Waging a Cold War…On Bunnies

The French Idea of gardening…
I have recently returned from a wondering holiday in southwestern France.  The villagers produce an altogether charming effect, comparable with our own cottage gardens at home.  The village street is lined with pots, standing grouped around the doorways or rising step by step up the outside staircase when there is one pots filled with pink geraniums, zinnias, begonias, nasturtiums, carnations marigolds, all mixed and gaudy.

-Vita Sackville-West
The Joy of Gardening, 1958

 

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I’ve been in a 1950’s mood lately (I wonder why), so I decided I was going to plant marigolds this year in some of our pots around the yard.  For some reason these little annuals of orange and yellow remind me of the by-gone era of cold war and rockin’ music.  Don’t ask.  Upon telling people this they would relay to me fantastical stories about the benefits of marigolds.  “They deter bunnies, and deer and bad insects. Oh my!”

I’ve since looked this information up and there seems to be mixed opinion on this.  Some even complained that marigolds brought spider mites into their gardens to reek havoc on everything in sight.  Other sites however, say that marigolds attract good insects like lady bugs (a gardener’s best friend), and that they’ll deter moles, and sometimes deer and bunnies.

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Well, I have a bunny problem.  They sneak in at night and eat all of my coneflower, and black-eyed susans, and they ate all of my pussy toes those -“beep-beep-beep!”

So, I’m waging WAR!  A sun-shiny yellow, friendly war, but a war none the less!   I’m going to take my chances on the spider mites and plant these 1950 lovelies as a border like sentries flying their colors of yellow and orange.  They’ll create a picket line around my garden and hopefully keep the enemy out.  Those bunnies will be sooooo sorry when they get a load of what I’ve got in store for them.

Readers out there; have you ever planted marigolds to deter pests?  If so please let me know how it worked out for you! Thank you!

 

“Magenta is a Nasty Color”

 

 The only nasty color produced by the zinnia is a magenta,  and this, alas, is produced only too often.  When magenta threatens, I pull it up and throw in on the compost heap, and allow the better colours to have their way.

-Vita Sackville-West
February 12th, 1950

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Yes, magenta does show up all too often when planting zinnias from seed, so much so that my Grandma complains every year about the abundance of ‘pink’.  She then enquires of my horde and I report that I’m in the same lot.
Then of course there’s the fatal mistake of buying the small “dwarf” zinnias instead of the giant “cut again” variety.  In my opinion the giant ones are better for cutting, and they dry really nicely at the end of the season.

 

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Last year, before the first frost, I harvested the remainder of my yield for drying.  It was a pleasant thing to have the blooms there all winter.  Although shriveled and dull, the reminder of summer was grand.

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If you also do not like the magenta, try clipping and drying it at its bud stage.  They make a striking appearance with their little folds of variegated green.  Grouped together in a vase their buds would be a beautiful sight to see.