Lasting Landscapes by Carol

Oh Deer!

I welcome many critters in the garden like good bugs, birds and butterflies. Deer, on the other hand, I could do without. For many years now I have tried multiple methods for deterring them. I have sprayed and sprinkled deer repellent, fenced ¾ of my yard, installed a fox garden statue and even chased them out of my yard while running on foot in my bathrobe, but to no avail. They return to dine in my garden on a regular basis.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
A hosta partially consumed by deer

I guess I could accept the fact that my hostas will be eaten each year, if not the plants themselves, at least the flowers. But now it seems these four legged pests are eating ‘deer resistant’ plants as well like Illicium, Gentian, Kalimeris, Astilbe and even ferns. Either my deer have sinus issues or they just don’t know that they shouldn’t be eating ‘deer resistant’ plants. Is anyone else having this problem?

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Astilbe chinensis “Pumila” minus the blooms thanks to the deer
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Even Japanese Painted Fern isn’t safe from the deer

In an effort to win the battle against the deer, I continually seek out new methods for control. I considered a sprinkler system that is motion detected, which will squirt deer when they attempt to enter a space. The problem is these sprinklers also water any human visitors. I know this because I have been drenched by one of them when caring for a friend’s house when they forget to disarm the device.

Other methods of control include repellents that emit sounds or flash lights when deer diners are near. Most of these devices don’t get good ratings. Typically, they only cover 30 square feet anyway and with a 1.3 acre property, that’s a big investment. I am trying a new deer repellent called Deer Defeat, recommended by a plant society friend who swears by it. I had to laugh when I read the label since they are located in Elkhorn, NE. Elk are in the deer family after all. Funny that their address is reflective of the very species being repelled!

If I don’t have success with Deer Defeat, I might go back to a recommendation made by the lovely Sophia, a good friend’s daughter, who gave a hosta leaf eyes and a mouth so the deer would think I was in the garden instead of a delicious plant.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
A hosta face created by Sophia to ward off the deer

Or perhaps I’ll send my deer to school as they clearly need more education in which plants are on the deer resistant list! Let me know your methods for control, especially if they work. I’d like to win the deer vs. gardener battle and need some new armor!

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