I absolutely love to see deer in my wildlife garden! After all, isn’t that what a wildlife garden is all about? Creating an environment for all wildlife?
So, it is with some degree of sadness that I see article after article written about keeping deer out of wildlife gardens but very few about inviting these beautiful creatures in.
Deer visit my garden daily. I can thrill at the sight of a magnificent ten-point buck roaming my garden paths. And, I can watch close-up, the bond between a delicate doe and her twin fawns.
And, after they leave, I still have a beautiful garden. In fact, my wildlife garden has been on display in several garden tours. And, the questions asked are always the same: “How can you have deer in your garden and still have flowers and lush growth?”
My answer is really very simple: With just a little forethought and planning, I found that I could have my cake and eat it too!
Start by reading all the articles you can about deer resistant plants -there are some very good ones around. Then incorporate them into your unique garden plan. For example, when I needed privacy on the perimeter of my property, I used “Green Giant” arborvitae. Green giants live up to their name, grow faster than Leyland cypress, make a beautiful hedge and are quite deer resistant.
I spray “my” garden – the one near my terrace and the one in which I have lots of plants that are “candy” for the deer – with one of the good, natural deer repellents. And, since deer – like us – are creatures of habit, after a few forays, they stay away from the “smelly-to-them” garden.
I left the perimeters of my property untouched. It is my natural conservation buffer. Pines, oaks, bayberries and native low-bush blueberries abound, providing food for all wildlife. In front of the back buffer, which is the one the deer primarily use to come and go, I have planted many species of native plants – viburnums, in particular - and a few non-natives – hydrangea, hosta, azaleas, loosestrife - all plants that I know the deer love. I get them on sale in the fall and feel it is well worth the money spent. By the time my beautiful deer walk into my flowering garden, they are pretty full!
Also, in the wooded buffer, I always have a full bowl of cracked corn. It is for all the wildlife to enjoy and the deer do indulge at certain times of the year.
Pictures of my garden and the wildlife who visit are on Flickr. You can see first-hand that it is possible to have both a beautiful garden and visiting deer.
Wildlife Visitors: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mariasducktales/collections/72157626542255510/