Sunday, June 19, 2011

Deer Country: Views from Two Windows

View from dining room

Flowers are blooming in Deer Country in mid-June, but views from our dining room and kitchen windows are significantly different. Flowers we see from the dining room windows are those that are deer resistant, and those we see from the kitchen window are those that deer love to eat.

Photo 1 shows what we see this week from our dining room—flowers that are unprotected from browsing bambits. They are not fenced or covered with netting. I haven’t sprayed them with a deer-resistant spray. They are not surrounded by landmines.

Flowers in bloom, from top left, include white Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum) and orange-red redhot poker or torch lily (Kniphofia uvaria). Just in front of them are red-yellow blanket flowers (Gaillardia aristata ‘Sunburst Scarlet Halo’ and ‘Goblin’). Redhot poker continues into the middle pane, followed by orange butterfly milkweed (Aesclepias tuberosa).

View from kitchen
In front of the birdbath is Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue,’ which has gone to seed, and lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina), a ground cover that will bloom later.

Photo 2 shows what we see this week from our kitchen window—flowers that are protected from deer by a fence—and, I think, by the slope of our hill and raised beds inside the fence. Most of the blooms in the mass of color are Asiatic and Oriental lilies and, to the left, false sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides ‘Summer Sun’). In front is a pink garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) that is just beginning to flower.

Lily blossoms--past tense
Deer would love to chow down on many of the flowers in our backyard, but they haven’t yet chosen to jump the fence. But if they did, our lilies soon would look like the plant in Photo 3, which shows a deer-browsed lily near the birdbath in our front yard. We planted lilies there years ago, before we know we had a deer problem. At least those lilies bloomed a few days this year before the deer ate the blooms and buds.

Yes, you can have beautiful views from your windows in Deer Country. The secret is to have a good fence—or to choose perennials that are “deer-resistant.” You’ll have to experiment, but over time you’ll find the plants that your deer will pass by and when you look out of your windows, you’ll say to yourself, “Wow, what a view—definitely worth all the time and effort.”

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