We live way out in the country in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range, and while I know our home and garden invaded the wild animals’ territory, I’m like a self-righteous pioneer with the attitude IT’S MINE NOW! I really love wild animals and know by living in the wilderness they come with the territory. However, there’s one species, I’ve crossed off my list as enjoyable to watch.
Last summer I had a beautiful Gladiola garden which was going to be the centerpiece for a neighborhood, backyard barbecue and garden party. The night before the party, Rose (that’s what I named this doe because she destroyed my red rose bushes in one night) and her adorable twins Petunia and Pansy ate just the Gladiola blossoms from EVERY stalk.
Void of color, the assortment of barren stems reminded me of stalks of corn sprouting cornless cobs swaying in the breeze. That garden was the centerpiece of conversation alright, because it was, well, pathetic.
This spring I’m going to be organized and go to war to protect my beloved plants. We’ve lived here eleven years and I’ve tried every product on the market to repel the deer, to include little bell shaped containers filled with blood meal, brands such as Deer Stopper, Doe Away!, Oh Doe Regard and Not Tonight Deer, as well as human hair, human urine, dog hair, soap bars hung in pantyhose (such a lovely touch in a flower garden) and chicken wire all over the ground (I was told they hate to step on it). These products and methods seem to work for a while, but I think the deer become familiar with the repellents over time and think, ‘I’m not falling for this one anymore.’
Because of that thought, my plan is to switch off the various repellents weekly.
Week one, I’ll use human hair from the salon where I get my once-a-month haircut. My stylist has promised to collect it for me. I’ll mix it with hair from my three dog friends in the neighborhood.
Week two, I’ve asked Terry to start peeing around specific flower gardens (all out of sight from our neighbors). He’s agreed to increase his intake of water on that week and I’ve agreed to pee in an empty mayonnaise jar and do my fair share.
Week three, I found that blood meal comes in a big sack so I won’t spend money on little bells; I’ll just shake the stuff around my flowers.
Week four, I’ll spray with Deer Stopper as this product seemed to work the best for the longest period of time.
If this repellent routine doesn’t work, I’m going to have to take some drastic action.
I’ll call the Pentagon to see how much it would cost to have a drone focus on our acreage for a month or two so I can track the critters’ habitual routes through my yard and I’ll set up guard stations at those key points of entry. That’ll mean some all-nighters for Terry and me. (We can take turns.)
And as a last resort, I just might have to bring out the B B gun I bought after the Gladiola Massacre. (To date I’ve been unable to shoot at those furry flower eaters, because Nelly, my inner child, refuses to let me pull the trigger. Plus I’m really a lousy shot so even if I did take aim and shoot I’d probably miss.)
I’d love to hear from all you country-dwelling gardeners on your success with this problem.
Pam Young is a New York Times best-selling author. For more from Young, visit www.makeitfunanditwillgetdone.com.