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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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Eating My Words

Some time ago I posted a blog about deer-proofing the garden. I offered suggestions about plants deer would not eat and linked the reader to another website that elaborated on thisThis photo appears in the February 2009 issue of Garden Gate eNotes. Click on the image to read what I argue against. subject. I take it all back! Actually, I’ve deleted that entry.

For those of us that love perennial gardens, having to plant items that deer will avoid is counterproductive. A beautiful garden requires that the gardener decides what to plant, not the deer. Furthermore, no one should be compelled to add deer repellent substances or electronic shock equipment to their property.

Perennial gardening has never been about acquiescing to nature. Historically, it has always been about taking charge. Most of the flowers that we plant are not native to our environment.They were discovered elsewhere and brought first to Europe and then to North America. Beautiful perennial gardens, therefore, are the result of manipulating nature and we should continue to do so until we have created the gardens we desire.To achieve our goals, we need to build a physical barrier to stop the deer from grazing on our land.

There is a high price tag attached to landscaping a property.To that cost, I suggest we add the price of installing a deer-proof fence that will enclose the garden.This extra step will ensure that desired flowers will grow where we want them. One should not have to worry about deer eating up our considerable investment.

For most regions, a fence that is seven feet high is essential to stop deer from leaping into the garden. Ideally, a fence that blocks the deer’s view of the garden is best. Second best would be a wooden fence with repetitive openings large enough to allow the garden admirer to see through but small enough to keep the deer out.

Not every gardener will be happy to install a visible fence. And not every gardener will have the budget for it. Alternatively, one can install a wire fence that is almost invisible. Gardeners that want to maintain a sense of the "wide open spaces" might find this option more attractive. Another advantages of the invisible fence system is that it has been designed so that gardeners can install it themselves. It is lightweight, easy to install, and above all, economical.

In the April 2009 edition of Canadian Gardening Magazine, on page 67, there is a photograph of a perennial garden smack in the middle of moose country.The owner of this property had tried using repellents without success and found a fence to be the only way to keep deer out of her garden. A tall sturdy lattice-type window pane fence surrounds this beautiful perennial garden and allows the visitor to see through the fence to appreciate the rustic meadows beyond. The fence not only protects the garden from deer and moose but also delineates the flower beds by giving them a visual anchor. Wooden structures in gardens are frequently used by landscapers to enhance a garden scene. That is exactly what the fence does for this garden. It blends in with the overall spirit of the garden.

If a visible fence is not to ones liking, or is too costly, in this same issue of the magazine, there is an ad on page 97 for virtually invisible deer fencing, manufactured by Benner's Gardens, that is available both in Canada and the U.S.A.

The virtually invisible fence is being used successfully in the following public places in Canada:The Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington,Ontario,The Horticultural Centre of the Pacific in Victoria, British Columbia, and Niagara Parks in Niagara Falls,Ontario.

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Reader Comments (2)

Interesting article.I have been telling my customers this for years. If you are going to invest in expensive landscaping and plants consider what you will feel like when you see your investment chewed and trappled. $10K-$20K destroyed in one evening.Then think about investing a few hundred dollars in deer exclusion fencing.
There is no such thing as deer proof plants, young deer do not go to school to be taught what to eat and what not to eat. They try everything, unfortunately the trial usually results in the death of the plant and a few more $ gone.
Our fencing does work, ask the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific or Niagara Parks plus countless gardeners all across Canada.
Our fence system is designed for gardeners to install themselves, lightweight,easy and economical. I put it around my property 6 years ago and have never had a deer in since then.

February 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Davidson

Deer were eating my begonias as fast as I could replace them until a local told me to try putting some human hair around the plants. So I started emptying my haribrush out into the flowerbed and the deer haven't touched my plants since. I don't know if it's just a coincidence but considering how they were going after them before, I have to think that this is what made them stop.
Just an idea for folks to try before investing in expensive barriers and such.

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne Q

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