The day after Mothers' Day my daughter, a mom to five children, slipped from a ladder on a second section of roof after sealing the chimney. Her landing was fully on the left foot. It was so powerful it fractured every toe on the left foot. The big toe was pushed away and pointed right.
Without any more details, my response was what any mother with empathy would display. I grabbed a tote, filled it with clothes, bought provisions and drove to her home.
As she handled initial pain, there were ice packs, drinking water and elevation. There was laundry, driving children to school, ball games, ball camp, work, shopping, cleaning and getting the almost housebroken dog outside. This continued weekly well into June. Then I went home.
Surveying the condition of my flower beds gave me more knots in my stomach than driving all over the Cleveland area. The plastic grid material had not stopped the deer. All the true lilies were gone. Deer chiseled away at most all of the phlox, blackberry canes and black-eyed Susans. There were columbine plants to deadhead, weeds to pull, daffodil foliage sprawled all over the next wave of perennials. Plants from the May sale lined the driveway, bags of gladiolus bulbs cried out for soil. Hostas were hanging in there. Tough irises bloomed in their plastic pots. What really made me sick was discovering that cannas were growing piled on one another in a styrofoam chest in the garage.
For the better part of two days groups of daffodil foliage was gathered, rolled clockwise then tied into a knot. This provided spaces for new perennials. By this time the dry hot spell had made soil so hard that a jackhammer would have come in handy.
Hostas already at home in beds here had exploded, and all the natives had proliferated. That is good for the pollinators. However, joe-pye-weed and boneset are stifling roses and iris. Those treasures will have to be removed to a new location in the sun.
Daylilies are already under nightly attacks from deer. Just this week they enjoyed red and white geraniums potted and awaiting transport to a new location.
There will be no catching up at this point. Plants in pots are threatened and dying off.
Thank goodness for all the daisies, coreopsis and yarrows which are not on the menu of local deer.
Mary Lee Minor is a member of the Earth, Wind and Flowers Garden Club, an accredited master gardener, a flower show judge for the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs and a former sixth grade teacher.
This article originally appeared on Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum: Over the Garden Fence: Weeds, deer take their toll