If deer are starving or exist in large numbers, especially in the winter, they will eat any plant or at least take a big bite out of the plant. But come spring when the grass is green they will become picky. My front yard is filled with blooms and open to the deer and yet I have seen them walk on by. It is important to understand how a deer functions. They have really big noses and smell is one of their strongest senses. It is is part of their warning system. For that reason most deer repellents are based on scents that you spray. I’ve never used commercial repellents but use instead plants that are scented. Plants that are strongly scented make them nervous, and encourage them to walk on by. That being said, I noticed this spring that a deer had taken a big bite out of some garlic tops. Years ago I planted garlic near the roses to repel insects. The garlic has self sown and shows up all over the front yard. And, garlic is one of the first things to sprout green. So the deer must have been really hungry. I've not noticed any more munching. One of the first flowers that repels the deer in my garden is a dwaft purple iris. The locals call it a flag.
This garden is on my gravel alley. The deer regularly walk by this spot. Deer resistant plants in this garden: Yarrows, Black Eyed Susans, Echinacea, Echinops, Monarda
These plants are all perennials. In the front garden, I also have lambs ears, lavender, poppies, horehound, catmint also repels deer. I also grow species tulips, daffodils, mock orange, an ornamental orgegano, salvias, penstemons, sedums, veronicas, and a dictamus (lemon scented gas plant) and more.
I had 3 big pots with supports. Morning glories bloom in the late summer. At one time I had 20 rose bushes in the open front yard. Then the deer population exploded. I have moved almost all the roses. I moved some to my enclosed back yard. Others I gave away. I am making my front garden more xeric and deer resistant. I like gardening in my little back secret garden.
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