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Spearmint to the rescue?

Posted by lavender_lass WA zone 4 (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 18, 10 at 12:36

Well, so far I haven't lost ANY roses to the deer...despite their best efforts! LOL

I've moved a few, planted herbs around several, but still have a few that are getting the tops chewed on. I have one HUGE rose that's a hybrid tea that reverted to the long red climber, after it froze out a few years ago. I kind of let it do what it wants to do, since it's screening a utility pole for me.

Anyway, some spearmint is growing around the base of it...and the deer won't touch it. Not even a nibble. So, I've been thinking, what if I plant spearmint around the front of all the roses that don't have lavender. (Lavender $6 a piece at Lowe's....spearmint free!) Also, there is no more lavender available until next July.

My question, should I plant the spearmint in some kind of tube or pot buried in the dirt? I can't leave them potted, since they would freeze over the winter and I would like them to spread out a little...I just don't want them taking over the garden and choking out the roses. Acutally, if they didn't hurt the roses, I wouldn't mind them choking out the weeds :)

Any suggestions, ideas or warnings? Thank you!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Spearmint to the rescue?

Why not take cuttings of your lavendar? I needed about 150 plants to make a hedge and I couldn't afford to pay for that at even $3 a plant, so I took cuttings and nearly all made it and are growing well, but still small with a few flowering this year. I expect next year they will all flower and be full sized.
In saying that the deer still ate the roses with lavendar in front of them, where I used to have them.
They wouldn't be a groundcover though like spearmint, but from other mints I've grown, I'd be very careful if not planting in a pot. They have this habit of jumping around like the energizer bunny.
Another thought, do they eat geraniums there? I planted a couple rozanne geraniums(purple flowers) around some roses and they sprawled just like a mint would.
Sorry the pic is a little blurry.
Of course, these are inside my fence, so I have no experience if the deer would be detered by this.


RE: Spearmint to the rescue?

It's funny you should ask, because I got two of the purple geraniums and the deer ate them almost to the ground. That being said, it's the twins, and they eat/sample almost everything. I don't know if adult deer would normally eat them, or not.

I haven't had any problem with them eating the roses behind the lavender (so far) but the ones that are really tall that stick up over three feet, do get a little nibble. I guess they'll reach over the lavender, but not put their faces down into it. Most of my roses were little bands this year, so only the damasks got tall enough to be nibbled, in that bed.

I got some really nice bee balm that I'm thinking about planting in the fairy garden. On the one hand, I'm a little concerned that it might take over, but it's also the garden that for some reason has bindweed growing everywhere. What a mess! It's not too bad with the bigger plants, so I'm moving some of the butterfly bushes in and maybe the bee balm and a few of the larger roses. The petunias I planted worked great as a groundcover...and seemed to grow on top of the bindweed! You would think it would be the other way around. I guess if you can't beat it, grow over the top of it :)

RE: Spearmint to the rescue?

Before I knew better, I planted mint in one part of my narrow bed, oregano a little further down, then asian jasmine. Oh, what a mess, but there are NO weeds and they don't seem to bother the couple of roses in there along with some other perennials. So I decided to let it go "wild" to see what would happen (in other words, I just haven't had time to deal with it!) Actually, it's not too bad, may just leave it to see who wins out.

RE: Spearmint to the rescue?

I love spearmint, but it will quickly takeover and you will forever regret it unless you contain it somehow in the ground!

RE: Spearmint to the rescue?

Many years ago I planted 10 different types of mint in large pots and buried them in the garden. They escaped so I eventually weeded them out however this year one somehow popped up again! It's not an easy plant to control.

You might look at Richters for lavender. They have Hidcote and Munstead plug packs (12) listed at $12. but earlier in the year had plug trays which have 120 plants for something like $60-70. Can't quite remember the price exactly. I was thinking of getting a tray but then found larger than plugs locally for almost the same. I think it was $25 for 21 Munsteads and no shipping costs. Not sure what Richters shipping cost would be but I'm sure they ship to the US.

RE: Spearmint to the rescue?

The more I think about this, the more I think I'll leave my wild bed alone. Over the years I have transplanted some old fashioned yarrow that was spreading in places I didn't want (but is so pretty)as well as other plants that just didn't "fit" in my other beds. I'm way too obsessed about my other flower beds trying to make sure they look as good as I can possibly make them.

So - chill out and let Mother Nature do her thing!

RE: Spearmint to the rescue?

Ogrose- Good idea! The more I read about gardening with/for wildlife, the more I think some areas should be allowed to ramble and be more natural.

While it's great to have gardens planned out and weeded, etc. there is definitely a place for shrubs, perennials and/or flowers just growing as they will. It's also nice to leave everything to go to seed for the winter.

That's why I don't prune anything until spring, although sometimes not even then...or is it that I'm just lazy? LOL

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