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A deer-resistant perennial border

Last May, Jim and I returned from two exciting weeks of touring in Ireland to discover that our local gang of six or seven deer had stripped the buds from several azaleas and hydrangeas that are located away from the house. The azaleas were past their peak anyway, and some hydrangea buds remained, but the worst damage had been wreaked on a daylily border planted against the picket fence in front of the house.

Emboldened by our absence, the deer had blatantly de-budded every daylily, leaving only bare stalks to serve as decoration. We immediately sprinkled deer repellent granules around all the damaged plants, but the effort was akin to the proverbial closing of the barn door after the horse gets out. This spring, I started spreading deer repellent early in the season, and discovered only two azaleas that showed evidence of deer-inflicted damage.

Depredation of azaleas and hydrangeas by deer is a common complaint in our region, especially since many of us on the Middle Peninsula ...

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