slightly off topic: deer repellants, and what's in bloom

Kathleen Sayce
Mon, 02 Jul 2012 15:11:53 PDT
This year I have time to experiment with deer repelling substances. These pretty goats routinely eat some of my lilies, all of my hybrid tulips, roses and blueberry plants. They also eat any number of bulbs that are supposed to be toxic to them, including Hyacinthoides, Eremurus, Ranunculus, etc., though not enough of the first to slow it down at all. 

In a dry period last week, I hauled out the blender and created a brew of egg, garlic and hot pepper sauce, sprayed it on the blueberries as a test of one of the more palatable plants. Within hours, two deer came into the yard, headed for the blueberry plants, took one nibble, and walked away while making faces (grimacing, open-mouthed, panting, stretching out their tongues, all very like what humans do when eating very hot food). This training will take awhile, as I estimate there are 20 deer in the neighborhood. As an initial test of concept, it does appear to work, and to stand up to damp wet weather. How often it must be reapplied I don't know. Until I can talk my spouse into a deer-resistant fence, this is going to be my major line of defense.

As for what is blooming: the first flowers on bulbs grown from wild-collected Lilium columbianum seeds bloomed in June. Dozens of stems of other species and varieties are in bud. Several stems are well above six feet tall. One lone L. martagon stem is over five feet tall. One Tulipa sylvestris seed pod is nearly ripe. I am looking forward to growing on this species from seed. Pacific Coast iris are at the very end of flowering, with dozens of pods ripening, which is quite a contrast to last year, when I had ten or twelve pods total. 



Kathleen Sayce
PNW Coast, WHZ 8, dryish cool summers & mild wet winters

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