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Here’s some wise garden trivia

August 9, 2009
BY DORIS GUYON, Sacandaga Garden Club, For The Leader-Herald

My previous column covered flower arranging but this time I chose to write about gardening trivia.

I purchased a book, among others, at the Fourth of July Northville Library book sale not for myself but for the Sacandaga Garden Club's Library.

However, one book gave me the incentive to share some of its information.

Mind you, it's an old book but gardening is still gardening and flowers are still flowers.??

Many of the solutions to gardening problems that are in my book-sale book are outmoded and not environmentally correct.

I tried to pick a solution that will not harm a person or theearth.??

Hornet: There is a European hornet (Vespa Crabro) that builds its nest in the hollow of a tree and in gathering wood for this construction, tears pieces of bark from the lilac, boxwood, arborvitae, and other trees and shrubs.

They also appear to feed on the sap flowing from the wounds, being active in the evening until 9 p.m. or later.

They can be caught in lighted traps. Plants may be coated with: hydrated lime (5 ounces) and wheat flour (2 ounces) in one gallon of water.

Iris: By the end of summer, plants are apt to be wind-torn and choked with weeds.

All grass and rubbish should be cleared from around the base in late August and the "fans" of leaves cut to about 5" tall.

Poison ivy: Poison ivy has no shame. It invades your garden, climbs up trees, and settles itself along the roadsides.

This is a stay-away from plant as far as I am concerned.

For those not familiar with it, the leaves consist of three somewhat oval, pointed leaflets glossy above, slightly hairy beneath; the small greenish flowers in loose clusters are followed by small grayish round fruits remaining on the plant during the winter.

The foliage takes on red and orange hues during the fall.

I once picked the stems in winter mistaking the fruit for a plant called "dolls eyes" (common name) and regretted it hugely. Poison ivy may be eradicated by soaking with 3 pounds of common salt to 1 gallon of water.

Do not burn poison ivy for the oil from the plant is airborne and can land on your skin and clothing and cause havoc to those who are allergic.??

Rain gauge: I have a small composition rabbit that is meant to hold a glass rain gauge but I have broken it and all replacements.

I read in my used book purchase that if you dig a hole and insert a wide mouth jar with another inside of it, you have a sturdy rain gauge.

I would mark the inside jar so that you have a tally of the rain rather that going through another step of measuring it.

Also I would rather insert a large can with nail holes in the bottom for drainage and paint the can inside and out.??

Of mice and moles: The meadow mouse and its allied species, the pine mouse, are responsible for most of the damage to orchard and shrubbery.

The latter is particularly destructive in the winter when hidden from sight by snow and protective mulches its labyrinth of runways involves a havoc of ruined trees and other vegetation.

The mole, though no eater of plant life, does make raised runways topped with yellow grass and mounds of earth in the center of immaculate lawns sometimes makes their eradication imperative.

The mole is no eater of plant life and destroys great quantities of mice, beetles, and grubs, creatures which have no mercy on delicate roots and bulbs.

I know of no solution to their eradication besides a trap that is environmentally accepted.??

The name of my treasured used book is "The Wise Garden Encyclopedia" by Wm. H. Wise & Co., Inc. and distributed by Grosset and Dunlap.



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