My Backyard Garden Saga

Spring of 2004, I retired from my full-time job and I spent my newly acquired free time working my neglected little half acre. I mowed the grass. I pruned and carted branches up to the street for the garbage truck. I pulled out old juniper plants and added perennials for a lovely rock garden under my husband’s office window.

By the summer’s end, I accomplished a lot. Unfortunately, the deer ate most of what I planted. My husband, called my rock garden the “deer salad bar.” The next year, not to be outsmarted by Bambi, I got a list of plants that deer won’t eat. I went off to the nursery once again, to purchase new perennials.

One little problem, the deer are unable to read the list of plants that it’s reported they won’t eat.

You have to admit, Bambi is pretty cute!

They waited, however, until the tender plants were beginning to bud out, before they consumed them. One improvement was that they didn’t eat everything.

The next year, I purchased more plants (primarily the plants which the deer had ignored) and added them to the rock garden. I discovered the deer may pay no attention to a plant in one location, only to devour it in another.

Last year, I blamed Bambi for eating my Black-Eyed Susans growing by my front door. This is one of the perennials the deer avoided in the past. Only to realize it was most likely bunnies who were nibbling on my tasty Black-Eyed Susans. Now, I’m feeding Thumper AND Bambi.

I tried every trick I heard about to prevent the animals from eating my flowers. I placed Irish Spring soap around the perimeter of the rock garden. When that didn’t work, I sprayed coyote urine (really they sell such a thing) over my flowers. Lastly, I purchased a motion-activated sprinkler. The sprinkler worked the best, but I was leery of leaving the water pressure on when we were not at home.

I’m like most people, I want my cake and to eat it, too. Honestly, we enjoy seeing the deer in our yard. The babies are sooo cute! We just don’t want them to eat everything in sight. The sprinkler kept the deer completely out of our yard. So, I scrapped the motion sprinkler.

I learned that deer are able to leap over a 6-foot fence. One neighbor with a beautiful vegetable garden surrounded it with a 7-foot fence. The 7 foot fence is inside another fence and her dog has run of the yard. The combination keep deer out of her garden!

We don’t have a fenced yard and really don’t want one. So a fence to surround our property is out. We have a little dog, who would love to chase the deer, but she’s confined to a dog yard when she’s outside by herself. (She would be a tasty treat for a coyote or a fox.)

After 6 years of trying various remedies, I finally found a product, which keeps both the deer and bunnies from eating my flowers. It’s called Planyskydd and it works extremely well. I purchased this product online. It smells absolutely horrible and that’s the point. I spray Plantskydd on my rock garden about once a week. You need to spray any new growth. For the first time in 6 years, my Day Lilies flowered. So did my Oriental Poppies. Now, I’m ready to attempt my next project.

Be sure to see my next blog: “My Veggie Garden Plans.” (I know, I know, I’m hopeless.)

For a synopsis of Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater, Click Here.

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