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

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at  gardengurumontreal.ca

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

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Monday
Oct172011

Is Your Garden a Cafeteria for Deer? - a book review for bookpleasures.com

 

50 Beautiful Deer- Resistant Plants, Ruth Rogers Clausen, photos: Alan L. Detrick, Timber Press,

Gardeners who live in deer country have a serious layer of complexity to work through when planning their landscapes: - Hungry deer will ultimately eat much of what they plant. Some are prepared to invest in fences that protect their plants from becoming Bambi brunch, while many prefer not to spend funds on such structures, or to invest in the necessary time to install them. As well, applying environmentally friendly products with deer-deterring odors can be both costly and labor-intensive because rain will wash away such products thus requiring repeated applications.

From time to time, many garden writers will publish articles about plants that deer avoid, however that information is usually insufficient. Knowing what deer will or will not eat, might ensure that a garden will not become a cafeteria, but that knowledge is incomplete when it does not address beauty and the elements of garden design.

It’s no secret that planning a beautiful deer-resistant garden is tedious work. Every time we select a plant or include our favorite perennial, we are obliged first to do research to determine if it is deer-candy. How exciting that now we have a list of beautiful, deer-resistant plants, conveniently tucked into a sumptuously illustrated handbook, [Mr. Detrick’s photographs are awesome]. As the subtitle suggests, this publication is about the prettiest annuals, perennials, bulbs, and shrubs. That list also includes herbs, ferns, and ornamental grasses. Think of all of the time liberated by not having to research our preferences before we plan our garden.

Some of the very wise suggestions that the author has also incorporated into this book are

-       the planting of natural barriers that are unpalatable to deer,  

-       how berms and terraces create a physically unwelcome-to-deer environment ,

-        cultural techniques that make otherwise tasty deer food unappetizing, 

-        a list of plants that deer love that must be excluded from the garden .

Since this is a book essentially about beauty, the author supplies design tips that enhance the appearance of the recommended plants. That is precisely the information we need to create attractive gardens with a restricted collection of perennials, shrubs and trees. This knowledge helps us to distinguish between the planting of a perfunctory landscape and the creation of a beautiful garden.

Again, because this is a book about beauty, it is worth mentioning that the graphic design for this publication is a work of art that reinforces the tactile and visual pleasures associated with handling the hard copy of a “real” book. Thanks, Timber Press. You’ve done it again.

                                       

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Reader Comments (1)

Nice review...I guess I'm glad that deer are one garden pest I don't have to deal with! I toured a garden this summer in the West Hills near Forest Park that the owner has completely surrounded with 10' tall deer fence. I could hardly fathom the expense and labor that must have required!

October 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterScott Weber

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