Your Garden Nemesis

Editors Note: Every Tuesday -- more or less -- we post a new Garden Question of the Week and invite you to respond. After a couple of weeks, we gather the best responses and put them here, in our regular Tuesday garden feature article. Wanna play?

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This week's featured responses are to:

Your Garden Nemesis

. . . in which we asked what frustrates you most about gardening. Here's our pick of the crop:

Irene Pinski

White-tailed deer are my nemesis. I know what they don't eat and have planted that, but a few standards, like azaleas and rhododendrons, are a must. In the winter, the deer walk right up to the house and trim up any greenery, unasked! Nylon netting will have to be the answer, as every other solution has failed -- the soap, sprays, human hair, blood, etc. I have lots of room and would go bananas with my planting, but have gotten so disgusted. What state doesn't have this problem -- I may have to move!


Johnson grass is the wiry stuff that grows everywhere in my yard (except, of course, in the bamboo). When I first moved to North Carolina folks were calling it crabgrass. After pounds and pounds and more pounds of crabgrass killer, I asked the ag. extension and it's Johnson grass and ha-ha-ha -- you're stuck with it.


CLAY SOIL! I recently purchased a 3-year-old home. It's impossible to break ground. Heavy equipment has packed down the clay so hard. Help.


This will sound very strange, but my nemesis is only for my tomatoes and it is my beloved pet beagle. For some ungodly reason, when my tomatoes are almost ripe for picking he jumps over my garden fence and ever-so-carefully picks them off the vine, jumps back over the fence and tosses them around and chases them like they are balls. When the tomato is all ruined he jumps back over the fence and picks a new one. I have tried everything I can think of, but to no avail. It is both frustrating and humorous. What can I expect from a dog who slides down the kids’ play slide?

Julie in Iowa

My garden nemesis is the farmers who spray herbicides in the spring. We have farm fields surrounding our 4.5 acres, and every year as the lilacs get ready to bloom, I swear the farmer to the south waits until the wind is just right, and he sprays his fields. The drift curls the leaves and as a result the blooms are stunted. We have lilacs planted to the east and to the south. The only blooms we get are from the bushes that are protected by outbuildings. Also, the spray has killed red-twig dogwood bushes that are planted to the north of our grove. We have even had one farmer who would turn around on our property, breaking off young trees and bushes in the process. Each year we talk to the farmers and ask for their cooperation, and each year I replant dogwood and cross my fingers, hoping the lilacs will bloom.


My garden nemesis is without a doubt the WEATHER! It seems that every year my flowers get off to a great start, only to be stopped in their tracks by heat and drought. Even when I think I have purchased flowers that will withstand our long, hot, humid summers, they never seem to perform as promised.

liz davenport

My biggest problem is the neighbor's cats. They love to sit in my hostas and smash them to bits. They are worse than slugs.


Trumpet vine. It’s gorgeous, but we can't adequately control it. New shoots come up everywhere. We've hacked, slashed, and poisoned. Would hate to get rid of all of it, but wish we could somehow keep it under control.


MOLES! I can't seem to rid my garden of these creatures! I planted l50 tulip bulbs and only about 10 seemed to make it through spring! Other plants seem to be affected also. This varmint also has done a number on my lawn! I have tried pine oil in their holes, also setting traps, but it seems like I can’t find a remedy! HELP!

Judy G

OK, picture this: the perfect summer evening . . . wandering around looking at how perfect the roses are this year. You know that in just a couple of days they will be at peak. Next morning, you go out with your cup of tea, and you see it! That flash of metallic green and gold that you’ve been dreading. Japanese beetles! Every blossom, every bud has holes chewed through the middle. You outsmart them by putting your hand under the flower as the invader drops. What happens next is not for the faint of heart. Let’s just say you feel a little better as you see the fish scramble for that tasty morsel . . .

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