|New PVC/netting cage for azalea|
Photo 1 shows the new cage, which I built from three 10-foot, 1½-inch PVC pipes, four 90° elbow joints, and one T-joint. Since the azalea I want to protect is about 18 inches tall in most places but sprawls about four feet, I cut two 5-foot pieces from one of the pipes for the horizontal supports (the tops). For the vertical supports (or legs), I cut five equal pieces (3 feet, 4 inches each) from the two remaining pipes, leaving a sixth piece for a future project. The longer legs will give the plant room to grow.
|Deer discovers new cage|
Does the new cage work? Photos 2 and 3 show a deer discovering the new arrival—the cage—around the azalea. I happened to glance out a front window and saw deer moving toward our flower beds as they grazed. I grabbed my camera and watched with a smile as one deer noticed the new structure. The deer first surveyed the new cage from behind a Russian sage—looking intensely, sniffing, focusing its ears, like “radars,” on the contraption. It took a few additional, cautious steps toward the cage, again looking, sniffing, listening.
|Deer trying to figure out new cage|
Photo 4 shows a simpler cage I made for a miniature azalea that a friend gave us when my mother died a few years ago. It has been a late-winter favorite of browsing deer, so each fall I encircle it with fencing that sits on the mulch and is anchored by four garden stakes. For three winters it’s worked well, and each spring the small azalea has more pink flowers.
If deer browse your flowering shrubs, be creative. Protect them some way. The buds you save this winter will be next spring’s flowers.
|Simpler cage for smaller azalea|