September 26, 2007

Deer Me: The Garden Thrives

The deer are out and about all hours of the day. With the drought conditions, they continue to have to forage more often. They have very little fear of us. Our greyhound doesn't bark at deer nor does she chase the deer. As a result, they just amble out of the way when we go outside. They bed down in our front meadow at night. They drink from our manmade stream. Our natural stream in the woods continues to have some water as it is fed by underground springs.

The outer garden continues to do well with the deer and the drought. We've had very little rain, but what little we did get has set off the fall blooms.

Currently blooming in the outer garden and recommended for deer and drought tolerant:

Pineapple sage, tender perennial, red blooms
Salvia gregii Navajo Red, red blooms
Salvia black & blue, blue blooms
Buddliea, all colors
Osmanthus fragrans, evergreen shrub, white blooms, very fragrant
Lantana 'Miss Huff', tender perennial, shrub size, pink/yellow blooms
Hypericum x hidcote, semi-evergreen, perennial, yellow blooms
Spirea 'Neon Flash', deciduous shrub, magenta blooms on dark green foliage
Caryopteris (Blue Mist Shrub), blue blooms on bright foliage
Creeping perennial heliotrope, lavender blooms, groundcover
Vitex (Chaste Tree) is still blooming lavender flowers and looking
Nepeta keeps on blooming as long as it gets a trim after each bloom, a terrific perennial

Currently blooming in the fragrance garden, but on drip irrigation. This area is not fenced off, but the deer aren't bothering these plants:

Gardenia 'August Beauty', evergreen shrub, white blooms, very fragrant
Colocasia esculenta 'Fontanesii', perennial elephant ears, gold blooms, fragrant
Butterfly Ginger, perennial, fragrant white blooms
Swamp sunflower, perennial, hundreds of yellow blooms with dark centers

Ornamental grasses doing well in spite of drought, no irrigation, no deer problems:

Clump bamboo, evergreen here
Miscanthus 'Cosmopolitan', variegated white/green, bronze tassels
Miscanthus 'Little Zebra', gold bands on green, tassels starting up
Eragostis (love grass), blue green foliage and airy tassels
Pampas grass, green foliage, white plumes

The perennials that were deadheaded before the drought are finally starting to come back to life with green foliage at the base. Those include the coneflowers and coreopsis 'Creme Brulee'.

The lavender and rosemary plantings all have great foliage through the drought. The yucca is doing fine as expected. The smoke tree is doing well.

In the rain garden, on drip irrigation during droughts, is flourishing. The perennials include pseudocorus, Japanese and Siberian irises (no blooms this time of year), canna 'Tropical Rose' (still blooming), perennial ageratum (blooming), salvia ulignosa (bog salvia, still blooming).

The foliage of amsonia hubrechtii, a perennial is still lush and I'm looking forward to the fall color. This perennial is planted in both dry and moist settings. The deer leave this one alone.

After all of those winners, there are some losers. After years of successfully growing penstemon, they are looking bad and haven't bloomed as well as in previous years.

Inside my cottage garden (away from deer), the Japanese Beetles and the drought have done the most damage to my roses and weeping cherry. I continue to reassess the flower beds around our stream. Receving full sun all day, it was difficult to keep some flowers alive and I couldn't water them sufficiently. I'm starting to see some comeback, but I've been discouraged enough to decide to replant with drought tolerant plants next spring. I think I'd be happy with a mass planting of saliva greggii 'Navajo Red'! I may even move the weeping cherry out and replace it with a sweet bay magnolia (which is doing great in the fragrance garden on drip irrigation -- no pests).

Meanwhile, we're getting ready to plan and plant some more beds and looking at fall bulbs to plant (when the weather turns cool).

The butterflies are still around and I'm seeing more Monarchs again. We have three hummingbirds still hanging around the garden. Fortunately, the salvias are helping out in addition to the feeder.

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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