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Gardening In Retirement
Old 06-01-2019, 06:48 AM   #1
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Gardening In Retirement

Hi folks. I am an old farm boy moved to the City. I have enjoyed gardening for many years. I also enjoy photography and capturing the beauty of the blooms in my rose beds, wildflower garden and other flower gardens. I make up calendars from my photographic works to sell and to give as gifts to family and friends. I cannot do my gardening as I once did anymore, so I have to find new ways to do things. Even so, the gardens are a huge stress reliever and place of peace for me. Do others here garden as well? If so, I would love to hear of your gardening and ways you have found to still garden even though you cannot do things as you once did. I have attached a couple of my photos for folks to enjoy as well.
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Old 06-01-2019, 07:34 AM   #2
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We bought a house that had very nice mature landscaping. Our goal is to keep it up. There are a lot of flowers and shrubs to keep up on. Unfortunately, this type of gardening (as compared to vegetable gardening) has been frustrating. It’s hard work, which we don’t mind, but it’s also a battle with nature. Animals seem to want to eat practically everything. I don’t know what the prior owner did to get the yard this well developed. It is rewarding though when or grand daughter is watering the flowers or picking them cause they’re so pretty (she’s 4). It’s also rewarding when things look well kept and the yard look nice. For now, we spray a deer and rabbit repellent and that works pretty well if you keep up on it, but our goal is to convert over to more plants that the deer don’t like. For now we’ Keep at it, but as time takes its toll, we’ll probably move into a condo and just do some containers. If you stay in you house, I guess you have to hire out the hard jobs or find a more self sustaining layout.

Those pictures are beautiful. What is the name of those purple flowers?
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Old 06-01-2019, 07:34 AM   #3
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I'm getting better at it. Previous house had a rock garden in the back side year and some plantings in the back with EVIL pea gravel. I hated that stuff- it was at the point that weeds were coming up through it but of course you couldn't pull them out and get the roots, and I hate having to douse the garden with poisons. "Gardening" felt more like weed control than anything else.

Current house, bought in 2015, has extensive gardens lovingly planted- the wife of the couple who owned it was a past president of the local garden club, which I promptly joined. It's been nice being surprised as various flowers bloom in succession but it's taken me quite awhile to get the weeds under control. I've also been planting the bare spots with native grasses- they're graceful, the local critters like them and they spread out and crowd out the weeds. While I did buy a pile of new plants this year (all perennials), I'm also at the point where I can divide and transplant my own. I love seeing the things I've planted flourishing!
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:27 AM   #4
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I've tried. I have a yellow thumb.

I bought a new house in 2001 and it had zero landscaping. On a sloped mountain lot, so no real yard to speak of, other than a grass strip off my back deck. I did pretty well with shrubs out front, and mixed success with trees. I foolishly trusted the picture on a WalMart maple tree--it has grown great and provides nice shade, but in fall it turns brown and yellow. A tree expert assured me it's a red maple, probably just a poor cultivar. Evergreens on either side of my house are slowing filling in to give me more privacy and noise isolation. I need it especially for the one house that went in the vacation rental program. I've had good success with Japanese maples, which are very pretty. The first one is big now, so I planted a couple more nearer the road, and my neighbor planted a few as well.

Two years ago I made a flower bed, filled it with good top soil, etc, and put in a bunch of bulbs, did my best to get the right depth. Last year they came up and looked nice. This year virtually nothing. A few shoots, no flowers. I added a few wild flowers last year, I'll probably try to add more but those are only doing so-so too.
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:31 AM   #5
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Hi Jerry1. It does take some work to keep things looking good and critters are a challenge, however the benefits are what it is all about. Such as Granddaughters enjoying things and taking some pics of them doing so. When I run into something that I just cannot do like I used to, I ponder on it and figure out a work around. The little blue flowers are on a plant called the Sea Heart Forget Me Not. The plant is hardy as all get out and we love those blooms! We bought another one this year for our gardens. Glad you liked the photos!
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:34 AM   #6
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Yes big gardener. And yes the battle with deer, rabbits and weeds is ongoing. I woke up to a deer in the yard and often have 15 or more in the far back yard which is woods/meadow and I don't tend. The 1/2 acre around the house I tend and I finally put up a deer fence a few years ago which helped greatly. Still nothing quite as impressive as a deer clearing a 7-foot barrier. They can make very short work of hostas. A labour of love!! This year I was aggressive with Preen - a pre-emergent for weeds and the results were pretty impressive.
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:36 AM   #7
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Hi Athena53. I surely understand the weeds angle! I have often told friends and family that if they could combine weeds with food crops and form a hybrid food crop, world hunger would end in an instant! I keep after them too but I enjoy being in my gardens and rose beds no matter the chore. It is indeed wonderful to see thing flourish! Gardens do grow best with the Shadow of the Gardener in them.
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:41 AM   #8
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Hi RunningBum. Perhaps you should try planting some Knock Out or Home Run shrub roses. They are all part of the new self cleaning rosebushes. That means that you do not have to deadhead them unless you want to. They will continue to bloom regardless of deadheading them (removing the old spent blooms). I am a Staff Writer and Consultant for a great gardening website called www.gardeningknowhow.com . There are a bunch of great helpful articles there on various types of gardening and problem issues with gardening. Check it out, I hope you find it helpful.
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:44 AM   #9
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we have worked hard to remove 60 year old overgrown trees and bushes in our yards. I like to see space between bushes! I tend to plant perennials and those that attract bees, butterflies and humming birds. I have a few rose bushes, lavender plants, a few rhodies,, along with several bulbs--daffodils, iris, dahlias, lilly. And I plant summer annuls such as zinnias, geraniums, fuchsia.
I also have less of a green thumb and tend my garden once a week maybe--weeding, cutting and trimming flowers. water a few times a week. Most things have proven to be hardy despite my less than tender loving care!
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:47 AM   #10
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Hi 6miths! Those deer and some rabbits do create a huge challenge. I have heard of and read about the Preen but have never used it. Glad to hear of your success reports with it. I have read that you have to change up whatever deterrent you use for the deer as they become used to things pretty quickly. It is the unfamiliar aspects that they are wary of. One friend of mine that lives in the foothills here changes up sounds and the way things look on 4 month or so basis. That has been working for him for the last six years now, along with using some spray deterrents.
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:54 AM   #11
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Yes the deer are impressive. We are very overpopulated and an annual hunt doesn't have much impact. And now with the second deer inside the fence in 3 days (though it looked like it might have been the same deer), I definitely have to go out and spray repellent to try to convince them to stay out of the bad smelling/tasting zone! I have a few rabbits that I mind less as they can't eat as much, though they are partial to taking the heads off crocuses early in the year which is annoying!
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:58 AM   #12
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Hi pacergall! Gardening should be about what works best for you and what you like. It should also be a place where you can spend some time doing something that moves you away from day to day stresses. I have always found it to be a fantastic stress reliever. Even when I am dealing with one problem issue or another such as weeds or insects or fungus attacks. It is something out of the day to day hammer smacking issues. I fully retired from my career of over 40 years on May 22nd. I have been spending alot of time in my gardens and rose beds, more than before and I am loving it. I make a few extra bucks writing gardening articles and consulting with folks on some gardening issues too. If you ever want to check up on a plant or plants and find out more about them and their care, check out www.gardeningknowhow.com . Great group of knowledgeable folks and many of my rose related articles can be found there too. Enjoy your gardening, whatever form it takes on for you!
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:00 AM   #13
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I know I have deer- I see their droppings and occasionally see actual deer- but they leave my hostas alone. I was surprised when a fellow Garden Club member said they devoured hers. Mine are on a very steep slope on one side of the house- maybe too steep for them to get a foothold while eating? I count my blessings.
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:03 AM   #14
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6miths, I wonder how one of those Halloween action activated screamers (full body type or otherwise) would work? Place one of maybe two of them out by the outside of the fence, at a side the deer tend to approach from. When the deer get close enough the thing goes off! That would likely work a few times before having to move it.
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:06 AM   #15
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Here is a link to my website where some of my photography works are posted. I hope you will find it enjoyable. Link: https://rosemanstansdiary.com/
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:29 AM   #16
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We live in a mobile home park, so there is not much ground to plant in. However, we have a 40 foot by two foot patch we have made the most of. as you can see in the attached photos.

I also have 4 tomato plants in the back, and the first tomato is just starting to redden.
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Old 06-01-2019, 11:06 AM   #17
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Gorgeous photos, Stan. Can’t decide which one is my favorite. Thanks for sharing with us.
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Old 06-01-2019, 12:40 PM   #18
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6miths, I wonder how one of those Halloween action activated screamers (full body type or otherwise) would work? Place one of maybe two of them out by the outside of the fence, at a side the deer tend to approach from. When the deer get close enough the thing goes off! That would likely work a few times before having to move it.

Over the 20+ years at this lot we have tried many things. We have always had dogs and most of them have been interested. Mainly blue heelers/cattle dogs who are desperate to get out there and get the deer all organized. As mentioned deer rapidly acclimatize to various methods. One of my favourites is the scarecrow sprinkler - fairly effective and good for a laugh when I as one of my dear family members to do a garden tending for me or even when I forget about them! Nothing has been anywhere near as effective as the 7-foot mesh fence. Like using the club on your car or the home burglar system - make it a bit less attractive or more work. They still visit though. And are a beautiful sight.
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Old 06-01-2019, 01:31 PM   #19
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I know I have deer- I see their droppings and occasionally see actual deer- but they leave my hostas alone.
That's the most incredible statement I've heard in a while (excepting the UFO thread, of course )

My dad, who grew up on a farm in the midwest, had an impressively green thumb. He could grow anything and grow it bigger and better than anyone, even in the city where we lived. My thumb is gray (not quite black, but close).

One very useful thing I learned from someone here on this forum (I think it may have been simple girl) is the Earthbox system. A long way from cheap, but they work amazingly well for those of us who are less than adept at gardening. I have four of them on my deck here at the condo and they have been a delight every morning since I started using them.
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Old 06-01-2019, 01:40 PM   #20
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We have always had dogs and most of them have been interested. Mainly blue heelers/cattle dogs who are desperate to get out there and get the deer all organized.
One of the funniest things I have ever seen was our former top cat, Puffin. She was the most fearless cat I've ever known (once chased off two small dogs who dared to walk past on "our" sidewalk while leashed to their owner. He scampered off with them. DW went out and apologized to him, while I was doubled over with laughter).

At our next house, a bit farther out from the city, we had lots of wildlife. One afternoon I looked out back and Puffin was off in the back yard staring at a deer, two feet away. About once a minute, she would take a step forward and the deer took a step back. This went on for probably ten minutes, and eventually they declared it a draw and each went its separate way.

I miss Puffin every day.
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