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Rabbits, Deer And How To Stop Them Playing Havoc In The Garden

By Percy Trebouchet.

In the past, in my various gardening roles, I have been lucky enough not to experience too many problems with bunnies and bambies. But for those not familiar with these pests, deer and rabbits between them will eat virtually every garden plant. From the more obvious and juicy bedding plants and salad crops, to young shrubs and trees. So if you have just moved in to an area, or a new house and you want to have a garden what do you do?
One method, if deer are a major problem in your area, is that the entire garden needs to be fenced off with deer wire fencing 8 feet (3.75 meters). If it is rabbits, then you need rabbit wire about 3 feet high buried in to the soil at least 18 inches deep. The reason for all this ugly fencing is that deer can jump very high (even those cute little Munck Jack deer) and rabbits are prodigious diggers.

There are a variety of things that you could try to repel deer, from human hair, to loud banging noises, to suspended shiny CD discs. In my experience, however, none or these work, certainly not on any long term basis. What is more, they look even more unpleasant than the fencing.
Obviously not everyone wants their garden to look so fortified, especially if it is only a very small plot. So what do you do? Then solution, for deer at least, is to limit the plants you grow to those that are deer proof. These are plants that are known to be unattractive to deer, either because they taste, or smell unpleasant to them, or are spiky. You will also find it valuable to talk to gardeners in your area, or join your local garden club or society and ask them for advice. Below is an extensive selection of Annuals, Perennials, Shrubs, Trees and Vines / Ground Cover plants which are known to be deer proof. Let me know about your deer and rabbit experiences, send me an EMail percy@gardenadvice.co.uk.
Annuals
* Calendula officinalis (Pot Marigold)
* Campanula medium (Canterbury Bells)
* Impatients wallerana (Busy Lizzie)
* Lupinus (Lupin)
* Moluccella laevis (Bells Of Ireland)
* Myosotis sylvatica (Forget Me Not)
* Papaver nudicaule (Iceland Poppy)
* Papaver rhoeas (Flanders or Shirley Poppy)
* Ricinus communis (Castor Oil or Bean Plant)
* Scabiosa (Pincushion Flower)
* Vinca Rosea (Madagascar Periwinkle)
* Zinnia
Perennials / Bulbs
* Aconitium (Monkshood)
* Agapanthus (Nile Lily)
* Agave
* Aloe
* Amaryllis belladonna (Hippeastrum)
* Anemone hybrida
* Artichoke
* Arum (Calla Lily)
* Bamboo
* Begonia (Tuberous)
* Cactus
* Chives
* Chrysanthem maximum (Shasta Daisy)
* Cortaderia selloana (Pampas Grass)
* Crinum
* Crocosmia (Monbretia)
* Cyclamen
* Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding Heart)
* Digitalis (Foxglove)
* Eschscholzia californica (Californian Poppy)
* Ferns
* Freesia
* Gaillardia grandifloria
* Helleborus (Hellebore)
* Hosta
* Iris
* Kniphofia uvaria (Red Hot Poker)
* Lamium maculatum (Dead Nettle)
* Lavandula (Lavender)
* Lupinus (Lupin)
* Jasminum (Jasmine) *
* Mirabilis jalapa (Four O'clock Plant)
* Narcissus (Daffodil)
* Nepeta (Catnip)
* Papaver orientale (Oriental Poppy)
* Penstemon
* Phormium (New Zealand Flax)
* Romneya coulteri (California Tree Poppy)
* Rudbeckia hirta (Black Eyed Susan)
* Sisyrinchum
* Trillium
Shrubs
* Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree)
* Berberis
* Buddleia davidii (Butterfly Bush)
* Buxus (Box)
* Callistemon (Bottle Brush) *
* Ceanothus "Blue Jeans"
* Ceanothus gloriosus
* Chamaerops humilis (Mediterranean Fan Palm)
* Choisya ternata (Mexican Orange)
* Cistus (Rockrose)
* Corylus cornuta californica (Western Hazelnut)
* Cotinus coggygia (Smoke Bush)
* Cotoneaster buxifolius
* Cytisus scoparius (Scotch Broom)
* Daphne
* Elaeagnus pungens (Silverberry)
* Erica (Heath / Heather)
* Euonymus japonica (Evergreen Euonymus)
* Gaultheria shallon (Salal)
* Heteromeles arbutifolia (California Holly)
* Hypericum (Saint John's Wort)
* Ilex (Holly)
* Juniperus (Juniper)
* Kerria japonica
* Lantana
* Mahonia
* Myrtus communis (Myrtle) *
* Nandina domestica (Sacred Bamboo)
* Nerium oleander (Oleander)
* Paeonia (Tree Peonies)
* Plumbago auriculata *
* Potentilla (deciduous types)
* Punica grantatum "Nana" (Dwarf Pomegranate)
* Rhododendron (not Azaleas)
* Rhus ovata (Sumac)
* Ribes (Flowering Currant)
* Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)
* Salvia (Sage)
* Santolina
* Solanum (Potato Vine)
* Taxus (Yew)
* Teucrium fruiticans (Bush Germander)
Trees
* Abies (Fir)
* Acacia *
* Acer circinatum (Vine Maple)
* Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple)
* Albizia julibrissin (Silk Tree)
* Araucaria araucana (Monkey Puzzle Tree)
* Arbutus menziesii
* Callistemon (Bottlebrush) *
* Cordyline Australis
* Eucalyptus *
* Fraxinus (Ash)
* Ilex (Holly)
* Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweet Gum)
* Lithocarpus densiflorus (Tan Bark Oak)
* Melia azedarach (Chinaberry, Texas Umbrella Tree)
* Palms **
* Picea (Spruce)
* Podocarpus macrophyllus (Yew Pine)
* Umbellularia californica (California Laurel, Oregon Myrtle)
Vines / Ground Covers
* Arctostaphylos uva-uva (Bearberry)
* Clematis
* Fatshedera lizei (Giant Ivy)
* Fragaria chiloensis (Wild Strawberry)
* Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina Jessamine) *
* Hedera helix (English Ivy)
* Hypericum calycinum (Creeping St. Johnswort)
* Jasminum (Jasmine) *
* Laurentia fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)
* Osteospermum fruitcosum (Trailing African Daisy)
* Solanum jasminoides (Potato Vine) *
* Trachelospermum jasminiodes (Star Jasmine) *
* Vinca major (Periwinkle)
* These should all be hardy in most of the UK but check with your nurseryman if you have any doubts as they can be a little tender.
** Check the article by Rosa Mundi for the Hardy Palm varieties.

 

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