Planting Deer-Resistant Gardens is Possible

deer munch photo

Photo: timberpress

This book is dedicated to "all gardeners who tend gardens in deer country"--it is pretty clear about its target audience.

Called "50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants", it is a lovely compendium of the fifty prettiest annuals, perennials, bulbs and shrubs that deer don't eat. Even if you don't have deer in your garden, it is a beautifully-photographed guide to some little known, and quite stunning plants.

deer book photo

Photo: timberpress
Don't forget that now is a great time to buy perennials. Many are on sale at garden centres and if you plant them now, they settle in nicely over the winter. Come spring: full sized, healthy plants.

The author is trying to discuss ideas that do not involve big ugly fences or non-stop spraying of repellents. The theory behind deer resistant planting is that many stunning plants are unpalatable to deer because of their fuzzy leaves, poisonous tastes, and tough or spiny textures.

Oriented towards the USA, there are different species of deer in different areas. So knowing your planting zone (for hardiness of plants) is essential. Then you should plant the toughest and strongest ones that flourish in your area.

soap repellant photo

Photo: timberpress

For each plant there is a deer resistance rating which is very useful. This is based on whether they sometimes munch on the flowers but leave the foliage (a 7) or nip one or two flowers (8) or occasionally browse the young spring foliage (9) or Bingo: the 10's: rarely browse and usually avoid the plant.

So what are the 10's: lamb's ears, lady's mantle, hellebores, monkshood and euphorbia.

Herbs are good (for the gardener) sage, rosemary, thyme and onions,as well as peonies, siberian iris and yucca. If you have a shade garden you are in luck: they don't like ferns, at all. Grasses which are so lovely in the wind are also uninteresting to deer.

grape border photo

Photo: timberpress

Planting barriers, instead of fences is a more attractive option. Dense shrubs of tall, inedible plants such as forsythia, sumac and vibernum often work well.

A specialist book but fascinating to understand how to repel the deer and keep your gardening passion alive.

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