Archive | May 2015

Discouraging the Deer from Feasting on Your Garden

Keeping some of the flowers away from the deer!

Keeping some of the flowers away from the deer!

Have you come up with creative ways to keep the deer from enjoying your gardens more than you do? The best approach my family has come up with is to build fences. This has been especially important around the vegetable garden or they would reap our entire harvest. They don’t seem to be very picky though and enjoy many types of flowers too.

Here’s just a sample of the many ways gardeners try to keep the deer away: mothballs, peppermint, ultrasonic devices, hair, fabric softener and blood meal.  Success with any of these seems to vary for each and every gardener. Location of your garden in relation to other deer snacks, like fully operational farms or deep forest and the presence of other animals outside are also important factors impacting how much the deer may eat.

Keeping beautiful flowers from the deer may be an experiment in finding the plants your local herd doesn’t enjoy. Follow the link to an HGTV article that shares some suggestions for deterring the deer from your garden, with what they refer to as ‘deer resistant annuals’.

Written and posted by Rachel


Transplanting Hostas

HostaIt’s spring and those hosta shoots are rapidly emerging and unfurling. If you find that an established hosta is struggling to thrive, feel free to dig it up and transplant it. This is best done in the spring as the shoots are emerging, or in fall as the leaves are dying back. But truth be told, I’ve transplanted sizable hostas in the middle of summer on a cool day with great success, as long as I’ve kept them well watered and they spent minimal time with exposed roots. My rule… if a hosta’s not happy, move it. It will thank you in the long run.

by Tammy Borden
excerpt from the Summer 2009 edition of the OCMGA Newsletter

Posted by Kim

A Flower that Blooms All Year Long!

sunflower 1
It was my pleasure to donate my metal artwork to OCMGA and display it in our garden at the entrance to the U.W. Extension office.
This is number 3 of 3 steel sunflowers that I made in the FVTC “Welding Metal Sculptures” class in October 2014. I gave number 1 to my son to christen his new house. Number 2 I donated to the Wild Center, it is now located near the Wild Center main entrance.
sunflower 2
I cut out the sunflower petals and leaves with a plasma cutter. Then belt sanded and rolled and shaped them with the equipment in the FVTC metal fabrication labs. Then I welded all the parts together with a wire feed welder. Lastly, I spray painted four coats of Krylon clear over the entire sunflower. The paint will eventually wear off and it will begin to rust, but I believe that will give the artwork a whole new dimension of character.
This sunflower does not need watering and it blooms 12 months a year!
sunflower rich
Written by: Rich Fischer
Posted by: Rachel

Don’t miss the Outagamie County Master Gardeners’ 2015 Plant Sale

Saturday, May 16th from 8 am – 2 pm

at 3365 W. Brewster St. in Appleton

Master Gardener volunteers have been busy preparing for crowds of shoppers at our biggest fundraiser of the year.





A garden rummage area is filled with bargains.


Compost for has been delivered for sale to use to amend soil in preparation for purchased plants.


Arrive early for the best selection!

Posted by Sue

The Humble Dandelion

dandelionI admit that those bobbing yellow heads irritate me when they pop up in my carefully kept lawn. And, for those neighbors that make no effort to control the growth of the dandelions in their yards that are so close to mine, I have unkind thoughts. But sometimes, especially when my grandchildren visit, I remember when I couldn’t wait to run out and pick those beautiful little flowers for my mom. Or sit with my friends and rub them under everyone’s chins to see who liked butter. At one time, I knew how to weave them into a lovely tiara and pretend to be a fairy princess, but I think that skill has gone. Then, as a teenager, my friend’s dad made dandelion wine that didn’t taste very good, but was a forbidden pleasure.

But not everyone outgrows their love for these little spots of sunshine. From Mother Earth News: “All parts of the dandelion are edible and have medicinal and culinary uses. It has long been used as a liver tonic and diuretic. In addition, the roots contain inulin and levulin, starchlike substances that may help balance blood sugar, as well as bitter taraxacin, which stimulates digestion. Dandelion roots can be harvested during any frost-free period of the year and eaten raw, steamed, or even dried, roasted and ground into a coffee substitute. The flowers are best known for their use in dandelion wine, but they also can be added to adownload salad, made into jellies or dipped in batter to make dandelion fritters. The leaves are rich in potassium, antioxidants, and vitamins A and C. Dandelion greens can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, sautéed or braised. For use in salads, greens should be harvested from new plants while still small and tender, before the first flower emerges. Larger greens tend to be tougher and more bitter, and better suited for cooking.”

And they make lovely tiaras for little girls!

Posted by Vicki

Star Magnolia

OCMGA member Rich Fischer's star magnolia

OCMGA member Rich Fischer’s says his 20-year-old star magnolia has never bloomed as beautifully as it has this year!

Along with tulips, daffodils, and other early flowering spring bulbs, one of the first signs of spring in your garden will be the beautiful star magnolia (magnolia stellata). Grown as an ornamental tree or a large shrub, the star magnolia is hardy in zones 4 to 9, and produces beautiful and fragrant pink or white (depending on the cultivar) flowers each spring. The trees require very little care and virtually no pruning unless you’re trying to achieve a specific shape, and will generally reach 20-25 feet in height. My magnolia flourishes every year and the only ‘watch out’ is the possibility of scale (magnolia scale is an insect that feeds on the sap of the tree), which is easily managed with horticultural oil BUT MUST BE CAUGHT EARLY! One early summer or late spring application of oil (in a bottle that attaches to your garden hose) is generally all that is necessary.

For more information about the beautiful magnolia, a tree that has graced my lawn for many years, go to this article published by the Wisconsin Master Gardener Program. For additional information about scale and the treatment, go to this article published by Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences.

Posted by Vicki

Herbs for Sale

from Master Gardener Mary Learman

Medicinal-HerbsThe annual plant sale of the Outagamie County Master Gardener Association is this Saturday, May 16. In addition to the many perennial plants, shrubs, and vegetable plants, we’ll also have a very large selection of herbs to add to your gardens and containers:

  • Basil                                    Regular sweet, Purple rain, Minette, Thai, Lemon,                                                                        Cinnamon
  •  Borage
  • Caraway
  • Catmint
  • Cilantro
  • Salad Burnet
  • Sorrel
  • Calendula
  • Chamomile                        German
  • Dill                                       Fernleaf
  • Fennel                                 Florence
  • Lavender
  • Lovage
  • Mint                                     Lemon, Spearmint, Peppermint
  • Nasturtiums                       Various
  • Oregano                              Greek
  • Rosemary
  • Sage                                     Garden
  • Savory                                 Winter, Summer
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme                                 French summer, Mother, English, Creeping

Posted by Vicki