Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hebe Plant, Sweet Peas and Organic Pest Control

We went to nearby Ferndale to celebrate our wedding anniversary Saturday and walk through the Victorian village. It is always so beautiful to drive into the town of Ferndale. The hills of pine trees surround the meadows of grass and dairy farms, with the Victorian village sitting at the base of the hills. The stores in town often decorate the front of their shops with planters filled with flowers. While we were walking through town I noticed two planters containing beautiful tall plants with purple flowers. Walking further through town we found a small farmers market happening with vegetables and plants for sale. I found a hebe plant, it turns out it was the same plant I was admiring planted in the containers in front of the store we walked by. The owner of the nursery mentioned that hebes usually have white flowers but this variety had purple flowers. She told me that the hebe would grow four feet tall by four feet wide and preferred full sun. I love purple flowers and use purple as one of my main colors in the garden. I decided the hebe would be a perfect fit to fill in a final bare area in front of the fence in the front yard. With there being only one hebe plant available I didn't have to think twice about buying the plant. I planted the hebe the next day against the fence. I think the airy look of the hebe's green leaves and purple flowers will go well with the garnet penstemon planted next to it.

I planted a few sweet pea plants at the base of my obelisk near the back fence a few weeks ago. After having the first few sweet pea plants chewed up by snails I decided to grow the rest of the sweet peas in a pot for a month or more to make sure the plants were taller and sturdier before planting them out in the yard. I read in my BBC gardening magazine about a tip for organic pest control and remembered I had heard of this method before. You can use crushed egg shells to keep snails away from tender young plants. The rough egg shells scrape the snails when they crawl over them. Crush the egg shells into pieces and scatter them around the base of the new plant. This method should help deter snails on the ground. I've also heard of using sea shells broken up as the same type of method to keep snails away from tender plants. We have started carrying around a bucket of salted water with us when we garden. Collecting snails and throwing them in the bucket with the salted water apparently dehydrates them and dispatches them fairly quickly. I don't want to lose the last of my sweet peas to the snails. I'm hoping growing the small sweet pea plants for a while longer until they get bigger will do the trick and foil the snails.

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