Garden Diaries

Garden Diaries” is a new addition to Plant Exchange. Readers are invited to share short, timely plant-related ideas they are doing or planning and give helpful details in case someone might want to try it.

Thanks to the following readers who share their garden diary entries about cannas and hummingbirds, moving perennial ornamental grasses, saving egg shells to use around hostas to discourage slugs, and container daffodils.


Several years after I stopped planting canas in my flower garden, I was happily surprised to see one pop up right in the middle of my vegetable garden. I surmised a bird “planted” one of the hard-shelled, long-lasting seeds it had found in my flower bed. I decided to let it grow, surrounded by green beans and zucchini, just for the novelty of it.

I was rewarded for my decision on a hot, sunny late summer morning. I stood near the tall, flowering cana plant as I peeled leaves off a kohlrabi I had just pulled up. Then I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. I glanced over.  A humming hovered not more than six inches from my head, drinking nectar from the bright red-orange blossom of the cana plant. I froze, hardly daring to breathe, until the colorful little bird flew off.

I have never again had the extraordinary experience of seeing a humming bird so close up, even though I find a volunteer cana plant in my vegetable garden every summer – sometimes two. I don’t plant them; I let them plant themselves. Maybe they have more surprises in store for me.  Marilyn Kratz, Yankton Seed Library session attendee


My ornamental grass (Panicum) gets 3 feet tall and has feathery seed heads in the fall. The leaves are green with dark red strips. I plan to divide the grassand to place it on each side of my front steps. It is on one side of the steps now. I will take a spade go down the middle of the clump and dig half out. Then I’ll plant in in a hole as deep as the other one.  Donna Anstine, Town & Country Garden Club member


With daffodil bulbs left from planting in beds last fall, I planted some in containers in November to see if they will bloom in spring. They were put in moist potting soil and stored overwinter in the unheated garage. Potting soil was moistened once over the months. In early March, I watered them and the first daffodil growth tips are appeared. With temperatures not much below freezing, they are set outside. No tips have appeared on the bed planted daffodils, so these container daffodils on the patio may emerge ahead of them. Brenda K Johnson


I’ve been saving my egg shells all winter to crush and place under my Hosta to keep away the slugs. Slugs do not like to crawl over the shells. I wash and dry the egg shells before I put them in a plastic bag and hang them in my basement. I haven’t had any trouble with smell. I think I read about this in a magazine once.I did this last year and it worked out fine. Donna Anstine, Town & Country Garden Club member


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