June 22, 2007

The Deer Update

Addendum: Found the baby bunny in the garden, so I've made a few edits here to place blame accordingly. They are SO cute!

When I started this blog, I said that I would provide periodical updates regarding our experiences with deer around our flower garden. Last fall, we created a mixed border outside our cottage garden fence (the "outer garden") planted with all deer-resistant shrubs, trees, perennials, bulbs, and ornamental grasses. During the winter, we had some leaf damage to some of the evergreen shrubs. I'm happy to report that all recovered just fine (in spite of the frost damage after Easter) from the deer munching. The hypericum are now blooming beautifully and the bees are in a frenzy on the blossoms. The illicium now has green leaves. The cleyera is full and lush, having suffered only minimal damage.

This spring, we filled out the border with new perennials and grasses. For reference, this photo shows the cottage fence and part of the outer garden with a stepping stone path. The second photo shows the width of the outer garden between the fence and the meadow. The outer garden slopes down to the house. We have planted drought-tolerant plants at the top of the slope and plants that like wet feet at the bottom of the slope -- but, that's a topic for another blog.

Please click to enlarge the photos

Here's the list of what's planted in the outer garden. We have multiple varieties of many of these plants. Of the bloomers, some plants have bloomed; others are in bloom; and others are yet to bloom.

I have indicated in bold the plants that have had minor damage. That said, the only plant that I would avoid in the future is the illicium as it took so long to recover from being stripped of leaves in the winter. So far, there has been no damage to the rest of the list. I'm sure that I've left off some plants.

Agastache (hummingbird mint)

Amsonia (blue star)
Asclepias (milkweed for the Monarch butterflies)
Baptisia (false indigo)
Bamboo, clumping (not spreading!)
Buddleia (butterfly bush)
Brugmansia (angel's trumpet)
Caryopteris (blue mist shrub)
Carex (sedge, multiple varieties)
Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Cream Ball'
Colocasia (elephant ears)
Coreopsis (multiple varieties)
Cotoneaster (multiple varieties)
Crocosmia (bulb)
Cryptomeria (multiple varieties; minor nibbling on the 'Globosa Nana')
Echinachea (coneflowers, multiple varieties)
Echinops (globe thistle)
Delosperma cooperii (ice plant)
Dianthus (cottage pinks)
Gaillardia (blanket flower; bunny munched)
Gaura (whirling butterflies)
Hedychium (butterfly ginger)
Heliotrope (groundcover perennial)
Hepatocodium micionides (seven son shrub)
Heuchera (coral bells)
Hydrangea (not deer-resistant, it is up against the fence on one side; flanked by hollies and fronted by a huge indigo)
Hypericum (St. John's Wort, multiple varieties)
Illicium (anise shrub)
Ilex (multiple varieties; we don't have the varieties that will be damaged)
Iris ensata (Japanese iris)
Iris siberica (Siberian iris)
Iris pseudocorus (yellow flag iris)
Itea virginica(sweetspire)
Lavender (multiple varieties)
Lantana 'Miss Huff'
Lobelia (bunny munched)
Lysimachia (creeping jenny)
Macbridea caroliniana (native for sunny bog)
Miscanthus (ornamental grass, multiple varieties)
Monarda (bee balm)
Nandina 'Alba' and 'Moonbay'
Nepeta (cat mint)
Oregano, culinary
Oregano, ornamental
Osmanthus fragrans (fragrant olive)
Osteospernum (annual)
Pentas (annual)
Penstemon (multiple varieties)
Phlox subulata (groundcover phlox)
Rudbeckia 'Goldstrum' (black-eyed susan -- bunny munched, but growing back)
Salvia (multiple varieties)
Sage, culinary
Sage, ornamental
Snapdragons (annual)
Spanish bluebells (bulb)
Spirea (multiple varieties)
Stachys betony humello
Stachys (lamb's ears, multiple varieties)
Syringa (lilac)
Verbena (groundcover and tall perennial varieties)
Vitex (chaste tree)

Okay -- maybe I cheated a little? The deer were accustomed to walking past our cottage fence from east to west on their daily traverse. Trampling and pulling, not munching, was a concern. Over the winter, we had experienced some plants (dianthus) either being pulled up or pawed up without being eaten. To try to get them to go around the garden, we put up a little 32" high flimsy wire edging. They can easily jump something that low. We had a deer jump the edging one night and that's when I suspected the rudbeckia and a few coneflowers had been nipped. I've since discovered only bunnies and no deer tracks around the rudbeckia, lobelia and gaillardia. So, my apologies to the deer on those!

Actually, it was a bit like deadheading the first blooms, which I do anyway. So, no harm was really done and the coneflowers are doing great. The rudbeckia has lots of buds now and should bloom soon (provided the bunnies stay away).
Recently, we had a doe (probably the mother of the fawn in the photo beside our well) walk down the river rock and the garden path taking off just the open blooms of the Japanese iris. She left the buds. She didn't touch any of the other plants in the outer garden. I could see where she left the garden, so she walked almost the entire length of the outer garden.

So, I've now closed that one gap where deer could enter the garden. If you click on the photo below, I think you can see this flimsy edging behind the bridge. The second photo was taken after the doe had nipped off the open blooms and more buds had opened. So, the edging is working for now. We see the doe everyday, so she's staying close by her fawn. There is obviously the possibility that she'll jump the edging. If so, I'll report the news.

If you would like to ask questions, please send email to DefiningYourHome at Yahoo dot com. (I spell it out to avoid spammers -- use the typical syntax).

Happy gardening!

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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