Favorite Garden Photos of 2012

The pot has such great texture, and then there's that owl.
The pot has such great texture, and then there’s that owl.

Do you ever have that experience downloading photos where you go — wow! — I can’t believe I captured that image?  Garden tours often leave me with that sensation — though it’s more due to the beauty of the gardens than any skill I bring to the party. This year, I visited Monet’s Garden in France, where nearly every picture was lovely. Here are a few other favorites from 2012. Interestingly, several of them were take on the same day — June 23 — when I visited the Hudson Wis. Garden Tour. The light was perfect that day — a little overcast, but bright — and the gardens were gorgeous. What was the favorite photo you took in 2012?

Happy New Year!


An Easy Way to Protect Plants from Rabbits and Deer

I toured more than a dozen gardens this weekend and saw lots of creative ideas, from antiques in the garden to exciting plant combinations. Two of my favorite ideas were ways to protect plants from marauding critters.

Upside down tomato cage to deter deer
Deer don’t like rubbing their noses in pointy tomato cages.

This contraption is a deer deterrent in a large rural garden near Hudson, Wis. No doubt deer are a constant problem in this area, but the home owner has out-smarted them with these home-crafted cages. The cages are made from regular tomato cages, turned upside down, with the pointy ends twisted outward.  Apparently, deer stub their noses on the cages when they come to browse the hostas and so they move on to less difficult territory.

Wire cover to keep rabbits off hostas
An antique water dish cover used for chickens protects hostas from rabbits.

These covers for hosta plants were intended to cover a chicken’s water dish, according to the South St. Paul gardener who found them at an estate sale. The chickens could get their beaks through to get water but could not fowl the water in anyway. The gardener uses them to keep rabbits from munching on her hostas.

Have you heard of other creative ideas for keeping critters at bay?