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Q and A: Explore potential for garden spaces

By MARILYN MCKINLEY

Master Gardener

Q: I’m looking for some ideas for a new garden area. Do you have anything that can help me?

• Mary from Canfield

A: Yes, I do.! This is something I’ve been thinking of myself — something to keep me busy this winter.

Are you up for a challenge? Your imagination is your only limit. Well, I suppose you need to factor in time, location, finances, etc. — mere minor obstacles!

Let’s explore some possibilities.

1. Memory garden: A memorial garden can be a simple as a tree, or as elaborate bed of annuals, perennials, shrubs and grasses. You can include a fountain with soothing sounds of water or a bench for a place to sit meditate or reflect. The right location seems important to me.

2. Griller’s garden: Think about vegetables to grill, herbs to enhance flavors of your favorite meats.

3. Birth month gardens: Plant a garden that recognize members of your family, plant flowers that will provide an arrangement for someone special. Here are the birth month flowers: January, carnation; February, violet; March, daffodil; April, daisy; May, lily of the valley; June, rose; July, larkspur; August, gladiolus; September, aster; October, marigold; November, chrysanthemum; and December, narcissus.

4. Bug spray garden: Say what? This is based on the philosophy called bioregionalism — the plant community is capable of meeting needs. This involves companion planting. Herbs are the spotlight here. Many insects can be deterred by the strong aroma of herbs. Catnip, for example, repels Japanese beetles, squash bugs, potato and flea beetles. You might see your cat acting a little off around catnip; it can give them a little buzz.

Peppermint may be a deterrent to these insects. Making a fragrant border can be helpful. Lavender — humans love it, insects, not so much. It can repel black flies, deer flies, fleas, mosquitoes, moths and slugs.

Lemongrass can repel horse flies and mosquitoes. Citronella is known to detract mosquitoes. Thyme repels many biting insects as well as tomato hornworms, corn earworms, cabbage worms, slugs and white flies.

Hey, I’m only saying it is worth a try.

5. A Cocktail garden. Think infusions, muddles and garnishes, yum. I’ll be stopping by for a sip.

6. Shakespeare garden. Do some research. Flowers are mentioned throughout his writings. A true Shakespeare garden would be of geometric design with boxwood used as dividers. Lavender, marjoram, lemon balm (I suggest in pot only), rosemary, pansies, roses and sweet peas are but a few flowers to incorporate.

7. Cut-flower garden. Just as the name implies, this is a garden filled with flowers that are known to be good for cutting, annuals and perennials.

8. Moonlight garden. Display white flowers or flowers that only open after the sun goes down. Some examples of “moon” flowers are Shirley Temple peony, peacock orchid, Casablanca lily, pearl polianthes and guacamole hosta.

9. Sensory garden. A sensory garden is one that appeals to all senses: Seeing — colors, shapes, movement and form; smelling — strong fragranced flowers or flowers that attract birds into the area; hearing — grasses that make swishing noises or seed pods that rattle, etc.; taste — edible flowers like borage, chives, and mints; and touch — prickly, fuzzy, smooth or rough flower surfaces.

McKinley is an Ohio State University Mahoning Valley Extension Master Gardener volunteer. Submit questions for the plant clinic by calling 330-533-5538. Live clinic hours are 10 a.m. to noon every other Thursday on Zoom at go.osu.edu/virtualclinic.

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