Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Petunia Power

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul and can never be taken in overdoses. ~ Luther Burbank  

I saw on TV the other evening that there will be a new series debuting soon which centers on whether or not people are getting the satisfaction they want in life.  

Well, for today, just color me satisfied.  
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They told me not to do it.  It would not work out.  I was tempting fate.  Yada, yada, yada.  

It seems that petunias are like catnip to deer.  They not only like them, but as the song says, "they love 'em, can't get enough of 'em" .  They just slurp them up as if they were enjoying a good glass of iced tea on a hot summer day.

So our first two summers here I fore bore. And I am not usually strong in the forbearance category.  Not my favorite virtue.

This spring I just could not stand it any longer.  I went to the plant store and promptly went nuts.  They had just unloaded a whole truck load of petunias and I was immediately weak-kneed with desire and hauled home a trunk full of these lovlies.

After all, I had a new twenty-foot long redwood planter box just begging to be filled with all manner of beauty.  Seven dozen plants, two or three hours, and one back ache later, I had a petunia vista right off the back edge of my patio.  It was a veritable feast for the eyes and I pigged out!

Purple, pink, white, red, mauve, and crimson each vied for best-in-show.  Talk about a bunch of show-offs!  I grabbed my own glass of iced tea and just sat down and grinned.

True, I put them in the ground with fear and trembling, knowing full well that they might very well be gone when I got up the next morning.  I had, after all, been warned.  I would have no one to blame but myself if the local deer population strolled through and decided to throw a petunia-party.

Come on over - petunias at the Youngs!
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But guess what?  It didn't happen.  Week after week, they bloomed undisturbed and much admired.  One neighbor said to me, "I wish I had before and after pictures of your back yard."

David immediately responded, "Oh, we do."  I just smiled.

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Yesterday morning, two full months after I planted them, I opened the drapes to discovered seven dozen stems - but no petunia blossoms.  It was inevitable.  Had to happen.  Could not be avoided indefinitely.  The deer had dined.

This afternoon, I pruned, deadheaded, pinched and primped to my heart's content.  I misted them (petunia petals are delicate - at least the remaining ones were - both of them) and then gave them a good long drink of liquid fertilizer mixed in lots of cold water.  Finally, I sprayed them liberally with an organic pesticide. 

They look well-scrubbed and sturdy.  Naked but healthy.  Well, who wouldn't settle for that?

Just before dusk, I gave them a good spraying with deer-repellant; just like putting flea and tick drops on Holly.

So I rested from my labors.  Satisfaction may be fleeting.  Perhaps even illusory.  But I will take mine where I can get it, and today, I got it from rehabbing my petunia bed. I could try to draw some spiritual analogy, about people and circumstances and life's disappointments.  But really, this was just about the flowers.

It is true that right now I have almost no petunia blossoms.  Lots of plants, but very few flowers.  But I remember their glory.  And I have hope for their recovery.  Petunia power is a wonderful thing.
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Hope your blossoms are coming along nicely, and that the local marauders missed your garden.  Until next time ~ your satisfied gardener, Marsha 


  1. One good thing about living in the mountains is the lack of garden maintenance. We have gravel that surrounds our house (fire abatement), and as for the rest, the forest takes care of it all! However, we have had to surround our two fruit trees, and an aspen tree with chicken wire, because yes - they are also a deer magnet!

    Beautiful flowers!


  2. What a shame! I hope they come back and the deer stay away. We have rabbits that love to eat most any of our flowers.

  3. You are either brave or mad to plant flowers that the deer love. However, the flowers did reward you with their beautiful blossoms and colours and then with the process of caring for the survivors. Wow a 20 foot planter and 7 dozen plants....that's a lot of back ache work. Ours got eaten by possums. But I gave up trying to grow them.

  4. I hope they return!! My grandmother used to LOVE petunias. She always had so many. This post brought back memories :-)

  5. If you don't plant you won't see them AT ALL. Good for you…sharing is caring. You had them for a while and then you shared…blessings, right?
    Hope they rebloom but good for you! Big hugs and keep on keeping on dear heart!