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Not The Best House Guests

The lusher our garden becomes, the more wildlife we see. Birds, rabbits, deer, chipmunks, squirrels, even garter snakes are now common place in our yard. Isn’t that great you say? Well perhaps, but couldn’t they be better house guests? I mean if the deer love my red begonias so much they want a closer look, don’t they know the don’t touch rule of garden tours?

Deer Damaged Begonias

This is what used to be lovely red begonias just yesterday. I think deer have very poor manners.

So, for the deer and rabbits I’m going to go over some garden visit etiquette (original garden etiquette can be found here):

  1. “Remember you’re a guest. Be courteous. The host is probably nervous …”Deer Rules: Remember you are sometimes an unwelcome guest. Please refrain from adding to the owners anxiety by making her wander the gardens every morning wondering what else is missing.
  2. “If it’s an organized tour, be on time.”Deer Rules: Please come during the day. I’d be pleased to steer you towards someone else’s garden.
  3. “Park your car in the designated areas”Please graze in designated locations only. Preferably out back and away from my planters.
  4. “Stay on the paths. Do not walk into the garden beds”Deer Rules: Stay on the paths. No eating in the garden beds.
  5. “If you bring your children, keep an eye on them. Don’t let them run through beds, pick flowers, climb trees or rocks, throw dirt, or upset the dog.”Deer Rules: If you bring your children, keep an eye on them. Don’t let them run through the beds, eat my flowers, scrape the bark off my trees or upset the homeowner.
  6. “Don’t take seeds or cuttings without asking permission”Deer Rules: You have my permission to eat any weeds, overgrown shrubs and flowers that need deadheading. Anything else please leave for the human visitors.

Perhaps if I post a sign? Likely not. So instead my annual budget has increased by 20% this year as I scramble to replace annuals I’ve grown for years with new ones that are hopefully deer resistant. I’m also slowly replacing shrubs in important areas (to me) with deer proof alternatives. Perhaps then they will move on to someone else’s yard. After all, no-one likes a house guest who stays past their welcome.

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