The greenhouse is a tease. The horticultural club sells annuals and perennials for prices that are hard to resist. Who can pass up a pot of yellow miniature daffodils? Not me and most everyone else that I saw!
The greenhouse full of perennials was equally irresistible. Suitable outdoor planting conditions are at least a month away and yet visitors scooped up plants like it was early May. I also succumbed to the warmth and the beauty. Armeria formosa, or pinkball thrift, caught my eye. I left with three of these pink-flowered plants. This plant grows best in well-drained soil in full sun; my yard exactly.
In addition to opening the greenhouses to plant sales and walk-through, the open house offers educational programs and displays full of information. I ran into several former colleagues there, including Dr. Alan Eaton, an expert on ticks. Alan also studies blueberry maggot and other fruit pests. I always have interesting conversations with Alan, including last year when I learned that I had eaten blueberry maggots along with my fresh-picked blueberries from a local farm. Oh well.
Back to ticks though. Since I'd just found ticks on Kodi last week and one on myself a few days ago, it was good to talk with him again about ticks. Alan has several precautionary recommendations when going outside -- especially in June when nymphs are active and are too tiny to see on your body. He has a great publication on ticks available for download called: Biology and Management of Ticks in New Hampshire. He also has a very helpful publication on the types and effectiveness of Insect Repellents.
Alan's recommendations to avoid tick encounters and lessen the chance of getting Lyme disease include:
- Check yourself daily (clothing, body, and head); make it routine, like brushing your teeth
- If walking in high tick areas wear pants tucked into socks and a long-sleeved shirt; light-colored clothing allows you to easily see and brush off ticks
- Wear full shoes (not sandals) when walking through brushy areas or tall grass
- Spraying clothing with tick repellent can help; minimize or avoid application on skin
- If an embedded tick is found, carefully remove it with tweezers; monitor your health - if flu symptoms arise consult your physician
Enough on ticks. I'm signing off now to go smell my miniature daffodils. The smell of spring is in the air, at least a tiny bit inside, on this day in late March - still somewhere between winter and spring.