125 varieties and counting...
Our gardens are open to the public Wednesday thru Sunday from July to September 1.
Guests are very welcome at other times by chance or prior arrangement. For visits at other than scheduled hours, please call ahead to 603-397-7105.
Merrymeeting Daylilies also has a 100 foot long shade garden which displays about 80 varieties of hosta and other shade specimens.
We would like to thank Scott Baker for allowing us to use the photos that he has taken in our gardens for this web site.
All other pictures on this website were taken by Cathy Turner or Les Turner (unless otherwise indicated)
and are fully copyrighted.
REDUCE PHOSPHATE USE
Plant nutrition for the gardener generally includes
at least a passing familiarity with "NPK" information on every plant food container. In brief, the
N stands for nitrogen and is considered the essential element required for green
top growth. The P stands for phosphorus, known to encourage root growth, and
the K represents potassium, a factor in encouraging flower and seed
production. This is a supreme over-simplification, but adequate for the length
of this topic. Note also that these are the PRIMARY nutritional requirements
for plant/lawn/shrub/vine growth. The subject is infinitely complex, not to be
addressed here except to stress that the old formulas of equivalent portions of
each, 5-5-5 or 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 is wasteful and potentially VERY harmful.
General gardening use of 10-2-8 or some comparable ratio is adequate. Lawn use
generally calls for a higher N of 21 or even higher, this so that the grass will
be green and grow fast so that we can mow it more frequently. Is there
a questionable logic here? Might there be better uses of precious summer time
An aside, I feed my "lawn", that which I grandly call lawn, which in reality is
a very thin layer of growth on top of a glacial deposit of gravel--but I
digress. I feed IT once a year a gentle composted product (dare I talk about
the basic ingredient of the compost) yes I dare-human poop from Milwaukee-(see
another item on this website-deer control) My lawn does not smell bad, requires
modest mowing, looks as green as needed, and costs me little and pollutes not at
all (I am located on a major aquifer and am protecting it for future
Back to the major topic-- The old balanced formulas are wasteful and harmful.
Our New England soils generally retain phosphorus in adequate amounts for garden
and lawn use. Adding more accomplishes nothing useful. However, the extra "K"
washes away into our brooks, streams and ends up in our wonderful lakes. It
contributes to algal bloom which can and has, even on local levels, made the
ponds or lakes toxic and off-limits. Rather than pick on a REALLY local pond,
consider Willand Pond in Dover. Two years ago algal bloom increased the
cyanobacteria level in the pond to levels deemed dangerous for pets, boating,
swimming, etc. This has happened also in the Lakes region and the cost of the
"fix" was alarming and unnecessary, and the damage to real estate values will be
painful and long-lasting. On a larger scale, a fix may be impossible.
I recently (February, 2011) visited a 10,000 acre site in Florida which after
years of over-use of phosphorus had become so toxified that it was necessary to
abandon it for agricultural uses. It cost millions of dollars to detoxify and
is still being reclaimed. It is now again clean enough for use as a bird
sanctuary, but will likely not be returned to agricultural use.
NH and many other states now require phosphorus-free or low-phos fertilizers for
use near waterfronts. We should all take a hint from this, even if our property
is not near a body of water. Why use it if we don't need it?
Every year Les refreshes his collection with new cultivars from several world
class hybridizers. Les grows them for a year or two, assessing factors such
as hardiness, blossoming, fan production, etc. These are often very recent
introductions. Divisions of these for sale tend to be higher priced since as new cultivars they cost substantially more for him to buy. His hybridizer connections in Florida enable him to add these beauties to his collection. In turn, the larger plant sizes he obtains as a
result of his buying directly from these world-famous hybridizers, and his
subsequent transfer to his gardens from Florida (in his checked baggage!), make
possible some real bargains for his customers.
Remind us to reward you with
a $10 credit as a visitor to our website. New plants this year are Mississippi
Man, Gretchen Baxter, Fashion Police, Sense of Wonder, Across the Galaxy and
My gardens are located within prime deer- browsing territory. Deer live all around me.
I have but to step into the woods at the edge of my major patch of daylilies or
a few feet away from the hundreds of potted hostas and I can find as proof small
piles of scat, the biologists term for wild animal poop. I will resist mightily
to jest that an expert on this subject would be called what --an educated
poopist? A scatologist?
I sometimes see deer beyond the gardens and in the
winter when I am not present to tend my defenses, deer roam all over.
Occasionally even in the summer, they will bravely nibble isolated or undefended
My successful defense system??? EARLY SEASON and subsequent as-needed spreading
of Milorganite around the perimeter of my gardens. Milorganite is a time-tested, safe, government -approved organic fertilizer manufactured and sold from Milwaukee for more than 100 years. The basic ingredient in this fertilizer is human poop, composted no doubt with vast quantities of hops and other vegetable components derived from the beers produced there. The "fragrance" is not noticeable to humans, except if applied too heavily. Because of my concerns about heavy metals and medicinals possibly passed along, I scrupulously do not use this product on any vegetable or fruit crop, but do use a yearly light application on my grassy areas. (Many landscaper maintenance companies use this product by the ton.)
I have read much of other folks successes and failures re deer deterrence. The "pressure" existing in a specific location will sometimes be the over-riding consideration as to the level of deterrence which will or will not work. "Pressure" implies differing levels of need and availability of food for deer. Extremely high pressure, for example, would be a location where the deer herd is more extensive than the available browse can supply and a source of food, a nearby orchard is producing apples. Only a 10 foot fence is adequate in this situation.
A low-pressure example would be my situation, where thousands of acres of woods can be utilized by deer, where some thinning occurs due to hunting (not by me) and highway fatalities, etc. My slightly smelly organic fertilizer convinces the deer to find a more appealing and classy dining spot, where the choices are sufficient and the fragrance more agreeable. It works dependably for me if I apply it early in the season between the woods and my growing areas. During the season I reapply in areas where predation of my treasured hostas or other plants, begins to occur. The response is immediate and long-lasting. The key is a matter of choice. Start early and remain watchful. Other "natural" and chemical deterrents will also work but many require frequent re-application due to rain. Coyote urine works works well, but cooperative coyotes are rare. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
Happy and successful gardening to you.
BAMBI AND MIDNIGHT GRAMPIE
As General-in-charge-of-deer-defenses, my recent performance merits a certain demotion. Despite a great performance record before now, my defense perimeter has been breached. Bambi has dispatched most of my one pumpkin hill, along with several brave raspberry top branches, pepper plants, even a few tomato branches and saved me the bother of trimming back most of my 3 foot tall hosta blossoms. These last items, in deer-speak, are known as salad blossoms. Yum. Travel many miles to get those once-a-year tidbits..
Research in past years (real research-not my opinion) reported hostas as deer-favorite salad. That being the case, I expect that they also copy honey-bee communications and wiggle their tails in the direction of a copious supply of hosta. In point of fact, (I try to present at least one per column) I have been very successful for several years in discouraging Bambi and her many friends from dining on hostas at my woodside, hosta-packed daylily farm. I have written about this before, so will urge you to review a factual article on my website-- merrymeetingdaylilies.com .
Problem is, this year I planted a new garden in an area not used earlier, and failed to extend an adequate perimeter, so I (and my “fenceless” plants) are paying the price. In addition to demotion, my pride is damaged. And us old guys do cherish our pride, or what is left of it.
Bambi may be cute, but she is not very smart as to her food selections. For example, she will eat holly voraciously, sometimes fatally, so an occasional raspberry thorn is no prob.
I have taken to checking my gardens (and chickens and rabbits)in the middle of the night along with my new monster flash-light. Big Bambi's dining reservation at my one-hill pumpkin patch is 2:30 a.m. And she reacts poorly to my demands that she should leave. I yell. I hiss! She tosses her head. She flicks her tail which seems much like certain finger gestures I have seen but of course never used. THEN she ambles off. Very large and stately. Probably to return as soon as pesty Mr. Monster Flashlight has tucked back into bed. BTW-While 2:30 a.m. is not my favorite time to mosey around in my gardens, it is wildly different. More flying, flapping insect life than you would believe, along with occasional reflecting fox eyes. Shivers, man!
When I found that Bambi would not quit chomping on the edges of my gardens, I went back to older practices, sprays of stored deer defense liquids. She ate through my early choices, despite the strong odors of concentrated cinammon, garlic, hot pepper, etc. The good news (maybe) is that I have re-discovered a deer-defense which I had stashed away and forgot during my successful years. Coyote urine!!! Now 4 years in the bottle. Potent AND nasty. (BTW How DO they collect coyote urine?) Rhetorical question folks. No answer required.
Aside from hunting season and highways (deer not very smart there also) coyotes are the only local natural predator of deer in this part of the US. And deer remember. So I have liberally applied this last hope and if it saves my special custom-inscribed Sophie pumpkin, I will surely not tell Sophie about Grampie's rescue technique.
The following are articles that Les Turner has written for various local papers, covering
subjects of interest to gardeners.....enjoy!
Mrs. T. Commemorative Daylilies
A commemorative garden for Mrs. T. (aka Mrs Nathalie Turner) has been established at Merrymeeting Gardens, her former home in New Durham. The garden includes a modest water feature and is surrounded by daylillies named after her children and grandchildren.
If you would like to visit her Commemorative Garden, you are very welcome.
Merrymeeting Gardens and the commemorative garden will be open Wednesday thru Sunday in July and August and at other times by calling ahead.
603 397 7105
....and definitely NOT going out of business, despite rumors otherwise!!
Please see the Home page for details.