Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Life With Deer

My parents' house is situated in a leafy suburb, which is lovely and full of wildlife. That wildlife also includes roving bands of deer, which periodically pass through the yard and do varying amounts of damage. We regularly wrap shed hair from our dog around those plants that seem most delicious to them, but every time I plant something new it is a gamble. This morning I found two recently planted perennials - one gray-headed prairie coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) and one gay feather (Liatris spicata 'Kobold') - decimated:


Liatris spicata 'Kobold'

Ratibida pinnata

Oddly, native plants like these two do not appear to be less prone to deer damage than exotics, despite having always shared their habitat with the deer.

4 comments:

  1. Oh dear :( Deers do have voracious, non discriminatory appetite for plants

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    1. Indeed, though sometimes they can be oddly discerning. Of the lilies, for instance, they only like the flower buds, and they want them as big as possible, so they usually wait until just a day or two before they are about to bloom and then snap the buds cleanly off the stems, without so much as touching the leaves.

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  2. Wow! Yet they left the hosta! The ratibida will just grow another flowering stalk, The liatris may, depends how close to flowering it was. I'm guessing not, though. The browsing habit of deer is just terrible. Maybe natives that need pinching? Asters, turtlehead, verbena, vervain, goldenrod, hyssop, agastache?

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    1. That is good to read, seeing as I have no previous experience with Ratibida. I think the Liatris is more or less gone for this season, too, but hopefully the plant will recover. Thank you for the suggestions - I do have some agastache - I really want more, but the selection at my local nurseries has not been great - and goldenrod that the deer so far have always left completely alone. Asters there are plenty as well, because they are one of my mom's favorite flowers. They do often "get pinched" by the deer once or twice but branch and recover in time to flower well. The turtlehead is a great idea - I think it would fit great in that part of the garden!

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