Monday, October 12, 2009

Shame on Bambi

Oh deer! (Old pun. Sorry) The bane of a forest gardener. As discussed in my blog of May 4th 2009, lots of plants that were deer resistant in my garden are now readily consumed or dead. I lost all my red-hot poker plants (Kniphofia uvaria), also known as torch lily, over time. They went untouched for maybe 12 years when the deer started to nibble on the leaves. Soon all the leaves were eaten to the ground and no flowers ever formed. They were eaten so severely that the plants eventually died.

Now 10 years later it’s all starting over. The victim this time is the fortnight lily (Dietes iridioides). What’s so amazing is that one plant is untouched (on the left) while, only 40 feet away, another fortnight lily is being heavily grazed. Notice the number of severed leaves on the right. I predict that it will take only five years or less before the plant is too heavily browsed to survive. I like this perennial plant as one of the few straight, vertical lines in my garden. Drat. I’ll have to come up with another “deer-proof” vertical accent plant for these two guardians of the straight lines.

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