Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Writer in the Garden: Roses, Deer, and Heat

Gallagher's Choice is currently in the wonderfully capable hands of my editor, Lorraine Fico-White, for the detailed edit, which means I have a little time to catch up on reader extras for the back of the book and plotting out Blackwood Crossing, the next British Agent Novel. I've also had some extra time for the gardens! The heat and deer have wreaked havoc on the plants this year. No matter how often we water, or how much deer spray we use, we've been battling nature, but if we want to coexist with the wildlife, we sometimes have to play by their rules. That means a little extra work and a lot more water.

The small bed off to the left is a new addition this month. I saw a butterfly bush that I thought would fill in nicely and of course attract more butterflies, bees, and give me more work.
Because temperatures over 75 send me inside to the cool house, there are only a few hours in the early morning when I can comfortably be outdoors, which may be why I begin every day at 5:00 AM. A workout, some gardening, and walking the dogs are about all I can handle before I jump in the lake for a cool down.

Anyway, back to the gardens . . .

This year, the roses have won top spot as my garden favorites. They also happen to be my second favorite flower, second only to heather. Unfortunately heather plants are almost impossible to get in this area, so in the past I've ordered them online at Heaths and Heathers Nursery. This year I'll order a crop in September now that I've found a place for them in the gardens. I love heather plants for many reasons, but most especially because they are hardy, and unless the snow is too deep, they foliage and color during the autumn and winter, but until those are ordered and planted, I'll enjoy the roses. 

One of my favorite whites--soft and delicate.
I enjoy mixing roses with tall perennials, and one of my favorite combinations is white and purple. The deer have munched on this lupine twice now, but it refuses to give up.
Pale yellow and purple--also a favored combination. Planting perennial salvia next to some of the roses has helped keep the deer from the flowers.
There's also a red peony that somehow found it's way next to this rose, but it's long past blooming season.
I found the darker reds by pure luck this year and liked them so much that I changed an entire flower bed from oranges (an experiment that didn't take) back to my favored red, whites, purples, and yellows.
I love the whites! These are the ones I usually cut for nosegays around the house.
This lovely red is called 'Lady Grey' and actually looks darker in person than it does in this picture. This rose is now in four of the whiskey barrels.
Okay, so I really like lavender and moss too! I wanted a small bed to run along part of the driveway, but seeing as how there's gravel beneath, I needed hardy plants that would grow and that the deer don't enjoy munching on.

Whether you grow them or not, what are some of your favorite plants and flowers? 


  1. I really like Irises and all the variations of day lilies. I had a hybrid double yellow day lily that was just gorgeous, but the heat & lack of water last year did it in. Some greenery came up this year but no flowers. I have a minature tea rose bush my husband got me a number of years ago that does extremely well in this Texas heat and actually blooms three and four times a year. I also love the purple sage we have that also blooms multiple times throughout the year. The pictures of your gardens are just beautiful!

    1. I do have a few day lilies--pale yellow and a few orange. I wasn't always a fan, but I think they are lovely. I haven't seen a double yellow day lily before--must have been beautiful. Sage is excellent--I always grow it because I know the deer will leave it alone. :)