Garden Journal

Winging it: If you want to attract more butterflies to your garden, drop by the Reems Creek Valley Nursery this Saturday, Aug. 12, at 10:30 a.m. for a free Butterfly Gardening Seminar. The nursery is located at 70 Monticello Rd. in Weaverville. For more info and to pre-register, call 645-3937.

Lift and separate: Lilies are ready to roll after their bloom cycle ends. The idea is to give the tubers more room to dance. Cut spent flower stalks but don’t worry about the leaves. The crown of the plant (where foliage erupts from the root) wants to be an inch or so below the surface. For optimum growth, it’s best to loosen the soil to the depth of a spade and mix in compost or rotted manure before planting.

Bugged by bunnies?: Tops of plants and flowers sometimes seem to vanish overnight. If parsley plants, sunflowers and squash blossoms have recently disappeared from your garden, or any previously delectable specimens are looking well-grazed instead of well-grown, chances are that you have a rabbit problem. Commercial repellents work some of the time. Some are chemical-based while others use fox or other predator urine, probably derived from fur-farm captives. The presence of a dog or robust cat will help spread fear among the bunnies, and human urine seems to work, as long as the human is an omnivore. Electric fences work best of all, but may require more time, cost and effort than most home gardeners care to invest. Ultimately, developing a keen appreciation for the little varmints is probably the shortest route to contentment concerning the missing greens.

About Cecil Bothwell
A writer for Mountain Xpress since three years before there WAS an MX--back in the days of GreenLine. Former managing editor of the paper, founding editor of the Warren Wilson College environmental journal, Heartstone, member of the national editorial board of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, publisher of Brave Ulysses Books, radio host of "Blows Against the Empire" on WPVM-LP 103.5 FM, co-author of the best selling guide Finding your way in Asheville. Lives with three cats, macs and cacti. His other car is a canoe. Paints, plays music and for the past five years has been researching and soon to publish a critical biography--Billy Graham: Prince of War:

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