Deer-proof plants – yeah, sure…

When we first moved to Montana we didn’t realize how hard it would be to live with the deer, in terms of gardening, that is. After a few years of gardening in denial, I finally realized that I was going to have to fence whatever I didn’t want the deer to eat. I used to buy plants that have that nifty little symbol of the deer in the red circle with the line across it, meaning the deer wouldn’t eat that plant. Yeah, right.

Bleeding Heart. They grow well with ferns as both like shade and moisture. And they grow really fast!

The only things my particular deer population won’t eat (so far as I’ve discovered) are Bleeding Hearts, ferns, daffodils and lavender. And sweet woodruff, which is a groundcover that has pretty white blooms. And lambium, which is also groundcoverish and has pretty pink blooms. So okay. There are a few things I can get away with outside my fenced area, and in 14 years this is all that I found that is safe. Luckily, all the greenery looks good against the cedar-stained siding of my house. I could also have white daisies but they are considered a weed here and they take over everything so I now pull those without ceremony.

We’re on a deer super-highway here, meaning that their daily migration pattern goes smack dab through our property. It’s most evident in the winter when you can see the trail they use. My big garden complex sits right in the path of their trail, of course, but I’ve got it properly fenced and white-flagged, and they leave it alone. Someone once suggested planting orach for the deer, which is similar to spinach, but I didn’t think it would be a great idea to give them an excuse to hang around more. I’ve had deer walk up on my front porch and eat my potted flowers! I mean, I like the deer and all, but really…



Spring has sprung! (Really)

Spring in Montana is always an interesting time. For instance, the other day we had sunshine, wind, rain and snow. All at once. It makes it a challenge to garden here. I’ve already put out some cold-weather plants: lettuce, radishes, peas and onions. Some I’ve started inside and planted, and some are seeds that are just now starting to come up. It’s a good thing they make frost blankets. :-)

There’s nothing quite like spring in Montana. The air warms up, the earth thaws and on sunny days a sweet vanilla scent wafts around from the warm pine trees. It’s not uncommon to see me or my husband sniffing a pine tree that’s been warmed by the sun. The wind brings a scent so fresh and clean that it makes your brain sigh with happiness.

The tulips are up and already fading. The rest of my flower garden is starting to come to life. The boy turkeys are chasing the girl turkeys around the pasture with their tailfeathers on display. The stellars jays are yelling at me from the tree tops. But the number one sign of spring for me:  the hummingbirds are back!