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  • Upcoming Garden Events in Middle Tennessee

    March 1 – 4: Nashville Lawn & Garden Show, Fairgrounds Nashville: The annual all-indoors garden event that features live garden displays, lectures, vendors, floral designs and special programming Wine Festival featuring Tennessee wines is Saturday (March 3), noon – 5 p.m. For more information on the events and the complete lecture schedule, visit www.nashvillelawnandgardenshow.com.

    April 7: Perennial Plant Sale hosted by the Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee annual Perennial Plant Sale at The Fairgrounds Nashville. Find newly released and hard-to-find perennials along with a wide range of tried and tested varieties, all from top local nurseries. The sale opens at 9 a.m. and usually sells out by early afternoon. For more information, visit www.ppsmtn.org.

    April 14: Herb & Plant Sale hosted by The Herb Society of 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., at The Fairgrounds Nashville Sports Arena building. The sale offers common and rare varieties of herbs and heirloom vegetables and handmade pottery and herb markers by artist Roy Overcast for sale. For more information and a list of available plants, visit www.herbsocietynashville.org.

    April 21: Herb & Craft Fair hosted by First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, 1808 Woodmont Blvd., 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Top quality perennial and annual herbs, heirloom tomato plants, native and companion plants, along with food and craft items reflecting an interest in the homemade and homegrown: fresh homemade sweet and yeast breads, spice mixes, barbecue sauces, jams and jellies; knitted and sewn items, homes for birds and bees, and art, jewelry and more made from pressed flowers. Visit www.thefuun.org.

    May 12: Hosta sale hosted by the Middle Tennessee Hosta. Proceeds from the sale support the club’s activities. More information about the MTHS is at www.mths-hosta.com.

    May 19: Urban Gardening Festival, hosted by Master Gardeners of Davidson County, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (rain or shine) at the Master Gardeners’ Demonstration Garden at Ellington Agricultural Center (5201 Marchant Drive in Nashville). The free event includes information about a variety of gardening methods and techniques, local artisans, exhibiters, growers and more. For information, visit www.mgofdc.org/ugf.

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Shut down the bunny buffet

Question: Do rabbits eat strawberry plants?

This, dear Readers, is a question from my own garden, because I noticed that the strawberry patch that has been growing like gangbusters for the past couple of years is

Cute? Most gardeners won't think so.

looking a little, um, sparse. New leaves are coming out from under the pine straw, but what the heck happened to that thick mat of foliage that was there when I came inside for the winter?

The answer to the question about whether rabbits eat strawberry plants, I found out, is: Rabbits eat just about anything they find that tastes good, foliage-wise. So, probably. And I saw at least a couple of rabbits out in the back yard this winter.

The University of Tennessee Extension has a booklet called Managing Nuisance Animals and Associated Damage Around the Home (find it at https://utextension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/pb1624.pdf), and here’s what they say about rabbits and gardens: “Most people consider viewing rabbits pleasurable; however, that cute bunny quickly becomes a @#&% rabbit when the vegetable garden or flower garden begins to suffer! Rabbits can cause a considerable amount of damage to ornamental flowers and tree seedlings as well.” Really?

They suggest building a tall chicken wire fence to keep rabbits out, buried in the ground because rabbits burrow, too. They say you can trap them, but they breed like, well, like rabbits so even if you catch one, there are more where that one came from. Most wild rabbits only live about a year, but a pair of rabbits can produce up to six litters a year, with two or three bunnies per litter.  

Here’s what I found that seems to keep the rabbits off: A stinky but effective product called Liquid Fence. Spray it on the leaves, and the rabbits leave them alone. Some garden forums suggest that blood meal sprinkled in the bed also will keep them away. The problem with both those ideas is that they only work until rainwater or sprinkler spray washes them away.

But if I want to save the strawberries, I should do something — and fast, before those @#&% rabbits drop in for dinner.

Getting the Garden Ready: Not a how-to, but a poet’s reflection on the change of seasons. Click over to Turning Toward the Sun.

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