The Herd

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Our neighbor took these photos of “The Herd,” which hangs around our bit of the neighborhood.

Many of our neighbors enjoy sighting the deer.  Some even feed them.

Our wooded neighborhood hosts several family groups who wander the ravines and gather around the ponds.

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Although the deer are beautiful creatures, they are extremely destructive to our gardens.

And worse, deer roaming through the area bring deer ticks, which harbor Lyme’s disease.

Our neighbor took these photos near our homes, in mid-morning.  Not a bit shy, this group was happy to rest in full view in the middle of the day.

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Other neighborhood friends describe deer who regularly rest in their yards during the day, like a pet dog might.

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We began the conversation, which resulted in the gift of these photos, when my neighbor called to ask what is growing in our new pot on the driveway.

It seems this group was grazing their way down the street, but completely by-passed our new planting.

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Watching the deer leave our  pot  untouched,  our neighbor wanted to know what flowers are so  immune to grazing.  And the answer is, zonal geraniums.

The odor of geraniums is distasteful to deer.  I suspect they don’t care for the thickness and texture of geranium leaves, either.

Zonal geraniums are distasteful to deer both for their odor and the texture of their leaves.  They protect the Coleus, Begonia, and ivy in this pot.  The Caladiums are poisonous.

Zonal geraniums are distasteful to deer both for their odor and the texture of their leaves. They protect the Coleus, Begonia, and ivy in this pot. The Caladiums are poisonous. The Lamium vine  is also distasteful to deer and has not been grazed in other locations in our garden.  It has a purple or blue flower earlier in the spring.

Other plants in this group, like the Coleus, have been grazed other years.  I suspect the geraniums deter interest in the entire pot.

Deer nibble our coleus from time to time, depending on where they find it.  Petunias, in the rear, are distasteful and rarely bothered.

Deer nibble our Coleus from time to time, depending on where they find it. Petunias, in the rear, are distasteful and rarely bothered.

We are growing five different varieties of zonal geraniums this year, in addition to ivy geraniums, and several varieties of scented geraniums (Pelargoniums).

Not only are they left untouched, the deer pass the other plants in pots where they grow.

Ivy geraniums (white flowers) and a rose scented Pelargonium share this pot with Eucalyptus.  Artemisia grows behind the pot.  All are scented and distasteful to deer.

Ivy geraniums (white flowers) and a rose scented Pelargonium share this pot with Eucalyptus. Artemesia grows behind the pot. All are scented and distasteful to deer.

If you live where deer graze frequently, you can still grow beautiful flowers. 

The trick is to know what the deer will leave alone, and only invest in plants which will have a chance to grow.

This Lantana is blooming for its third season here.  It survived our winter.  Here, Lantana, "Miss Huff" which is hardy to Zone 7.

This Lantana is blooming for its third season here on the street. It survived our winter. This is  Lantana, “Miss Huff” which is hardy to Zone 7.

“Deer Resistant” has lost its meaning for me.  I’ve purchased too many “deer resistant” plants which were grazed within the first week.

This same sage, sold in 4 packs this spring, also comes with white flowers.

Our Catnip, with white flowers.

I prefer “poisonous” plants, like Daffodils, Caladiums, and Hellebores; but will settle for “totally distasteful” plants like Geraniums and most herbs.

A perennial sage grows here with Dusty Miller.  Both have gone untouched for several years in our garden.

A perennial sage grows here with Dusty Miller. Both have lived untouched for several years in our garden.

For more information on “deer proofing” your garden, please look back at some of my previous posts:

Deer Resistant Plants for Our Area- Revised Annotated list

Living With A Herd of Deer

Pick Your Poison

Tick Season Is Here

Scented Geraniums

 

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If you just want to bring home something pretty which will survive on your deck or porch through the season, make sure to include some geraniums and herbs in your pot.

I hope your herd of deer will walk right past it, on the way to someone else’s garden.

Deer photos by Denis Orton 2014

Plant photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Situated in full sun at the street, this newest, unprotected pot must tolerate heat, drought, and stand up to our herd of deer.

Situated in full sun at the street, this newest, unprotected pot must tolerate heat, drought, and stand up to our herd of deer.

 

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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

11 responses to “The Herd

  1. I love the deer pictures and all your flowers too! You must be watering or getting more rain than we are. We have not had any rain for 4 days now, I am getting tired of watering! Check out the pond pictures I took today 🙂 http://michaelswoodcraft.wordpress.com/2014/06/26/pond/

    • Hi Michael, We are waiting for rain here, too. But after seeing what is happening along the Mississippii I can’t complain and just drag the hoses around each day. I hope your garden managed OK while you were away. Knew you’d love the deer photos 😉 Best wishes, WG

  2. So the magic is in the geraniums, huh? That simple.

    These are really beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing them.

    First time I’ve been on your blog, and I really like it. Will be following you on my reader :). Keep up the excellent posts!

    • Thank you, Elise 😉 So nice to have you following my blog now. My apologies for not getting over to visit yours. I’ve been out of town a lot this week with a family emergency, and out of my usual habits. Yes, the magic is in the geraniums 😉 All strongly scented plants- including garlic, chives, and most herbs- go a long way to fending deer away from pots. Best wishes, WG

  3. GREAT post with sage advice (pun intended). I was just today similarly advising a friend of mine about her woodchuck problem: Plant only what it won’t eat. It is illegal to kill them in MA without a permit, though reading through the feedback, quite a few ignore it.
    Your deer are so tame. We have some around, but high-tail it when people come around. None dare to be near humans, so that helps keep them out of our yards. I have noticed a lot more browsing the past couple years than previously from when they come at night. My lab never would have tolerated it – she patrolled our yard like a beat cop!
    I haven’t been in my Reader for ages and missed your posts, so I just changed the setting to email so I won’t miss another one!
    Your pots and combos are looking awesome!

  4. Really the whole thing is such an exercise in futility – trying to prevent deer from mowing down hosta and daylily. I have my best daylilies behind a fence and the rest are sort of fair game. Word will spread soon amongst the local deer population that the salad bar is now open at my house. And yes, I am planting more and more deer “resistant” plantings like Russian Blue Sage to deter them.

    • It sounds like a delicious salad bar, too. Maybe the rabbits will find it 😉 I was given a free day lily root with a bulb order this spring… Oh joy…. I have it potted, and am giving it to a family member with a well fenced yard so it has a chance! That is “expensive futility”, Barbara. Do the dear deer leave your Russian blue sage alone? If so, it would probably look wonderful planted with the Lantana 😉 Best wishes, WG

  5. You have a pretty/nice way of deterring the docile deer. 🙂 Best wishes to all, WG!

  6. We are regularly visited by beautiful deer and they regularly maraud the garden. Having found a product that works most of the time called “Liquid Fence” we now forget to spray deer favorites like Hosta and Sedum Autumn Joy. You are so right with advice to choose deer appetite suppressant plants to encourage the herds to bypass our garden! 🙂

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