August - September 2021 — Volume 11, No. 7 & 8
Hello Everyone,
Deer…mosquitoes…weeds…too much rain…cool, then hot…it must be almost the end of summer! In this issue, we’ll discuss how to handle these challenges of the season. And there are still some beautiful summer blooms out there, so we’ll share some of those, too.
There are more deer per square mile than ever before in our area. This season, they have even sampled a few native plants at my back stoop! Garlic clips attached to a bamboo stake stopped this invasion, and the native Rubus odoratus (Flowering raspberry) and Porteranthus tridentata (Bowman’s root) have sprouted new growth, albeit shorter than usual.

This reminds me of an article that our office manager, Nancy Altman passed on to me from All Animals magazine:

This describes how deer sampling (in spring, however) actually is like pinching the plant to encourage more blooming stems.

For true protection of hostas, daylilies, phlox, and the like, we recommend our deer repellent spray program. A solution of putrified egg, garlic, and hot pepper is sprayed on these plants every few weeks to discourage browsing. It must be renewed after periods of rain to be completely effective. Please contact our Plant Health Care Manager, Reese Crotteau, to arrange for this service <>

Some of our clients are using multiple strategies like those above this season with a fair amount of success!
Mosquitoes and Ticks
Over 15” of rain in July alone has meant an explosion in the tick and mosquito population! Please be sure to turn over empty buckets, wheelbarrows, and the like in your yard to cut down on areas for water to collect and create mosquito breeding grounds. Empty and clean birdbaths frequently, too, then refill for the birds. It’s surprising how quickly they can drain them during hot weather.

And remember to check yourself, your children, and your pets for ticks after outdoor activities.

Our Tick and Mosquito spray program continues every other week through November. We utilize essential oils that control these tick and mosquito populations as a management program. Contact Reese for a site survey and more information, <>
Where soil is disturbed, weeds will grow! We utilize hand tools to remove, or in some cases, cut weeds to the ground. Curly dock, for instance, is best controlled through repeated cutting so that photosynthesis does not occur and seed heads do not form. It has a deep root system that is hard to dig out, so cutting it to the ground is actually more efficient. This weakens the plant over time, and it dies off.
Image of sorrel in a walkway crevice
Sorrel in a walkway crevice
Often following a heavy weeding, we will mulch or re-mulch the newly cleared area to prevent yet more weeds from invading. Another strategy is to plant closely in beds with desirable plants so that not as much mulch is needed. Fall planting time is here, from August 15 through the end of October. While we are fully booked for large plantings this fall, we will accommodate smaller plantings in our maintenance schedule.

Please let Priscilla know if you would like to have a few additional plants added to your garden this fall to help combat weeds <>
Time to Order Spring Blooming Bulbs
Now is the time to order your spring-blooming bulbs - deer resistant daffodils, alliums, and camassia; tulips, crocus, and hyacinths if you have an area where the deer do not roam! If you’ve dreamed about a field of daffodils, we have naturalizing tools aplenty for planting them this October.

We’ve made some notes this past spring to guide us. Laura Semple, our Decor Coordinator, will be compiling our company bulb order with help from Priscilla. Our order cutoff will be Labor Day, September 6. Past that time some items may be sold out. To place your order, please contact Priscilla, <>
Update on Funding for Healthy Soils, Glyphosate Study and the End of Roundup Sales – News from NOFA/Mass
As a Board member of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Priscilla was active in early 2020 promoting the passage of the Healthy Soils bill at the State House. We recently received news about the funding of this bill, and concurrently, news about state funding for a study of the impacts of glyphosate. Further, the maker of Roundup, Bayer has voluntarily agreed to stop marketing this product to consumers in 2023.

Read more here, including action steps you can take to further this work:
More New Staff to Meet
Allison Doherty
Allison Doherty joined us this summer as a member of our crew. She quickly proved herself with an artistic eye for shrub pruning and ability to climb ladders. This fall, she’ll be working on our project planting crew. Allison has a background in sales, grounds maintenance, and interior painting.
Beautiful August Gardens – A Photo Montage
Colorful perennials light up a driveway entrance bed.
Unusual shrubby summer perennial, Clerodendrum trichotomum, Harlequin Glorybower.
Clethra, Hydrangea, and Smoke Tree at a poolside planting.
Plant Pick: Helianthus annuus, Sunflower
Recently I read the Boston Sunday Globe article about a field of 3,000 sunflowers that artist Euka Holmes has planted in front of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. What a great idea to take advantage of the full sun and bring a smile to the faces of passersby! And another artist, Elizabeth James-Perry, has surrounded the nearby Appeal to the Great Spirit statue with corn, beans, and sedges. Check out their work at

There are many types of annual sunflowers. The tall classic one is grown for edible seeds (for birds and for us). Tried and true varieties include ‘Mammoth Grey Stripe,’ ‘Vanilla Ice,’ and ‘Soraya.’ These open-pollinated types attract a plethora of insects, as they are loaded with nutritious pollen. Seeds are edible by birds and humans!

The cut flower industry has bred pollen out of shorter sunflower varieties. There is a field of these dwarf sunflowers in full bloom along Old Road to Nine Acre Corner at Verrill Farm in Concord. Popular varieties include ‘Teddy Bear’ and ‘Big Smile.’
There are perennial sunflowers as well: Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ is an old favorite with pale yellow flowers, blooming August-October. We often pinch this back in early June to make the plant sturdier and bushier, as this plant can reach 8’ in height and loves to flop in the rain. Its spreading roots can quickly fill a bed if you have empty areas waiting.

On my front knoll, I enjoy the long blooming season of Heliopsis scabra ‘Summer Sun’ that I grew from seed many years ago. The bright gold color looks great with the nearby crimson color of Persicaria ‘Firetail.’
Heliopsis scabra, 'Summer Sun'
Priscilla’s Garden To-Do List for August into September
  • Finish pruning spring-blooming shrubs by the first week of September
  • Keep up with weeding in garden beds. and if you’re short on time, pull the tallest ones and those about to go to seed first, returning later for the finer detailed weeding
  • Place an order for spring-blooming bulbs
  • Evaluate the need to fill gaps in the border for planting this fall
  • Make notes about spring-blooming perennials to divide or transplant in the fall
  • Divide bearded iris now if overcrowded
  • Start fall planting, especially on days following rain
  • Keep up with the harvest in vegetable gardens
  • Sow lettuce, arugula, kale, and other leafy greens now for fall harvest and keep the emerging seedlings well watered; floating row covers may help provide shade during hot spells
Please let Kimberly Kuliesis know if you are ready to be added to our schedule by contacting her at <>

We look forward to seeing you soon to help out in your garden!

Priscilla and the PBOG Crew
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Pumpkin Brook Organic Gardening, Inc. 
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