Every autumn we plant pansies and Violas.
These colorful little plants brighten our outdoor pots and beds for a good six months. They are usually still going strong when we need to pull them out to plant spring and summer annuals.
When the days begin to warm in February and March, the plants expand and come into their glory, covered in bright blossoms.
Paired with bulbs, ferns, Hellebores, evergreen shrubs, and ornamental kale or cabbage; they create a stunning display for the cooler half of our gardening year.
The only problem we have, is that these pretty flowers also taste good… to any passing deer.
We’ve tried various ways to protect them over the years. And the method which works best (so far), and which we are using again this season, involves garlic.
We plant cloves of garlic interspersed with our pansy starts.
Our freshly planted Violas were grazed last fall before I tried the garlic. A few plants never recovered. Others bounced back in late winter.
Only the Violas planted out of reach on our back deck went unscathed.
But last year, after the first grazing, I tried simply tossing some cloves on top of the soil around the plants. It worked: No more grazing in the garlic laced pots.
But something else happened, too: the garlic cloves sprouted! Roots busily grew out of the business end of each clove, seeking soil and moisture.
Plants always amaze me with their determination to live and grow. When I notice the cloves rooting into the pots, I helped them out with a gentle nudge into the soil. Each clove grew long green leaves, which we could have snipped to eat.
When I dug the Violas to transplant out into beds at spring potting time, the garlic went with them.
So I’m starting off right this year.
Little cloves are going into the soil around ever Viola, Panola and pansy we plant. Some have already sprouted leaves.
They look like ornamental bulbs beginning to sprout, and don’t detract from the beauty at all, to us.
We look at them as “green insurance” for our Violas, Panolas and pansies to last through the winter, ungrazed.
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014