Deer-proof Plants Part III

Miscanthus sinensis 'Malepartus" with bronzy flowers

Finally, I’ll show you which ornamental grasses, perennials, bulbs and annuals I’m growing in my front yard.  Ornamental grasses are great, the rabbits on steroids haven’t touched my:

Black Mondo grass isn't a true grass

  • Fargesia murielae (Umbrella Bamboo), which I keep in an oak barrel even though it’s not supposed to be a runner;
  • Stipa tenuissima (Mexican feather grass);
  • Miscanthus sinensis (Maiden grass), or my
  • Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ (Black Mondo grass).
    Stipa Tenuissima and Solidago 'Golden Baby'
    Mexican Feather grass and Dwarf Goldenrod

There are a few herbaceous perennials in the garden that seem to be doing alright, like;

Erysimum ‘Apricot Twist’ and ‘Fragrant Sunshine
These cheerful wallflowers bloomed all summer!
  • Lavandula angustifolia (English lavender);
  • Peonies, several varieties;
  • Erysimum (Wallflower) ‘Apricot Twist’ and ‘Fragrant Sunshine’;
  • Agapanthus (Lily of the Nile) we’ll see if it has survived the winter;
  • Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’, they nibbled on the coneflowers in their first season but left them alone last year;
  • Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Little Spire’ (Russian Sage);
  • Monarda (Beebalm);
  • Veronica spicata ‘Royal Candles’;
  • Dianthus ‘Frosty Fire’;
  • Aubretia variegata;
  • Primula ‘Wanda’;
  • Pulsatilla vulgaris (Pasque flower);
  • Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Leadwort);
  • Lithodora diffusa;
  • Solidago (Goldenrod) ‘Golden Baby’;
  • Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonlight’, and
  • Rosemary.
Veronica 'Royal Candles' , Dianthus 'Frosty Fire' and Allium 'Purple Sensation"

I love the globular shape of Veronica 'Royal Candles'

I’ve also planted bulbs, corms and tubers including:

  • Narcissus, a good selection of different colour, form, size and blooming time because they are toxic and aren’t eaten (although occasionally a stupid fawn will bite off their heads and spit them out!)
  • Snowdrops;
  • Crocosmia (Montbretia) ‘Lucifer’;

    Dahlia 'Akita'

  • Dahlias;
  • Colchicum (Fall Crocus or Naked Ladies), and
  • Allium (Flowering Onion) ‘Purple Sensation’.
    Rosemary ‘Arp’
Annuals that the walking venison ignore most of the time are: 

One of my favourite Geraniums

  • Alyssum;
  • Salvia;
  • Cleome;
  • Zinnias;
  • Coleus;
  • Osteospermum
  • Snapdragons;
  • Geraniums, and
  • Petunias.
Wow, when I look back at this list it’s a little embarrassing!  It’s really not a big front garden.  There isn’t very much lawn though, and if I had my way (and I will, eventually) there would be no lawn.

The internet is a great place to find lists of deer resistant plants; poke around and you’re sure to find more info.  One resource I like is from Rutgers University.

Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance is helpful because it rates plants using these categories:

  • A = Rarely Damaged;
  • B = Seldom Severely Damaged;
  • C = Occasionally Severely Damaged, and
  • D = Frequently Severely Damaged

I hope this post is helpful for those of you who have serious deer problems like me.  Most of these plants should be unattractive to rabbits as well, if that happens to be your scourge.  But I must repeat – this is what MY deer don’t like, so far… Your deer may (and probably do) have different tastes.  Trial and error, that’s what gardening is all about!  And if the deer absolutely demolish something in your yard, don’t waste your time and effort trying to save something that clearly won’t succeed, move it somewhere safe or get rid of it, and voilà, you have a good reason to try a new plant!

The front garden in September


About hortophile

I am a very opinionated, slightly obsessed gardener with decades of experience in the retail nursery industry. A lucky resident of the "Wet Coast" of British Columbia I tread a muddy path between practicality and beauty, with my veggie patch, herb garden and fruits vying for position with the beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers that I can't resist. DON'T ask me to choose between them! I believe in environmental responsibility and common sense.
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13 Responses to Deer-proof Plants Part III

  1. Beautiful!! You do good work my friend. Your garden pictures give me hope that spring is coming, even as it snows outside!! I hope we don’t get another snow day tomorrow 😦

  2. Really pretty. Love that last picture. I’d hate/love living by you! I’m sure you’d spur me to gardening heights and we could get a really friendly garden rivalry going! And work together on the deer problem! You other neighbor’s yards are so . . . plain.

    • hortophile says:

      Thanks Julee – if you lived nearby we could share plants too! And my neighbours should be forgiven, this is a pretty new neighborhood and a lot of the landscaping is immature so it looks bare. My yard looks better because I have this little obsession, in five years I’ll probably have an overgrown jungle…

      • I wish I did. I’m on the East Coast in the NY/NJ area. But it’s a nice daydream.

        How big does the blue mondo grass get, by the way? And if it’s not grass, what is it?!

      • hortophile says:

        Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘nigrescens’ – Black Mondo Grass is in the family Ruscaceae – an evergreen perennial. It grows to about 15″ tall and spreads verrrry slowly (which means it’s really expensive to buy!) It really is a lovely glossy black, and blooms in late summer with purplish white flowers, but it’s the foliage that I love it for…

      • Also, aren’t you just itching to go over and landscape your neighbor’s yards? I would be!

      • hortophile says:

        Well I don’t want to offer advice where it’s not wanted – but I am happy to give it when asked. As for doing their landscaping – I barely have time to keep up with my own chores!

  3. Your garden looked a blaze of colour in September and reminds me so much of England 🙂

    • hortophile says:

      Well, I hope I haven’t made you homesick! I think the climate here is very similar to England, much like where I grew up in Victoria BC, which is nicknamed “Little England”

  4. Brad says:

    How did your Rosemary Arp do thru winter? Is it as fragrant as other varieties? Your yard looks wonderful. Thank you for sharing your “obsession” with us.

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