by Charlene Burgi
Thoughts of little Bambi may not be so endearing to those contending with disappearing vegetation from Bambi’s visits. The conundrum is living within the deer’s domain while watching them devour prize roses, vegetable garden and whatever else they choose to sink their teeth into. Nothing is sacred if a deer is hungry.
Can we live in harmony with deer without sacrificing our gardens? Why would we want to attract wildlife to the garden? These were the questions of the day at the Bay-Friendly Basics class a few weeks ago. And everyone is correct. They are so beautiful, so graceful . . . and so destructive.
So, how do we live in harmony? First, before buying a truckload of plants, see if your plant list is classified as “deer resistant” and only purchase one plant of each from your list. Place the plants in an area that the deer frequent and leave them there for several days. If the deer browse on them, you are out the cost of a few plants and not the value of a planted hillside.
Second, choose plants with an herbal fragrance such as lavender, rosemary, creeping thyme, yarrow or breath of heaven (Coleonema). Experiment with plants that you see and admire growing in your neighborhood.
Third, if you have existing shrubs and plants in your garden that are like strawberry shortcake to the deer, mix up one whipped egg white in a gallon of water and spray this mixture on the plants. Keep in mind that the sprayed mix will wash off in the rain or if the irrigation system hits it. Repeated spraying will suggest to the deer that the plant is not palatable. The deer will soon seek out other areas to graze.
Lastly, construct a deer fence around the area you want to protect. Remember that deer have the ability to jump high or wide, but not both at the same time. For example, they may be able to jump a six foot fence, but can’t if you have a four foot barrier behind it.
For more garden ideas, mark your calendar for May 15 when we have our annual Eco-Friendly Garden Tour. We are looking for volunteers to work half a day at a designated garden. The remainder of the day volunteers will be free to see the remaining gardens. As a thank you, you will be given three free admission tickets and a volunteer T-shirt. See our website for further information.