When our four-legged friends come uninvited to dinner…

Every year when spring creeps in, we sit anxiously in anticipation of the victorious stalks and then blossoms that pay us off for our hard work the seasons before.

Unfortunately though, we’re not the only ones.

Somewhere out there, picking their ways through the dense brush and disorderly tangle of the untouched wilderness that is the wooded “wild space” of America, are lots and lots of hungry deer, metaphorically drooling over the thought of the magnificent feast preparing itself in your precious garden.

Although I’m sure there are many people out there with dramatically different feelings than mine, I must confess, nay, DECLARE! that I love deer. They are beautiful, graceful creatures who, if you get to know them, really are very sweet and extremely interesting. Last summer, I had the opportunity to work with fawns at the Wild Baby Rescue Center (http://wildbabyrescue.org/), and even got to meet a few brave adults (individuals who, as infants, had been rescued and raised at the center in past years, and still enjoy taking advantage of a trough full of food).

That said, as much as I appreciate their need to eat–I really, really don’t want them beheading my plants. I’m fine with them hanging out in the backyard, grazing and picking at what they’d like, but I’d really, really like it if they’d stay out of my flowers. I woke up this morning to find all of my miniature roses AND my beloved woodstock hyacinths reduced to sad, partial stumps of what they had been just yesterday. I’m sure many of my fellow gardeners have mourned similar tragedies.

Luckily, there’s a solution!!! :)

Last year, after trolling around on what felt like hundreds of gardening forums, I came across one solution that I actually felt okay with trying. (There were MANY solution proposals posted on those boards, but many of these, like motion-activated sprayers and alarms, deer poison, and having the male members of the family pee outside in the garden every night–no, I’m not kidding, that WAS posted actually (MORE THAN ONCE), were entirely too ridiculous for me to even consider.) Apparently, spraying Irish Spring soap–the original stuff, not the fancy nonsense–on your plants actually DOES keep the deer from chomping away at them! Plus, it has absolutely no effect on your plants.

Gotta love it–it saved my garden.

I tried this last year in the height of deer season, and OH GLORY OF GLORIES, it worked! My roses and lilies went untouched, from then, onwards. So I share this tip with you, in hopes of easing the tensions between you and our antlered friends. Simply take a bar of original Irish Spring soap (ridiculously cheap to buy, considering how far each bar will go), dissolve a bit of it in hot water, fill a spray bottle, and spray all the plants you want to keep deer-safe. I respray after more formidable rainfalls, but I don’t know if it’s necessary–I just do in case.

I’d give better specifics on concentrations, but I have none–honestly, I just put like a quarter to a third of a bar of soap in the bottle, fill it with hot water, and let as much of the soap dissolve as it will. Whatever doesn’t dissolve I just leave sitting at the bottom of the bottle for the next time I need to refill.

DISCLAIMER: I have had absolutely no problems with this on ANY of my plants, and it has worked extremely well so far at keeping the deer off, but I am in no way promising it’ll work for you. Who knows? Maybe there are more delicate plants out there that won’t like the soap, or maybe your own local deer might have a strange fondness for the taste or smell of soap, but it works for me! So I figured it was worth sharing. :)


Anyway, speaking of gardens–the irises are coming up. Oh, I am so excited to say it!: The irises are coming up.

And by the looks of it, they’ve been getting busy underground, since THERE ARE MORE OF THEM THIS YEAR!!!! ;D
Yessss more flamboyant irises. AWESOME. I cannot express my anticipation for these suckers to bloom.

I have some crazy irises in that garden, from the Baboon Bottom to the Fiery Temper to the Medici Prince to the Supreme Sultan, with many in between.

My toad lilies and the rest of my hyacinths are just starting to peak out too–what a garden we’ll have this year!!

And with that, I am off to have some lunch and get ready for a long shift at work.

And then it’s off to see some friends, for once!!! It’s Kate’s birthday today, and we must celebrate. :) Happy birthday, lady!!


One response to “When our four-legged friends come uninvited to dinner…

  1. I work with a tree nursery that also raises deer in addition to having them wild on 300 acres. I love deer and how they keep the deer from the nursery trees is by planting corn on the perimeter of the fields. Not something a homeowner can do, but honestly, deer grow accustomed to much of the deterrents. My other blog has many photos of the deer on this farm. They are beautiful creatures.

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