Tag Archives: Deer resistant

Misconseptions about Wildlife Corridors

hemlock bed 11



Talking with a colleague in the Landscaping and Gardening business, I was shocked to hear that she though the the term “Wildlife Corridors” meant that it was required to be planted with only native plants.  But the term refers to creating a highway of vegetation connecting garden beds or enlarging existing ones to assist small mammals, reptiles and insects to move safely though the land for the purpose of finding food, shelter and reproduce. In a sense expanding their habitats.

In the photo above, I have an example of an existing bed in my on garden. The Canadian Hemlocks planted twenty years ago and heavily shaded by many oak trees next door, have become very thin in the bottom and no longer provide the privacy screen they were originally planted to achieve.  I see this as a perfect opportunity to enlarge and add plantings for my benefit and to help biodiversity.

hemlock bed 21

Follow the guide lines in my 2009 post: creating a new planting bed. Determine the space to use, layer with newspaper to kill the grass, wet paper so it stays in place and add mulch (here I used leaf mulch created from last years leaf collection) and presto!

hemlock bed 31


New planting area ready and marked.  I will trim the hemlocks a bit in the spring so the shrubs will be outside the drip line. In this case I have chosen Aesculus parviflora or Bottlebrush Buckeye, very shade tolerant, large and just dense and tall enough to provide the needed privacy in two or three years depending on the size planted. And Yes, this is a native shrub that is also deer resistant!

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

Albert Einstein


A Plant Deer Will Not Damage

Ricinus communis, Castor Bean Plant.

Ricinus communis, Castor Bean Plant.

As a follow up to my previous post on Datura stramonium, here is another beauty I grew this past summer.  Hard to believe that this plant is the product of one bean seed.  I sowed the seeds directly in the ground early June.  (I tried much earlier, in May, but they went to waste, as the ground has to be fairly warm for the seeds to germinate)  Castor Bean thrives in a sunny location and well drained soil.  Plants grew to six feet tall by August, each leaf easily 18 to 20 inches across.  Sadly, I had to pull them to make room for my blueberry patch which I planted in early September.

Every part of this plant is toxic, but the seeds are deadly.  They contain ricin and just one seed is enough to kill a horse.  Fortunately for us in the North, our season is not long enough for the seed pods to mature on the plant and broadcast seeds like it does in the South or in its native South Africa, care should be taken if storing seeds to keep them clearly labeled and in a secure place.

I loved this plant in my garden, in full sun it provides an interesting specimen or as a group it can create a good screen in areas where deer are a problem and you want to restrict deer traffic without damage.  As an annual, I find  it to be a great filler in an immature  border while newly planted trees and shrubs fill in.

I saved seeds from the largest plants so if you want to experiment and want some let me know.

I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eye or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow.
David Hobson

A wonderful new hybrid

Rudbeckia hirta 'Prairie Sun'

I came across this little gem at one of my favorite nurseries las month.  Black- Eyed Susan ‘Prairie Sun”  It has the most amazing blooms with a light yellow-green center.  It was in a four inch pot and very small, but here it is a month later and I am delighted by the size of the bright cheery flowers.   It is deer resistant, (so far) but the rabbits do seem to have an appetite for it.  I had to protect it from day one as it got eaten to the ground the first day!

“Each flower is a soul blossoming out to nature.”
Gerard De Nerval