Garden Talk

"GardenTalk", a regular feature for The Gazette, brings to you the combined experience and expertise of Holly Lake's dedicated gardeners and others. A continuing focus will be subjects of interest to anyone who has ever bought a packet of seeds or dug a hole in the ground for a plant, as well as the dedicated and sharp-eyed observers of nature. "GardenTalk" will not only inform you each issue but solicits your ideas and personal gardening experiences which you may wish to pass on to others. The hope is that "GardenTalk" will enrich us all as well as help make Holly Lake even more beautiful.By Lucy Germany
Fencing: Good news for plants, bad news for deer...
There is more than one way to stop a deer. How to discourage these hungry animals from eating plants in the landscape has been of widespread concern in Holly Lake the last year or two.
At its September meeting the Holly Gardeners tackled the problem head on with an entire program devoted to deer deterrents found to be of significant value by property owners.
The group's vice-president Cecil Wallace presented photographic evidence of various types of fencing that have proved to be of value in encouraging deer to seek other areas for their meals. The solutions include:
Barbed wire fencing(four strands) spaced so as to deter "high jumping" deer which have proved their ability to get over fences lower than eight feet. The selection of any kind of fencing involves methods for blending it with the natural environment so that it does not give the appearance of being an industrial type enclosure. In their selection of barbed wire, Ann and Rick Reynolds solved the problem of appearance by setting out a variety of native vines to cover the wire. These include coral honeysuckle, cross vine, passion flower, morning glory and Lady Banksia roses. Their selection of native vines complement their landscape's emphasis on native plants. The fence provides a protective barrier around the perimeter of the property without detracting from the original intent of the landscaping.
Other types of fencing preserve a rustic look through the use of cedar or treated wood posts. The selection of the fencing material itself runs from colored (not galvanized) chain link to plastic mesh and netting. Some people are using fishing line either to top off the fencing or as a separately strung material, in which case at least four or five strands are run individually from post to post, closely enough together to prevent access to border plants.
In one case rail fencing lined inside with black wire was the material of choice. The ultimate aim for most of the selections was to achieve a protective barrier without presenting a utilitarian or industrial look, thus preserving the rural quality of the landscaping. There was a definitely expressed desire to allow people passing by to be able to see and enjoy the many blooming plants for which this area has become known.
Chuck and Kitty Bailey spoke highly of the rustic effect afforded by their rail fence which has been additionally equipped with an armadillo barrier-a 2 by 4 mesh strip fastened to the ground with cement, running alogn the fence line.
Mike and Tricia Ray expressed confidence in heir choice of eight foot high netting while John and Diane Adams indicated they didn't want a fence of any kind but were pleased with the results of their continuous use of a home-made "deer off" brew rivaling commercial products. They stressed the necessity of maintaining any type of liquid fencing which loses its repellent quality over time and after heavy rain. They have found using their product-which is economical to produce-serves well as whole yard protection when set out along property margins. They have several suggestgions for the "deer off mix" including one involving rosemary, cheap cooking oil, milk and eggs.
Buddy and Sherry Vaughn are keeping deer at bay by putting out a wide margin of gravel along the length of their fencing. This keeps the deer from getting the kind of foothold they need to make the jump over the fence and it could increase the utility of a fence of lower height, which would reduce the cost.
Black plastic netting seven foot high in 100 foot rolls is available from local outlets and works well for properties with extensive frontage. Ken and Lee Mangham are pleased with the results of that approach.
The general discussion which followed the presentation showed a general optimism that garden plants can be protected from damage by the community's deer population. Native plants, though not totally exempt from the problem have been proved to be less likely to suffer damage to equal that routinely suffered by often expensive nursery plants.
Following the program, members heard a review of the Holly Lake nature trails, all of which were described as in good condition. Plans for future HLR beautification projects are to be considered by the group and anyone having ideas for such projects is invited to pass suggestions along to the group. The meeting closed with a drawing for door prizes.