|Hostas: deer candy|
The hostas my dad gave us when we moved to Meadow Glenn grew well along our front sidewalk, but one June morning I discovered that the beautiful variegated plants no longer had leaves—just stems. Deer had enjoyed a nighttime salad, and I hadn’t even left out a bottle of ranch dressing. Now, whenever I’m talking deer and plants and mention hostas, someone invariably says, “Hostas—deer candy!”
|Pansies: deer candy|
|Violets: deer candy|
When I mention this common flower, however, I’ve never had anyone say, “Violets—deer candy.” I think the reason is that most gardeners don’t buy and plant violets, as they do hostas or the cousins of violets, the pansies. Also, this stemless native perennial hunkers down in lawns, usually, and seldom grows to be more than an inch or two tall, so it doesn’t draw attention, and if it does, some consider it a weed to be killed with 2,4-D.
If you garden in Deer County and are working in your flower beds and find a clump of violets, do what I do. Think, “Violets—deer candy!” Then either move them to a remote spot where they can serve a grand purpose as host the larvae of several of the fritillary butterflies—or add them to your compost pile.
Just don’t leave them in your garden to attract browsing deer that may be tempted to chow down on other plants nearby.