So many of you share your gardening goals with me via email. I thought I would share some of my goals for this garden season. I redid one quadrant of my herb garden which had been taken over by apple mint. I have to confess that I do grow mints in the ground rather than pots and I also let them flower because flowers attract pollinators. The result is a profusion of this mint!. I ripped out as much applemint as possible. Then I dug up the bed. The rhizomes ran underground in many directions. I did the best job I could. Then I mixed in compost and replanted the bed with horseradish, beebalm, and a new type of oregano called Zorba. I am not naive. There is still applemint lurking beneath the surface. As it exhibits itself I will remove it. I know some of you are thinking 'hasn't she ever heard of Roundup?' The problem with using such products is that the chemicals have to be absorbed by the leaves and taken down into the roots. How would I know for sure that the plants are dead? I would still have to dig them up. In addition I am uncomfortable with adding an unnecessary chemical to the earth where edible plants will again be grown in the future.

Another thing I am trying this year is to lay cut up Brillo pads around the hosta. I read that slugs do not like to cross a copper barrier. The copper interacts with the slime in a way distressful to the slugs so they avoid it. Copper strips are outrageously expensive so I am trying out the copper pads. I will let you know how this works out.

I am worried about Japanese beetles again this year. Before I leave for two weeks in July I plan to cut off all my rose flowers and to wash all the plants down with detergent. It was a warm winter. I am thinking that it will be a buggy year. I am quite interested in your pest experiences this summer so be sure to email me.

Two of our children gave me garden plants for Mother's Day. I have had great fun deciding where to place them in the gardens since I did not choose them. One was a blue yucca. (That's what the label said. I have to wait for it to flower.) It found a place for this member of the agave family in the front garden in full sun. It will be quite showy I suspect.

The other was a pair of Colby's Wishing Star lilacs. The one-foot tall plants came bare rooted. Upon their arrival they were placed in buckets of water to hydrate the roots. Planting came later that week. These are dwarf lilacs and said to grow to only four feet in height. They are supposed to rebloom later in the season. My research indicates that this lilac was named after a boy named Colby who was born with Down's Syndrome in 2002 in Quebec. All the proceeds from its sale go toward a park established for handicapped children. These will be added to the shrub border in the back yard.

The hops growing on a trellis on the side of the house is in its second year. I hope it flowers this year so I can take pictures. Will we make beer? Only time will tell.

Happy gardening! I look forward to hearing from you

Forever Young Magazine - July 2010