Sounds like a silly question … but they must. They recently had a tweet-up in my gardens. I’m not a tweeterer, so I didn’t find out until the nighttime event was over.
This was not a tweet-up for deer with plain ole’ everyday tastes. Nope … the event must have been only for high-brow uppity-up deer with discerning tastes. And … invitees had to have been warned to show up hungry.
I think it was billed as a taste test … to compare the flavor of their usual menu of Echinacea leaves (they tend to pass on the fully opened blossoms), azalea shrubs, leaves of climbing hydrangea (hydrangea anomala petiolaris).
(the arrows show where deer munched)
They’ve pruned the winterberry shrub (Ilex verticillata) to within a few leaves of life.
This tweet-up was designed to expand to more unusual munchies. Some, like the many mounds of geranium sanguineum, they had only nibbled in the spring when fresh greens are in short supply.
Now the geranium are nearly leafless.
They did the same (note the arrows) to the Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla) in a bed once dominated by the dew-drop catching foliage.
They relieved astilbe of the seedy remains of once-flowers.
In all my years here, deer have never touched astilbe. I hope they hated the taste!
They chewed the tops from my snaps, my go-to annual for planting in deer-reachable beds.
They cut-back the supposedly deer-resistant hypericum shrub picked up at a spring plant sale.
And left me many tell-tale hoof prints (the circled area shows the hoof-shaped imprint in the mulch), just to be sure I knew they had partied at my expense.
They even chomped off the top leaves of a newly-planted peony.
A RAKIN’ FRACKIN’ PEONY, FRAGNABBIT! (My best Yosemite Sam imitation.)
I try to work with these creatures. I plant deer resistant plants in the beds they can reach, and accept their selective pruning of other less deer resistant greenery. Until now, deer visiting my gardens have not touched astilbe or peony and, as I said above, only nibbled on Alchemilla and geranium sanguineum in the spring.
Because I plant supposedly deer resistant plants, I don’t regularly use deer repellent spray and I’m not spending the time or money on a commercial spray now.
The damage is done. It’s mid August.
(Sigh … deep breath)
The plants will recover.
I’m beyond screaming about damaged plants, ruminating over the amount of money I’ve spent on deer fodder, and researching the latest and greatest deer repellent or deterrent. Some of the beds cannot be attractively fenced and, without winning the lottery, perimeter fencing is not an option.
I still chase deer away when I see them and, if anyone knows how to detect those damn deer tweets, I’m listening.