I’ve alluded to the crocus border more than once, after this ridiculous winter (there is still snow out there) it was finally coming up. I’ve also alluded to my interest in some of the more unusual types of crocus. They are also coming up. However, did you know deer like to eat crocus? No, neither did I. They appear to be especially fond of C. sieberi (the Cretan Crocus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crocus_sieberi) and C. biflorus. And, of course, the young daylilies; preferably the cultivars. The deer also have large feet, what they don’t eat, they step on. So much for that set of flowers.
These same deer are persistently hanging out in the vegetable garden. Actually, the does are hanging about in the vegetable garden; the big buck and a yearling are hanging out in the Big garden (where the tulips are).
The deer, the skunk, the feral cats, the fisher cat (if you recall the Zombie fish episode, the fish survived the winter only to be eaten by the fisher), the raccoons, the possums, the bears….it is getting to be a bit much. And expensive. I love the hawks and the foxes, but not so much the rest. The type of gardening/landscaping we want is running hard up against the animals, all of whom have learned that this is a quiet, food-rich location. Either we have the animals or we have the gardens or?
So what to do? The various repellents are no longer especially effective on our herd (besides, an apparent change in formulation means that they are no longer safe to apply to foliage of broad-leaf evergreens) and can’t be used in a vegetable garden. With the consequence that the tulip beds just got dressed for Halloween. And, of course, none of the other critters are repelled by deer repellents (I bet the bear likes it!)
Step one is clearly some fencing. We can’t spring for deer fencing all the way around (the West Meadow would be a problem). But some level of fence to cut down on the casual stroll.
And likely dog proof. Because, after all there is a reason certain animals were domesticated. And a reason large properties tend to have dogs. Just as they tend to have cats in their houses.
More thought, much more thought is needed; dogs are a lifestyle after all and not cheap. Fence first.
What sort of dog? Collies and Australian Shepherds are high on the list, from past experience with Aussies and enjoying Collies. I admit a certain fascination/fondness with the Beauceron. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauceron) A breed I have only met in person once, the gravest pair of dogs I’ve ever encountered. However, aside from being rare and reputed to be challenging to train, I am not at all sure that other family members would be comfortable with them. Though, they would be useful for security, even if only visually, which is another consideration.
Weighty thoughts. Family members, chime in!