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Help! They’re Gobbling My Garden!

How she protected her garden from deer with creative thinking.

The fawn tentatively stepped out of the rhododendron bushes and began to cross the street in front of our rent-a-car. Larry slammed on the brakes. We were visiting in the quaint, picturesque town of Silverton, Oregon where Larry and I grew up as children. Driving down a town street where we had walked as children, we were surprised to see the deer.

We watched in wonder as the small animal delicately stepped across the street. Few animals can equal a fawn’s power to make us catch our breath at their grace and beauty. But oh! How they can make our garden plants and flowers disappear! 

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I couldn’t help but think of friends back in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where I now live, who are frustrated beyond words by the loss of their plants to the appetite of deer. I wondered whose garden this lovely fawn would lunch on.

The dilemma: Is there a way to protect and enjoy our favorite plants without poisoning our gardens and environment and harming the deer? I’ve heard of all kinds of things—usually stinky stuff—that gardeners use, often with limited success. But, I was about to learn some new ideas I hadn’t heard of before.

A few minutes later, we were visiting with Larry’s high school friend Craig Clark and his wife Joan who have transformed their Victorian home and half-acre of their spacious yard into a showplace. Trees, shrubs, flowers, groundcover, vegetables, fruits…all picturesquely showering their bounty. 

“What a creative way to frame your roses!” I exclaimed, as we spotted a rose garden abloom with sweet-smelling roses of every hue. It was surrounded by an elegant, tall fence marked with a pretty sign overhead announcing, “Rose Garden.”

“We finally found a way to enjoy our roses without having them all eaten by the deer!” laughed Joan. I was amazed. Through their creativity, Craig and Joan had taken a problem and turned it into something unique and beautiful.

Strolling further, we heard the soothing sound of water splashing from several fountains and small waterfalls into ponds tucked away in corners of ferns and moss. Orange-colored cherry tomatoes leaning out over the walkway offered fruit more delicious than any candy or pastry.

Then we came upon several plants and flowers set off by delicate-looking white birdcages. “Birdcages! I’ve never thought of placing them over outdoor plants, right on the ground…but they’re exquisite!” I said. Joan smiled again.

“These look like birdcages, but they are actually plant covers,” Joan said. “They’re made of metal, and they protect those plants that are our favorites and the favorites of the deer, too!”

Craig and Joan had found yet another way to create something beautiful, while protecting their plants from deer.

What have I learned about growing greener? This is one thing…If the deer around my yard become a problem, I’ll surround them with beautiful birdcages and elegant fences. I have to admit I’m pretty “challenged” when it comes to building anything…but hmmmmmm…Larry is good at building things. Shhhhh! I haven’t told him yet! 

Carol

P.S. Let me know your ideas for protecting your plants from wildlife, like deer!

Feel free to email me your environmental tips and questions!

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