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Deer 007 Wm[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=

 
 

Bright and early this morning, through the bedroom window, a disturbing sight.

Deer. En famille. Mama, Papa and Baby deer wandering up the drive as casually as you like. By the time we’d retrieved the camera Baby deer had plumped for Lonicera off the extensive breakfast menu. Worse was to come.

 
 

Deer 008 Wm[1]

 
 

“OY, that’s my Azalea. AND ‘The Lark Ascending…!!!”

I thumped my fist hard against the window. Mama raised her head briefly before taking a further mouthful of The Lark. Thorns and all. We fumbled for the key to open the window… “OYYYY!!!!” The female deer took off down the hillside, leaping the newly cleared edge of the lawn en route for the river. The other two fled in the opposite direction, presumably back up the drive.

 
 

Deer 009 Wm[1]

 
 

And then the guilt sets in. I’d separated the mother from her fawn. She paced anxiously for a few moments unsure what to do next. With the benefit of a leafless woodland I could watch her running aimlessly about. Eventually she jumped the river and started up the valley on the other side. 50 yards or so later she crossed back to our side and, much to my relief, the fawn ran down to meet her. Such a touching moment when their noses met. Phew.

But it does give us a problem. Even if it were affordable, fencing the entire garden wouldn’t be the way to go. Over 200 yards of the boundary is riverbank and deer fencing has to be high. It would feel like a prison. Protecting each and every plant isn’t a realistic way forward either. Anyone have any ideas?

 

Mike, naturally, has his own solution. “There’s always the V word*..”

I dealt him my best glowering look. “No. Besides, it’s probably illegal.”

“I doubt it. Just a contravention of the local bylaws. Bylaws put in place by Mrs rusty duck.” Oh why is my desire for a wildlife sanctuary so frequently being tested. “But there’s another problem anyway.”

“What.” Mrs rusty duck has now taken on a sulk.

“We don’t have a big enough freezer.”

 
 

You Want Bed AND Breakfast?

pin it?

 
 

*Venison. Deer meat.

 
 
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2017-02-15T19:46:16+00:00 February 19th, 2016|Tags: |

98 Comments

  1. New Moons For Old February 19, 2016 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    Oh, dear me, yes, nature has an unerring ability to send you on a guilt trip like that. But is of course very resilient, too. We have roe deer here, but not in the garden … so far! Sadly, even if all three of these were to be (ahem) “removed”, nature also abhors a vacuum! I really am not sure what to suggest.

    On a brighter note, I followed in your footsteps and attended a recording of Gardeners’ Question Time yesterday evening (at previously mentioned agricultural college). Very entertaining. It will be broadcast on 4th March.

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 11:43 am - Reply

      What I loved about seeing GQT being recorded was all the bits that don’t actually get broadcast. They are obviously very skilled at putting it all together with minimum time wasted, but it’s very much for the ‘live’ audience as well.

  2. Pauline February 19, 2016 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    You might need to get in touch with Paignton Zoo, I believe Lion dung works, spread it round your boundary, but does the smell disappear in wet weather?!
    Seriously though, it is a problem if you live in the countryside. We get deer in the field next door and until I saw deer slot in the snow one winter right by the front door, I would have said that they hadn’t been in the garden. Lots of prickly plants on your boundaries might be a start…

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 11:49 am - Reply

      Up until the last couple of days they haven’t been a problem, we’ve seen them around but always down by the river. Now, it appears, they’ve discovered the garden.

  3. Bumbleabdme February 19, 2016 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    Oh deer, oh deer, oh deer!!!!

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 11:49 am - Reply

      Quite 🙁

  4. FlowerAlley February 19, 2016 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    I feel your pain. We plant Society Garlic around our tastiest plants. Some plants have fence rings around them to protect the core of the plant. Others I just consider snacks for the wildlife. It’s kind of like a Gardening Triage.

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 11:52 am - Reply

      I was intending to put fence rings around the trees and shrubs I plant out in the wilder areas, but I’d have a garden full of them if I had to protect everything. It is going to be a combination of planting things they don’t like and putting up with some damage I fear.

  5. Jennifer February 19, 2016 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Oh no. Or, oh deer? 🙂 I don’t plant bulbs anymore because I only get to keep about 20% of them; squirrels make off with the rest!

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 11:55 am - Reply

      Between squirrels, deer and mice I’m wondering if I’ll have a garden at all this year 🙁

  6. Piddlewick February 19, 2016 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    Such a tricky one. Lovely creatures, but… We thought at first it was deer getting over the fence, but eventually discovered it was a little boar getting under the fence. What a mess he makes! Luckily he doesn’t get in often.

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 11:57 am - Reply

      Yes, I can imagine boar would be worse. This is the price we pay for rural living.

  7. Backlane Notebook February 19, 2016 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    Oh gawd yes we want to live as harmoniously close to nature as possible but there are rules to be followed such as No Entry. It’s the same on the allotment with the darling badger and sometimes my thoughts are generous and other times I’d follow M’s instinct and it has to be said venison is very delicious.

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 11:58 am - Reply

      Badgers are so destructive too. I’m beginning to count my blessings..

  8. pbmgarden February 19, 2016 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    So sorry. Wish I could offer some solutions, but short of the very the deer fence you mentioned, not sure there is one.

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      I’d have to fence three acres of open woodland and riverbank. It would look awful. I’ve thought of maybe just protecting the garden immediately around the house, but presumably it would still need the 8′ fence or they’d just jump straight over.

  9. Wendy February 19, 2016 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    I think your deer family are lovely, Jessica. I know they’re destructive in the garden but I’m afraid I’d forgive them. I just fence off everything here now (rabbits are my greatest problem).

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:07 pm - Reply

      At the moment I’m just fervently hoping they’ll go away. Even though they were back again this morning. I won’t be doing anything to harm them, but really not sure how I can keep them from destroying the garden.

  10. CJ February 19, 2016 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    Maybe you need dogs..? Hope in the meantime they all find somewhere else to eat. Wishing you both a good weekend. CJ xx

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      I’d need fencing if I had dogs too… to keep them in. There are sheep and lambs all round us. And I’d dread to think of the mess they’d get into given how boggy the ground is.

  11. Sue C. February 19, 2016 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    The joys of a rural garden! I have to say my heart would sink if I woke up and saw deer – and I thought I had a problem with rabbits! There are deer in the area though – I’m just hoping they stay in the fields across the lane and don’t venture closer. The RHS website has a page of deer-resistant plants – no guarantees though.

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:13 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the tip re deer resistant plants. I’ll look that up. Think I’ll need some of those! The sad thing is the deer are such magnificent animals to look at, I’d love to have them around.

  12. Sarah February 19, 2016 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    I’m not sure the dogs would work! When I lived in the country with my parents the deer were frequent visitors despite us having a dog. I just hope that they find a better B and B! Sarah x

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      That’s what I’m hoping too! Unfortunately with all the woodland in the valley they’ve got their ideal habitat.

  13. ginaferrari February 19, 2016 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    What a dilemma! Can’t think of any solutions as my own garden is not worth protecting and we only get the occasional muntjac.

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:22 pm - Reply

      Up until a couple of days ago the deer stayed in the weedy bit of the garden.. they were my best friends!

  14. Fran February 19, 2016 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    I have found a product that works very well for me. I live in a heavily wooded area of central Texas and it is not unusual to see 5-15 deer wandering through any time of the day or night. I use a product called Liquid Fence Deer and Rabbit Repellent. The company website is http://www.liquidfence.com. We buy the concentrate and keep a gallon mixed at all times. Before I started using this product the deer were eating my roses, thorns included. They were also eating newly planted trees to the ground. The drawback is this liquid smells horrible when it is wet when sprayed and for several hours after it dries. The day after spraying there is no odor. I soak each plant thoroughly. It must be reapplied after a good rain. The only time the deer come near my plants is when I go too long between spraying, two weeks or so, or don’t spray after a rain. My neighbors also use Liquid Fence on their plants with great results. I hope this helps.

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      Hi Fran, thanks and welcome.
      I will look this up, it sounds good. The rain will be the limiting factor for me. We’re having a very wet winter, it has rained virtually every day since October! But it could well do the trick if we have a drier summer. I suspect to some extent I only have myself to blame. We’ve recently opened up the garden to the surrounding woodland, it’s made it much easier for the deer to wander in. But we now have better views rather than the wall of greenery that surrounded us before.. it’s a trade off!

  15. Linda aka Crafty Gardener February 19, 2016 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    And I worry if the starlings get into the bird feeders …. not sure what a solution would be for you, for me it is banging the window or opening and shutting the door loudly.

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:29 pm - Reply

      I am hoping if we continue to frighten them off (we had to this morning as well..) they will eventually get the message.

  16. Marianne February 19, 2016 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    I never managed to keep them out myself but mint used to do the trick for our mice coming in off the fields in autumn, essential oil as well as the plants. Apparently growing these herbs round the perimeters might help….mint, lavender, rosemary, Russian sage, yarrow and bee balm, all strong smelling herbs will put deer off, if not out of the garden. oh and garlic of course as someone already mentioned, don’t know about prickly plants either as they used to devour my very prickly roses. I’m afraid that apart maybe from double fencing nothing works 100%.
    On the positive side though, I haven’t come across the mention of wild boar in your blogs yet….????

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:36 pm - Reply

      No wild boar.. yet! Although I did read somewhere a plan to reintroduce them more widely. The group living in the Forest of Dean have been very successful apparently.
      I have had mint growing in the greenhouse all winter and not one mouse, which is the first time since we’ve been here. I think I will try strategic plantings of garlic and herbs, in the places the deer tend to enter the formal part of the garden, and see what happens. If they would only stick to the woodland I’d be happy to see them stay.

  17. sweetbriardreams February 19, 2016 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    Oh dear! They are just so lovely and majestic, but so incredibly hungry! I would be a pushover and would provide them with all the food they needed which isn’t really what you want to hear 🙂 xx

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:40 pm - Reply

      It is a real dilemma. If I could find a way we can all live happily together I will be very happy. A pipe dream I think. If I succeed they’ll be giving me a job at the UN.

  18. germac4 February 19, 2016 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    A tricky problem but a good story.. I enjoyed it. Heavens knows how you cope with wildlife, like you I’m a softie, but it is heartbreaking watching your garden going for breakfast!

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:41 pm - Reply

      It is indeed heartbreaking. Especially as so many of the plants here are only just getting established. And as we know, they aren’t cheap.

  19. Sam February 19, 2016 at 9:54 pm - Reply

    That’s a tricky one. Perhaps you could find out what deer absolutely love to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and plant it away from your prized plants? Create a little smorgasbord especially for them? Best of luck Jessica.

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:43 pm - Reply

      That’s a thought. Deer resistant plants in the garden and the deer equivalent of sticky toffee pudding in the wood.

  20. Anna February 19, 2016 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    Oh Jessica compared to deer I’m now thinking that marauding squirrels are really pussy cats. I don’t know what it is but I have never wanted to eat venison. It must all be in the face. Hope for you that this was just a considerate one off visit to provide you with a close up photographic opportunity.

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:46 pm - Reply

      I’ve only eaten venison once. It arrived very bloody and just the experience of cooking it put me off having it ever again. But then I would be a vegetarian given half a chance (i.e. not being married to a committed carnivore).

  21. elaine February 19, 2016 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    Don’t these critters know when they’re not wanted – they are obviously taking advantage of your good nature – I should have a quiet word if I were you. Can you speak deer?

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:48 pm - Reply

      I think it’s about time I learnt. In the meantime I’m experimenting with a variety of phrases all ending in ‘off’.

  22. Beth @ PlantPostings February 19, 2016 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    Oh, don’t get me started about deer and rabbits! They seem to like the same plants and both eat plants down to the ground! Nothing has worked long-term for me here except fencing and planting rabbit-repellent plants. I’ve tried so many things over the years, and those are the only things that really and truly work. But like you say–you can’t put a fence around everything! Good luck! (Many people around here like venison sausage, but I can’t say I’m a fan.)

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks Beth. A combination of deer resistant planting, individual plant protection and accepting some losses will have to be the compromise I think.

  23. Rick Nelson February 19, 2016 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    Never mind B&B all I can see is dinner on the hoof 🙂

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:51 pm - Reply

      You and Mike would get on well..

  24. kristinrusso February 20, 2016 at 3:52 am - Reply

    I feel your pain and wish I could help, but I’ve got nothing. I planted a bunch of bulbs in the woodland garden that I was looking forward to seeing bloom in the spring. The critters that dug them up report that they were delicious.

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:52 pm - Reply

      My lovely rose ‘Lark Ascending’ seemed to be going down well too. Oh dear, these things are sent to try us. And so they do.

  25. Kris P February 20, 2016 at 3:58 am - Reply

    Deer are even worse than raccoons, or so I understand. My brother-in-law, who lives in the Pacific Northwest, shots deer and puts venison in his freezer every year but I can’t even stomach the idea. Bambi made that impossible. I hope you can find an alternative solution or, at least, a deterrent.

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:55 pm - Reply

      There will be no deer in the freezer. I agree, they are such beautiful animals. Baby deer looks just like Bambi, with the addition of cute little baby horns.

  26. Vera February 20, 2016 at 8:50 am - Reply

    I’m sorry, Jessica, but I did smile when you mentioned the world ‘sulk’. Bless you, but it must be so hard to see your hard work disappear down the throats of the local wild life. Our fields are all now fenced, but they are on the flat so were expensive but easy to do. We did have a steep sloping garden in the UK, and it used to irritate me no end when the local deer used to push their way through our neighbour’s ramshackle fence then jump the adjoining fence to get into our garden, which I was trying to nourish the same as you do your garden. My computer room used to be on the third floor of the house, which put me at the same height as the top of the garden, which meant I could see the deer almost eye to eye as they ate my plants. I am sorry to say that I failed miserably in finding any enjoyment in the sight of them doing this!

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 12:59 pm - Reply

      Crikey. You’re old slope sounds as though it was as steep as mine. I had hoped the slope would put the deer off, but no chance. Not now I’ve seen how nimbly they race up and down it.

  27. homeslip February 20, 2016 at 9:08 am - Reply

    Oh dear. You can paint special plants with a substance that deters deer but I don’t think it lasts and would wash away in the rain. Probably expensive too. I’ve noticed that deer seem to be evolving to lose their fear of people. Nowadays deer will stand and stare whereas 20 years ago they would have fled immediately. I saw a fascinating encounter with a young fawn and pheasant not long ago, they appeared to be playing with each other. It is dispiriting Jessica, but you mustn’t lose heart. Opening my bedroom curtains at first light and seeing deer or fox cubs playing in the field here is so special. Not quite as keen on the squirrels who eat my bulbs or the badger who digs up the front grass…

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 1:02 pm - Reply

      There are certainly more deer around these days. They are something of a wildlife success story. And I suppose that brings them into much closer contact with people. I thought just banging on the window would send them running away, but it didn’t.

  28. derrickjknight February 20, 2016 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Jackie would opt for V. I’m more squeamish

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 1:04 pm - Reply

      Me too. And I abhor shooting wildlife of any description.

  29. Denise February 20, 2016 at 10:05 am - Reply

    I’ve never eaten venison but often see it at farmer’s markets. It’s the fear of cooking it correctly which deters me from buying it – and doing it justice. Now I have a digital probe however I may experiment.

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 1:06 pm - Reply

      No, I couldn’t do it Denise. The only way I can cook meat at all is if it comes completely sanitised and shrink wrapped. Looking as little like the animal as possible.

  30. ann hyde February 20, 2016 at 10:46 am - Reply

    How wonderful to see these, but I know your problem with your planting. oh boy!!! I can only wonder if there is anything deer hate eating (no, nothing probably – they will munch at most things)…Perhaps your only way is when plants get big, perhaps they won’t taste so good BUT getting them big in the first place! I’m guessing covering them with a Strong Wire that can’t be dislodged, like in the ground a bit to hold them. That’s probably a lot of covers to make, but your most precious plants would stand a chance…..just a thought.

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 1:09 pm - Reply

      That’s the way I was thinking, especially with trees and shrubs on the fringes of the garden. It’s the perennials that I worry about, which will just get eaten to the ground. I can’t protect everything.

  31. justjilluk February 20, 2016 at 11:05 am - Reply

    We have deer around. One of our neighbours has a deer scarer. Sounds like shooting . No idea whether it works. Worth looking into?

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 1:11 pm - Reply

      Definitely worth looking into, thanks Jill. Although it will probably scare me to death as well.

  32. Spade & Dagger February 20, 2016 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    I feel your pain – plants start to feel like family members because of the care & attention we give them. Maybe it’s possible to securely deer fence a particular area in which all the prized plants are grown and the rest of the garden cultivated in an attractively naturalistic style as ‘hedging’ or ground cover for mass planting are bulk sold & much cheaper (& hopefully less tasty to deer) than individual specimen plants.

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 1:20 pm - Reply

      I need to do more research on deer fencing I think. Having opened up the garden down to the river (part of the problem I expect), I’m reluctant to put up anything that would now spoil how it looks. But maybe we can use the steep slope to our advantage somehow and combine it with fencing in a way that would be aesthetically more pleasing. I’m thinking of a ha-ha kind of arrangement that deer would unable to cross.

      • Spade & Dagger February 22, 2016 at 3:02 pm - Reply

        A Ha-Ha sounds an excellent idea (after all they were created to keep deer in the parkland & out of the formal gardens), and I’m sure a man with a digger (plus perhaps a bit of professional structural advice) would be cheaper than large scale deer fencing (and if it fills with water, you’ll own a rare cottage with a moat !!).

        • Jessica February 22, 2016 at 7:46 pm - Reply

          Oooh, I’d love a moat! There’s already a very steep slope off the edge of the lawn. The deer can scale it, but I’m thinking if I were to put a fence up… about half way down so the top of it was below the sight line from the house, the deer would have a job jumping it because they’d have to leap up the hill as well as over the fence. It’s a very last resort though because the fence would need to be hugely long. First I want to see if I can deter them into finding an alternative route!

  33. Sue Garrett February 20, 2016 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    Sorry no advice as it isn’t a problem that I have come across – I have heard of products that repel deer by spraying plants but they would probably work out impractical in a garden your size and costly

    • Jessica February 20, 2016 at 6:13 pm - Reply

      It’s great that the garden is so open to wildlife. You can’t pick and choose your visitors though can you.

  34. Charles February 20, 2016 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    Yum yum, it tastes great and eats no more!

    • Jessica February 21, 2016 at 10:14 am - Reply

      I wish.
      Ahhh, the joys of rural living. You have all this to look forward to!

  35. Janet/Plantaliscious February 21, 2016 at 8:24 am - Reply

    So much for the rural idyll huh. Hope a combo of stinky plants and lion dung mean you can protect your favourite plants. Though if be tempted by a larger freezer…

    • Jessica February 21, 2016 at 10:21 am - Reply

      Unfortunately the place where they come in is exactly where I’d planned to plant my latest witch hazel. Reading up on the subject I find that human urine is also supposed to be a good deterrent. I think I’ll just find a supplier willing to do me a deal on a bulk order of rosemary.

  36. Henriet from Holland February 21, 2016 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    What if you planted a large number of something cheap that deer really love – across the river? Like the man who planted lettuce for the rabbits outside the fence of his vegetable garden?

    • Jessica February 21, 2016 at 10:28 pm - Reply

      I like your thinking! As long as they don’t follow the example of our pheasant. He used to leap up on the bird table and take all the seed, so we left him a little pile all of his own under the bird table. He ate both. And today I noticed we now have three pheasants..

  37. bittster February 21, 2016 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    You could always buy a nice sized icebox.

    • Jessica February 21, 2016 at 10:34 pm - Reply

      You men are all the same ????

  38. pagedogs February 21, 2016 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Please keep us updated. I fear we will be facing the same problem. Our game camera shows that we have at least three regulars in our woods (and one looks pregnant). I discovered yesterday that deer had been grazing on my hydrangea, right near the house, so I’m concerned that they will become increasingly bold this summer. I have to say the V word has crossed my mind.

    • Jessica February 21, 2016 at 10:38 pm - Reply

      I was having a conversation with a lady on Facebook this afternoon who mentioned a friend who had her Christmas wreath nobbled, straight from the door of her house! Gone are the days deer avoided buildings and the like.

  39. ontheedgegardening February 21, 2016 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    We had ongoing problems with deer at Cliffe. I really despaired at times, they have very big appetites and destroyed even more by trying to reach their delicacy of choice (which changed regularly). We tried all the usual suspects, soap, hair, chilli powder, sticks with rags attached dunked in stinking Jeyes Fluid, bells, strings with foil attached – limited success and mostly not very practical. We also tried Grazers which works for some but to treat a large garden is almost impossible. You may want to try it on your prize specimens. A pack of wolves may also help. Good luck, they may well decide to move on somewhere else. Fingers crossed for you.

    • Jessica February 21, 2016 at 10:45 pm - Reply

      I was thinking about Grazers. There’s a pinch point where they come in via a path, close to where we took the photos, it could work there. Or the chilli spray I bought for those wretched squirrels. It sounds as though you went through the entire list of known deterrents. Only human urine is missing..

      • ontheedgegardening February 22, 2016 at 4:06 pm - Reply

        We tried that too! All male visitors were encouraged to use parts of the garden where we thought they were coming in 🙂 I also used to borrow a dog to patrol and wee around the garden, that may have helped a little x

        • Jessica February 22, 2016 at 7:51 pm - Reply

          I would send Mike out in the dead of night, but the trouble is it’s me who does all the weeding (no pun).

  40. Donna@Gardens Eye View February 21, 2016 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    My fence does thwart them a bit…but you can’t keep them out of everything. I have to net my bushes that are vulnerable….and spray a repellent for the perennials they like. Still not perfect. And I plant more things they don’t eat which isn’t much.

    • Jessica February 21, 2016 at 10:50 pm - Reply

      It’s going to be quite a problem. I only hope they decide to move on elsewhere, I shall do my best to persuade them!

  41. welshhillsagain February 21, 2016 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    Oh no. I feel quite fortunate with my badgers and the rampaging hordes of moles. At least they are not so much eating the plants as digging holes or throwing up earthworks. It’s not pretty but it’s not expensive! I think I would have to have a go at keeping them out with some sort of barrier but I appreciate that’s a huge task.

    • Jessica February 21, 2016 at 10:57 pm - Reply

      The fact that the garden is open to the wood (even more now!) doesn’t help my cause. It’s such a shame, I used to love watching them when they kept to the lower levels, away from the house. Hopefully I can find a way to keep them down there again.

  42. woolythymess February 21, 2016 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    I did not read all the suggestions, so this may have already been addressed. (Fortunately, I haven’t had to deal with this—our little yard is fenced, but I have friends who battle the deers all the time.) Some questionable possibilities….human hair (your hairdresser might be able to spare some cuttings to try), and if we lived closer, I have two little grandsons who would love to help out and spray a little urine around.

    • Jessica February 21, 2016 at 11:01 pm - Reply

      The hair thing is a funny one isn’t it. The urine I can understand, but I wouldn’t have guessed hair would have such a powerful effect. Worth trying though.. crikey, anything’s worth trying!

  43. Charlie@Seattle Trekker February 23, 2016 at 4:43 am - Reply

    The balance between nature and our prized ornamentals and vegetables is a tough one; if you find an answer to the question you asked I’d love to hear it.

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 3:36 pm - Reply

      As ever it was and probably always will be. It would be lovely to have the best of both worlds.

  44. sustainablemum February 23, 2016 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    Oh my………and I thought rabbits were bad enough but at least they are easy to keep at bay!

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      Well deer don’t burrow at least. But they leap so high they can get over anything but a very high fence.

  45. pollymacleod February 26, 2016 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    I haven’t read all the comments so this may have been suggested already. Whilst out walking with my dogs I hear an occasional bang that sounds like a shotgun, I think it’s bird scarers in the farmer’s fields. Is that something you could try?

    • Jessica February 26, 2016 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      It could be. It would make quite an impressive noise too, in the confines of the woodland. As long as it didn’t scare the nesting birds. If the deer are still a problem in the autumn it would be well worth a try. Thanks Polly.

  46. willisjw February 29, 2016 at 2:24 am - Reply

    We put in a deer fence here in Maryland three years ago. We fenced in an acre to protect the blueberries and the camellias. It has worked extremely well. But we are now looking at increasing the size to 3 acres. This is primarily because we want to move the sense of being bounded out to a distance where it is not quite so visible to us. When we moved here 40 years ago you could freely garden anywhere without a hint of deer. The first orchard was so easy to put in. Not so anymore. Anything the deer can reach they will eat. Even the daffodils which I have planted by the hundreds in the woods and pasture will sometimes get bitten off just for the hell of it.

    • Jessica February 29, 2016 at 11:26 am - Reply

      Deer fencing is definitely the best solution overall. I’m reluctant for similar reasons to yours to do with visibility. The river forms the boundary along one long side of the garden and at certain points comes quite close to the house. A deer fence would look terrible down there, you can see a small portion of the area in the last shot of this post. Without a fence there it wouldn’t be worth the expense of putting one anywhere as the deer would get round it by just leaping the river from the other side!

  47. Chloe Edwards March 21, 2017 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Hi Jessica, I’ve got a marauding muntjac which has just flattened my strawberries for the second time in less than 2 weeks. A fellow gardener has suggested spraying Jeyes. Looking for an indication on how much to dilute it brought me to your entertaining blog. Have you found a good deterrent yet? I’d love to know.

    • Jessica March 21, 2017 at 2:01 pm - Reply

      Hi Chloe and welcome.
      I wish I did have a deterrent. It feels like a privilege to have wild animals roaming freely around your garden but there are definite downsides! After exhaustive research I came to the conclusion that fencing is the only reliable way to keep them at bay but it’s impractical here. There are plants which seem to be more resistant and some which are even said to repel, tulbaghia being the latest I’ve come across although it’s not reliably hardy. The other thing is to repeatedly frighten them off. Apparently deer are creatures of habit, they will follow familiar routes around their territory. But if they perceive a threat somewhere they will create a new route to avoid it.

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