October 31, 2008

Beyond Frost and Deer: Agastache, Salvia and Buddleia

My deer friends are a common sight lately. We often have to walk out into the front meadow to encourage a herd of deer to move on. One fawn seems to think about trying to play with our greyhound--not an activity that we wish to see.

There is some foraging going on. The swamp sunflower (helianthus angustifolius) has been completely picked clean of blooms. I'm struggling with whether or not to leave those in the outer garden for next year. The deer have even eaten lantana blooms and that is not something that I've ever seen before. This foraging started in late August and appears to be the work of the 2008 fawns who are now venturing into the garden on a regular basis.

The salvia greggii, agastache, verbena, buddleia, azaleas and roses continue to bloom in spite of several frosts and a freeze in the last week. Of those, the salvia, verbena and buddleia are outside the cottage garden fence and untouched by deer. Azaleas and roses are grown inside the fence away from the deer.

I continue to be impressed by the salvia and agastache in terms of long-bloom season, deer-resistance and low maintenance. I found that deadheading the buddleia frequently during the summer has provided me with long-lasting blooms on those bushes. If there was ever a deer-resistant combination to recommend, this is it.

Other companions around the salvia and agastache are:

  1. pink muhly for fall color

  2. echinacea 'Ruby Star' for summer color

  3. spirea 'Neon Flash' for spring color

  4. buddleia 'Adonis Blue' for blooms off/on

  5. crape myrtle 'White Chocolate'

This combination of perennials, ornamental grass and shrubs is my favorite in the garden. I think similar results can be created using a different color scheme. If I were to change anything about this, it would be to have enough space to mass larger numbers of these same plants together. All of these photos show the fall colors and blooms. If you'd like to see this same group in summer, please look at my previous article Designing a Colorful, Deer-Resistant Garden.

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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