With Hands and Feet on the Ground ...by Sr. Paz
I had just arrived at St. Placid when I was assigned the task of growing flowers. I didn’t have any idea of how to do it. Things went well and we had plenty of zinnias in the garden and for the chapel that year. But not a single cosmos. I don’t know why. I did exactly the same with both packages of seeds. Anyway, I was told I have a green thumb. I almost believe it. But deep inside me I know it's just beginner's luck. What I can really take care of is cactus and succulents. They survive well my long space of times of forgetfulness. Besides, cactus and succulents are not resentful. Instead, they are so grateful when I remember to water them!
It’s been a time of trial and error. I have learned a lot. Like, there is no real deer resistant plant. Hydrangeas, gladiolus, hungry deer eat everything. One day attending a zoom meeting I noticed the deer at the bird feeder. It was a beautiful buck. He had a very long tongue that he used as a straw to remove most of the seeds with surprising speed. They eat everything. He was even trying the hummingbird feeder.
To keep the deer away I have tried everything. Deer repellent--it didn’t repel deer. I put some fences. I notice the deer passing inspecting them with curiosity before eating the flowers with the same calm and peacefulness as ever. One day I saw a doe with twin fawns. They looked so adorable. I followed them; mom guided them to the source of food. Of course, they ended in Our Lady Garden. They are so cute but...I cannot feed all of them.
I have another plan for Our Lady Garden: To use native plants that help the environment, help replenish the source of clean water and provide food to butterflies. My plan includes planting milkweed. My hope is that more monarchs, bees, and bumblebees will have a small oasis where they can feed, reproduce, and grow. I hope deer dislike the taste of milkweed! For this I set aside the right side of the garden, cleaned it very well and sowed the milkweed seeds there. Next year I will know if the plan works out.