Book review: '50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants'

Book cover.
Garden Railways file image
Was Elmer Fudd, Looney Tunes’ little rifle-toting hunter of Bugs Bunny fame, justified in shooting at Bugs Bunny? Remember how the “waskily wabbit” tunneled under Elmer’s garden yanking down one juicy carrot after another? In cartoons, we cheer for the bunny, but what if he had been the size of, say, a 6' man? Or a buck with antlers? One weekend away from the garden would mean a monstrous mess upon return. Deer can travel in herds. Get the picture? And did you know that deer hooves stomping on LGB brass track will put a dent in the rails? I’ve been there before.

Designing a deer-resistant garden
Ruth Rogers Clausen authored 50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants to show us some carrot alternatives – yes, plants that deer don’t want! Then we find that nursery seedlings and year-old woody shrubs taste especially attractive to deer because of “extra” fertilizer that nurseries use to grow plants quickly. Your newly-purchased deer-resistant plants are now salty-yummy to deer. Help!

Ms. Clausen gives 25 pages of cultural treatments, such as page 26, hang a bar of soap on attractive shrubs. Rather than 8-10' high fences, page 33, build terraces, berms, and barriers into your garden. Irrigate early in the day to avoid tasty-wet leaves in the evening when deer hunt for dinner – that’s good for the plants, too. Don’t lure them in with “deer candy,” like azalea, coleus, yew, and 35 other known deer favorites. She admits no plant is entirely a deer deterrent, but why not choose from these 50, which have been rated “deer-resistant,” due to their fuzziness or aroma. The author gives USDA Hardiness Zones for all plants, helping with winter survival. – Nancy Norris, Horticultural Editor

50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants
By Ruth Rogers Clausen
Published by Timber Press
133 SW 2nd Ave. #450
Portland, OR 97204
Timberpress.com
■ 7"x 9"
■ Softcover
■ 224 pages
■ Price: $19.95

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