It happens every year. When you least expect it, a deer helps itself to a big serving of our garden. Most of the time, they do it right before you planned to do some “anti-deer” work to prevent the damage. When I decided a few Sundays ago that it was going to be the day to spray deer repellant on the plants in our front yard, it shouldn’t have surprised me that the night before, our local deer made a date to eat a few things in the area to be sprayed. Just to remind me that they exist, just to remind me that they are smart. Just to remind me that they have planted a bug inside our house…..it was if they were in the room when I announced my deer repellent plans a few weeks back.
The good news is that the deer in our area only have a couple of small gardens that they can get to on our property. These gardens are in the front of the house. The majority of our gardens are in the back of the house where we had a six-foot metal deer fence installed to keep them out. The black metal fence snakes through the woods and seems invisible when all of the plants and trees are fully fleshed out during Spring, Summer and most of the Fall. People tell us that a deer could jump our six-foot fence, but please don’t tell them that because they have never attempted it. The fence allows us to plant a large amount of plants outside and not have to worry about damage from grazing deer. The battle against the deer is only in the front of the property. The front yard is the battle field.
Here’s the only rub when deer graze in the front yard. Everything planted in the front yard was labeled “deer resistant” at the point of purchase. The front gardens contain such deer downers as peony, bleeding hearts, boxwood, monarda and echinacea. Plants that just don’t taste good to a deer…or so I thought. I quickly realized that there aren’t any plants that are truly deer resistant. These plants (like the Monarda that got eaten in the above pictures) are really just ones that deer don’t care for as part of a regular well-balanced deer meal, but if they are hungry enough, they will eat them. So we do our best to keep our front gardens protected. We continue to spray deer repellent a few times a month (it really works well) and, when the deer take time to have dinner in our garden, we do our best to trim the damage and hope that what they ate left a bad taste in their mouths. A bad enough taste to stay away…..but it never is.