success if two or more protective measures are incorporated into your landscape.  For example:  use deer resistant plants and a deterrent, such as motion sensors or Liquid Fence.   

Check out "Deer Resistant Plants" for an updated list.

                                           Happy Planting!