The first time I planted a vegetable garden, I couldn’t resist adding flowers for cutting. I knew nothing about growing flowers but was enthusiastic about having bouquets of cut flowers all season long to decorate my home. I saw a photo of Cosmos and added it to my seed list. Although started indoors months in advance, the effort turned out to be well worth it as it was a terrific performer. They grew to about 3 foot high with lots of ferny leaves and pretty Daisy like blooms. I gathered armfuls every week to lavish my home.
One year, too busy to give my garden the attention it deserved, I skipped growing flowers and planted only the veggies I needed. My garden was devoured by deer that year. They bit into squash and pumpkins, trampled everything and from the look of the hoof prints, I was convinced they were holding the county meetings for all deer each night.
I hit the computer to search for a way to be rid of them. Cosmos was suggested stating that deer hated it. Alright, I told myself, lesson learned. I realized that every year I had planted Cosmos for cutting and every year I had been deer free without knowing why. Now I realized that skipping Cosmos would never be an option.
The following year I started it from seed, planted it in the garden and saw no sign of deer in my garden. Interestingly, when the cosmos was first planted as seedlings, I occasionally saw deer prints going up to the garden but then they turned and left. I had no idea of how much cosmos I needed so I just planted what I had done before and it worked.
This year would be busy and I thought I might skip gardening this year in order to lower my workload. I don’t know if any true gardeners out there have tried this. tI didn’t work. I only found myself sitting here in May cussing myself for having no seedlings. Realizing the garden and I would not be divorcing this year, nor even experiencing a trial separation, I gathered my squash and bean seeds and for the first time in decades, I purchased some plants from a local Greenhouse.
Although this seemed like my solution, my heart sank as I realized, no one had cosmos for sale and it was too late to grow it from seed. I berated myself for not starting seeds and decided to try the garden anyways, hoping that the Deer had moved on.
A little blessing happened. When I went out into the garden to put in my purchased plants,I prepared the beds, hoed out the weeds and discovered a lone cosmos seedling! It must have germinated from a seedhead tilled into the garden and somehow survived winter. Wonderful!
Can you see the ferny looking plant amongst the blades of grass? That is a Cosmos seedling. I was happy to know I had one. I also knew it probably wouldn’t protect us from the neighboring Deer population. But as I weeded and prepared more of the beds, I found another.
And then I found a third, more robust looking than the other two.
There weren’t any more but I was still thrilled. I have three soldiers in the garden. If I care for them, if I protect them, maybe they will protect my garden. (How hopeful am I?)
I am a lover of science, I love discovery and experimentation. I have always experimented with new vegetables, new techniques and by not planning early, I missed this opportunity to plan for a new experiment or trial. But now, at least, I have a question for this year’s garden to answer. Just how many Cosmos does it take to protect a garden?
We will know soon enough. I’m betting it’s more than three.