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Ferns are deer-resistant

Several years ago, I planted Sedum “Autumn Joy” in two large pots, one on either side of our entrance. They were lovely through three seasons and lived there happily for several years until the deer discovered them and munched them down to nubs.

I searched for several months for replacement plants and finally decided on soft shield ferns (Polystichum setiferum). I purchased them as native North American ferns, but they actually are native to Southern Europe, although one source lists the ferns as native to Alaska. If so, technically, the seller was correct. The lovely ferns are semi-evergreen to evergreen, but will need the old fronds cut back this month to make way for new growth. The feathery fronds grow outward from the center, giving the plants a “whirlwind” effect. The best part is that they have proved to be deer-resistant.

Ferns date back about 360 million years; an estimated 11,000 species of ferns exist today. Ferns predate seed-bearing plants and reproduce from spores,...

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