Landscape Design forum: Birdfeeder Gardern but DEER, dappled sun, sandy soil

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Name: Sean B Murray
Riverhead, NY (Zone 7a)
Plays in the sandbox Xeriscape Herbs The WITWIT Badge Composter Garden Photography
Image
Whitebeard
Feb 3, 2016 9:45 PM CST
After three years in this house, and after tackling the serious problems out front, I think it's now time to focus on the back. This is something that is likely done best with pictures, so here goes...
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This is what the back looked like upon my arrival. I thought it was a good place for a new garden. You are looking Northeast. The house and lots of oak trees are at your back.
So I gave it a go. I dug out the grass and planted a garden. The soil was almost like playing at the beach. I abut woods, a natural habitat. Lots of wildlife, including lots of deer. I thought "maybe."
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The lack of growth on the bottom of the evergreens is because of the deer. Many of the "deer resistant" growers are not. They eat.
The notion is that I'd like this to be a "long view garden." Here's the fuller picture
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And I was hopeful.

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Name: Sean B Murray
Riverhead, NY (Zone 7a)
Plays in the sandbox Xeriscape Herbs The WITWIT Badge Composter Garden Photography
Image
Whitebeard
Feb 3, 2016 10:08 PM CST
The post crapped out a bit and so duel photo... sorry... to continue the story and make it shorter. The deer eat through most everything. After knowing there was nothing else to do but to look at trees so badly attacked, I gave a lollipop treatment.
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Then I thought at least there was something. I was wrong, and the attacks continues. I finally took more action.

Now the winter is absolutely dreadful. Mind you, snow covers the ugliness in most years, but I would still like some winter interest in the redesign.
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Any notions? Mind you, the neighbors have nothing growing in their back yards. So there's no "go have a look" here. In there, yet hardly noticeable just yet is a nice Japanese Skimmia, Berri-Magic. I also have a variegated Wiegela, a quince (Double Take Pink Storm), and a lovely small spirea (hmmm, don't have the cultivar name in my head now) making the brave attempt.

Any ideas appreciated. Thanks!

Peace and smiles to you this day.
Name: Terri
Lucketts, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Hellebores Ferns Ponds
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aspenhill
Feb 4, 2016 9:24 AM CST
Hi Sean,
I have similar deer issues and we seem to be in the same zone too. It has been trial and error figuring out what the deer will leave alone. For winter shrubbery interest, I have native mountain laurel that remains evergreen. I have also planted English boxwood that they have never touched, and last year started having some growing success with camellias and so far no deer damage. A real go to plant for me has been hellebores - winter blossoms, great rest of the year foliage, and I've never heard of deer eating them. Also for winter interest try some snowdrops (gallanthus).

For spring and summer, there are lots of things that I'm having luck with - alliums, daffodils, ferns, epimediums, pulmonaria, bleeding hearts, virginia bluebells, trilliums, solomons seal, thalictrums, geranium macrorrhizum, just to name a few. I also have a lot of luck with astilbe, but from the photos it looks like you may have already tried that. Good luck!
Name: Carol Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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csandt
Feb 4, 2016 10:17 AM CST
You have my sympathy about your problem with deer. They have decimated many of my plants too, especially in very cold winters. Where I live, they are especially fond of arborvitae and holly. They have also nibbled and seriously damaged the bark of numerous young trees.

I have found two solutions to be helpful, one that takes a lot of work and one that is a lot easier. First, in late fall, before the deer have established their winter feeding habits, I have sprayed plants with a homemade hot pepper concoction or hung sacks of Milorganite on branches. These solutions seem to work but are time-consuming, and sacks of Milorganite are kind of ugly hanging from the branches.

More recently, I purchased 100 feet of 4' high black plastic-covered hardware cloth cut in a variety of lengths and used them to surround the plants I know the deer like. Some 2' long pieces are used to surround young tree trunks. Some longer pieces surround a group of shrubs. I have also used sections of decorative black plastic-covered metal fencing sold by Lowe's for the same purpose. The fencing solutions are more attractive (to me anyway) than bags of Milorganite. Here is the Lowe's fence:
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In my gardens, the deer have ignored unprotected spirea, dwarf Alberta spruce, Chaemocyparis, Rose of Sharon and lilacs. They love daylilies, especially the prettiest ones, crape myrtle, hosta, and the flower buds of rhododendrons. So I have used the hot pepper spray on the daylilies as soon as the buds have formed, and the deer have learned to leave them alone. I think the key is to use the spray early to train the deer to stay away.
Carol Sandt

"Experience is the name we give to our mistakes.” - Oscar Wilde
Name: Sean B Murray
Riverhead, NY (Zone 7a)
Plays in the sandbox Xeriscape Herbs The WITWIT Badge Composter Garden Photography
Image
Whitebeard
Feb 4, 2016 12:43 PM CST
Thanks Terri and CS.
T -- I think the mountain laurel is an especially wonderful idea. I have also been thinking about boxwoods which can at least add some bones to the bed. Astilbes will be part of the mix, as they do stand a chance. This fall I planted alliums, and I have a pulmonaria that does well. The thalictrums and trilliums are lovely, and new to me. I'll give them a shot.

I have another bed, farther away from the woods and close to the house that has a camellia and hellebore. I will be putting in more hellebores with that this year. The camellia gets nibbled, but not seriously damaged, yet the deer snag the blooms as quickly as they appear.

CS- I'm especially glad to hear about the rose of Sharon. I have a few that I put in on the side of the house this year. The Chamaecyparis is a surprise to me. I'll need to hunt some down. I have a dwarf Alberta blue spruce in the front which I really like, and am glad to learn of your success with that too. I do spray but that gets expensive and it's always a challenge of timing for me. The fence is a pretty option and I think I might use it in another section of the gardens here.

I hope the next few years with your good advice will yield some nice results. Thanks again.
Name: Terri
Lucketts, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Hellebores Ferns Ponds
Image
aspenhill
Feb 4, 2016 1:10 PM CST
For actual deer repellants, a gardening friend recently recommended a systemic product that she has been using. Unlike sprays, it seems you only need to apply it once a season to the soil around the plants as they are coming out of dormancy. I'm going to try it this year on some of the plants that I still have that the deer find appetizing and see how it does. This is the link to the manufacturer, but it can be bought from many resellers, including Amazon.
http://repellex.com/repellex-systemic-300ct.html
Name: Rosie
HILLSBOROUGH, NC (Zone 7b)
If it sparkles - I'm there!
Region: North Carolina Bookworm
Image
MISSINGROSIE
Feb 14, 2016 10:45 AM CST
I have one of those lollipop trees. Never knew the shaping style had a name! Mine lost its limbs because snakes climbed up and ate the eggs/ hatched birds and then would linger to stare me in the face as I emerged from the porch. I hang multiple pottery birdhouses and a copper feeder from the branches hanging down at different heights to make up for lack of lower quarters. No birds nest in the houses. I think because they swing on the ropes.

You might try a nice willow chair in there or a metal artzy type.or a bench.....sit a bird feeder or house on it. It would add interest ...and dare I say..add a salt block and this way you can watch the deer...win win...they will come anyway. If you can't beat them.......

I have a mop head and I am close to your zone. It looks good in a wooded setting. I trim it up to suit..it has not harmed it. Thinned one out and keep another at about 4 feet. I used glass mulch once and the deer did not seem to like that. They hurry across the drive too so maybe they just don't like the hard lumpy bumpy gravel feel. The glass mulch sparks real good and is pretty after an occasional hosing to clear off dust.

I think I may have a photo of the mop head....
Don't squat with yer spurs on!

People try to turn back their "odometers." Not me. I want people to know 'why' I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved
Name: Rosie
HILLSBOROUGH, NC (Zone 7b)
If it sparkles - I'm there!
Region: North Carolina Bookworm
Image
MISSINGROSIE
Feb 16, 2016 10:00 AM CST
It took a while, but I see nobody has posted recently. Darn photos in library small- hope I grab the correct ones. First photo of the critters at work.. On phlox I think. Mophead in foreground.
The rest are of two and there is a photo of the massacred tree...a cryptomeria ....and one of the ornamental pottery birdhouses....those come inside winter...probably can stay outside..but I know you are looking for winter interest. Edited to say the second one not agoodrepresentation because awide weeping japanese maple is behind it (leafless) confusing things. Unshaped...the mophead gracefully grazes the ground.

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Don't squat with yer spurs on!

People try to turn back their "odometers." Not me. I want people to know 'why' I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved
[Last edited by MISSINGROSIE - Feb 16, 2016 10:02 AM (+)]
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Name: Rosie
HILLSBOROUGH, NC (Zone 7b)
If it sparkles - I'm there!
Region: North Carolina Bookworm
Image
MISSINGROSIE
Feb 16, 2016 11:42 AM CST
Here is a daphne...no fertilizer and no wet feet. Evergreen. May do well.

Perfumes the back and front provided the breeze complies

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Don't squat with yer spurs on!

People try to turn back their "odometers." Not me. I want people to know 'why' I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier
pirl
Feb 16, 2016 2:28 PM CST
Good idea! I have one daphne, Carol Mackie, as well as deer. The deer have never touched it.
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Name: Terri
Lucketts, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Hellebores Ferns Ponds
Image
aspenhill
Feb 16, 2016 4:15 PM CST
Rosie, nice gardens! I like the rustic arbor in the first photo and the overall setting is really pretty. That is a creative idea too to use the short branches left over on that tree after the deer browsing to hang garden objects from. Darned deer though, they sure make things a challenge.
Name: Sean B Murray
Riverhead, NY (Zone 7a)
Plays in the sandbox Xeriscape Herbs The WITWIT Badge Composter Garden Photography
Image
Whitebeard
Feb 16, 2016 4:45 PM CST
Rosie, I love what you did to the mop head. I'm guessing it's a thuja plicata? If it is a thuja, it's amazing the deer have left it alone, but here I do find that things planted closer to the house stand a better chance, although my camellia, which is right outside my office window, has been snacked on a few time this winter. I think the daphne is a great idea. Oddly enough I noticed that I had it on one of my lists, but never picked one up. Arlene, your Carol Mackie looks wonderful. I snagged the pic from here and incorporated into the design.

The attached is what I'm thinking about for a design. It's impossible for it to ever look this this as the plants I have in place are largely shown in bloom, and those shown blooming here don't bloom at the same time. But this design holds things in place and things are easier to identify when blooming. The design incorporates the suggestions for boxwoods, mountain laurel, astilbe, and the daphne. (Thanks all around.) It also has the quince, shown more mature in this mockup, among other plants I have. Other notions that I've included is joe pye weed, and a ruscus aculeatus 'Wheeler's' (far right) which should do nicely in the dry soil and dappled light. I will also work in a couple dwarf nandina that I have, and really like for winter interest (and the deer don't touch them). I don't love love love the design, but it gives me something to work with and contemplate before the real doing season is upon us here. An annual that I really like is Senorita Rosalita cleome which does okay in this garden and will likely find a home in the re-do. But such designs are like recipes that we build on to taste, and always with the prayer that it works.
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Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier
pirl
Feb 16, 2016 5:01 PM CST
Splendid! The tree you lollipopped could use a vine to hide the trunk but I have no idea what you could use that the deer would not devour. Sweet Peas were my first thought and they did leave mine alone last year but we all know their appetite rules and what they leave alone for me, they may devour in your garden.

I do love the rustic arbor, Rosie!
Name: Rosie
HILLSBOROUGH, NC (Zone 7b)
If it sparkles - I'm there!
Region: North Carolina Bookworm
Image
MISSINGROSIE
Feb 16, 2016 7:50 PM CST
Thanks everyone. We like the arbor too as a small ( cheap!! ) easy to construct entranceway. It was peeling pretty good but it has given up its bark by now. When and if it falls, we will haul out the cement footers and do it again. It is not deep..basically just an entranceway. We grow deeo red bee balm next to it ...low bright purple ajuga in front and in the back 5 feet tall long nosed bright yellow rudbeckia.

My motto is ..don't help it...if It makes it...it is meant to be! If it croaks...the arbor distracts! Rolling on the floor laughing

Sean, I should have not said mop head.. Thuja won't last. The deer eat it and rub their horns and break it. I have tried.

The shrub is a false cypress. Golden mop??? I think it should go to 5 feet per the books but ours would go to 6 at least-- so maybe not a dwarf. In sun it is a bright bright yellow. ...deer won't touch it. Needs no special care. If you get it, when it is shaped...be sure you plan it well because it doesn't grow new shoots on the old wood. It really is a shrub that makes friends with others because its color does so well with dark green and crimson and burgandy. Also evergreen and very graceful. I think I will always have a few in the garden. I also feel that way about the black dragon because I love love the bright green new growth against the black black green needles...it is a quiet gentleman...plays nice...but WHAT A PAIN IN THE TUSH unless you find a totally draft free site, It burns brown. Another shrub I think would do well for you in your area is a witch hazel - so many varieties, but I did not mention because you wanted winter interest and while some will bloom and perfume...no evergreen leaves.

Your model: I think what you have done is quite nice. I especially love the astilbe..but they do not love me...I am not sure why. I have tried many times. You may also like one pink muhly specimen in that area ..I know not evergreen - but the dried up winter leftovers can look interesting. Deer leave it alone too. I agree about the vine for the lollipop tree but no ideas for one to survive, that's why I set things on chairs, place statues, boulders, totems, anything next to the bare tree trunk. . I even have a tall music stand in a planting area.
The deer SLEEP under our windows. No way to avoid even next to house. You mentioned cleome...that brings to mind seeds...and to my mind blue star amsonia. The deer will ignore. In the late late fall, it will absolutely GLOW a beautiful bronze. Comes back faithfully..and has a nice dried stalk and pod in the winter. You can leave it alone....in the summer..it looks like tall fat fennel.bright green. This is not the dark green foot to 15 inch blue star that pops up everywhere..this is 3:5 feet tall and wide, gorgeous. I have seen cars brake for it in autumn with the sun on it...it is on fire.
Don't squat with yer spurs on!

People try to turn back their "odometers." Not me. I want people to know 'why' I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved

KCGardenDiva
Aug 26, 2016 5:35 PM CST
aspenhill said:For actual deer repellants, a gardening friend recently recommended a systemic product that she has been using. Unlike sprays, it seems you only need to apply it once a season to the soil around the plants as they are coming out of dormancy. I'm going to try it this year on some of the plants that I still have that the deer find appetizing and see how it does. This is the link to the manufacturer, but it can be bought from many resellers, including Amazon.
http://repellex.com/repellex-systemic-300ct.html


Hello! Did you end up using this product this growing season and did it keep the deer away? Thanks!

Name: Rosie
HILLSBOROUGH, NC (Zone 7b)
If it sparkles - I'm there!
Region: North Carolina Bookworm
Image
MISSINGROSIE
Aug 26, 2016 6:59 PM CST
Good question ... The deer miserable this summer
Don't squat with yer spurs on!

People try to turn back their "odometers." Not me. I want people to know 'why' I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved
Name: Terri
Lucketts, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Hellebores Ferns Ponds
Image
aspenhill
Sep 1, 2016 3:25 PM CST
I had such high hopes for this gardening season, but one thing led to another and I didn't have much time to spend in the gardens. The deer ravished every plant that they found tasty, especially the hostas, before I got around to using the product. Between the weeds and the deer damage, the gardens are looking pretty sad, the worst that they have looked in years. Next year will be better LOL. Does every gardener think that? Anyway, I'll be retiring after 34 years of long commutes and working full time at the end of Feb and am looking forward to being able to have the time to garden day in and day out to my hearts content. I'll definitely be able to test out that repellant next spring. I'm slowly eliminating the deer candy from my gardens, but so want to keep hostas. If it keeps the deer away from them I'll be ecstatic. I'll flag this post to remember to post an update.
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier
pirl
Sep 1, 2016 6:18 PM CST
Wonderful news about your retirement, not so wonderful about the hosta and deer. They gobble them up here along with daylilies. Deer fencing has been my best resource. At least now I can see phlox, roses and some hosta.

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