Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Aromatic Flowers, Deer and Box Turtles

I spent quite a bit of time smelling this gardenia at Monticello on July 4th. I miss having them in the garden as we did in Alabama. The deer ate the bushes we planted after moving to Virginia so we can't grow them here.

It's such a heavenly scent, I suppose the deer can't resist munching on them, and like me inhaling time after time, they also must think, "just one more bloom."

Speaking of deer and heavenly scents, this year I had decided to grow Heritage Petunias in a large area thinking it would be impossible for the deer to eat all of them. I was correct, but since they nibble daily, the plants aren't able to bloom.

We so enjoy the aroma of those luscious petunias. Louise, the wife of the man who created the Butterfly Bench, gave us 8 seedlings and they spread and grew so lush even in the Alabama sun. When we moved here I had to have more and she brought some on their first visit.

I've grown them on the deck here each year and that is where they will need to remain to keep the deer from feasting. So, this morning I had the awful task of pulling all of those petunia plants out of the ground. It was a task that grieved me, but it was also sad to see them not being able to bloom for the butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

I had enough annual seedlings of the Hummingbird Salvias to fill in the area, and I knew that it was the right choice. We have a Backyard Wildlife Habitat and our yard is a Monarch Waystation, so I had to do the best thing for all concerned.

In the process I discovered a Box Turtle! That's the second one in the past month. This one was smaller than the first, so I know there are now two in our habitat and the joy of that took away all the sorrow of removing the petunias.

I placed him in another area where he could dig under the leaves and when I checked later, that's exactly what he'd done.

Box Turtles are becoming less common with all the development and clearing of forests. They can live to be 100 years old.

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