HAVING BOTH DEER AND SHADE to contend with is kind of like being a vegan. It’s doable, but your choices are awfully limited.
I wanted to do some planting this first fall on my woodsy property in Springs, but I haven’t put up a deer fence yet. It’s fallen off my list of priorities, behind a new roof, fireplace, bathroom, etc.
I spent a recent evening looking over the offerings from several online nurseries, including Deer-Resistant Landscape and Wayside Gardens, and drove myself a little crazy trying to determine whether a plant in a 5″ plant from one nursery for $12 is a better or worse deal than the same plant in a gallon pot for $23 from another nursery.
I ended up ordering from good ol’ White Flower Farm, which is probably the most expensive, but I know from experience that their products are reliable. I chose an alder buckthorn (rhamnus frangula ‘Fine Line’, above) – five of them in fact, to reinforce the straggly privet hedge between myself and my next door neighbors – and three of an ornamental grass that is among the few that don’t require full sun: panicum virgatum ‘Prairie Fire,’ below. They arrived in just a couple of days, disappointingly tiny (these pictures show what they’ll look like, God willing, in a few years’ time).
I planted them all yesterday, which first required hacking down five leggy old lilac bushes – rejuvenation pruning, they call it – which you’re supposed to do in spring after flowering, but these didn’t flower last May anyway, so shaded out are they by enormous trees.
Then I spent many hours digging, pulling, cutting, and – with surgical precision – dabbing the cut ends of the evil, never-ending wisteria with Round-Up. (Professionals have repeatedly said it’s the only way.)
I’ve never been a patient sort of person, and I’m generally lousy at long-range planning. My next plant purchase will be something BIG.