They’re just voracious overgrown rabbits, that’s all they are! And just because they are more slender, graceful and beautiful than me doesn’t mean I have to like them. Sure, Bambi is cute, but he’s a CARTOON! And Bambi had the good sense to stay in his forest, or the meadow, not trespassing on people’s gardens.
It’s probably a good thing I don’t own a gun, because I’ve about had it with my neighborhood deer. When I moved here I knew full well that there were plenty of them about, almost every time we visited the empty lot while we waited for a builder to start our home we encountered deer, if not on our lot, very close by. The bear scat was pretty exciting too!
I made sure to budget for fence construction, and we had our large back yard fully fenced before moving into the house. So my veggie garden, fruits and plenty of tasty ornamentals are thriving in a deer-free zone. I thought, with my experience and knowledge about the grazing habits of my furry friends that I would be able to create a lovely front yard using deer resistant plants. Notice I said deer resistant, I’m not naïve enough to think that anything is deer-proof, but there are quite a few plants that have proven unpalatable to deer, most of the time.
Unfortunately, nobody gave the list to my local deer families! Seriously, I think we are so overpopulated with deer that competition for food is fierce, and they are completely aware that suburbia can also be spelled b-u-f-f-e-t. I can put up with a nibble here and there, but these brats are chowing down on plants that they walked right past before.
Like heather. I was inspired by a lovely planting in front of a local seniors centre to put a swath of heather in the garden between my driveway and the neighbours, close to the road. It’s very sunny and I wanted something colourful all year but relatively low maintenance. Of course I also expected they’d be safe from the four-legged vultures, but apparently not. Over the winter they’ve decided that heather is tasty. But heather is tough, dry and prickly, who would want to eat that?
I discovered the damage when I walked across the road to collect the mail a few days ago. Something looked odd. Most of my winter heather (Erica) seemed to have lost their flower buds. As they were just starting to colour up this was quite disappointing. They look rather like they’ve been pruned, I thought, but who would do that? The summer heather (Calluna) looked fine; they were still holding their now faded blooms in erect spikes, but what happened to the others?
I puzzled a minute, and then it dawned on me. @#%$& DEER! I guess the plump, just about to open flowers were moist and tasty enough to make a snack of. So much for my winter colour, there are precious few buds still tucked into the depths of each shorn little winter blooming heather. The callunas, with their tough, dried up blossoms have been spared, for now…
So that’s my rant! Next time I will show you the success stories in my new garden; plants in the front garden that the deer AREN’T eating.