It is the season of love and peace — with deer. This is the time of year of deer fawns, and everyone loves deer fawns. They are just about the cutest critter in the animal kingdom.
If you follow any of the local Facebook group pages about wildlife, you have seen lots of photos of baby deer curled up in someone's back yard or flower garden, waiting for their mama to return. The photos are often accompanied with a question about who to call about an abandoned deer fawn. The answer is always, "Don't worry. Mama will return,” and that is the correct answer. Sometimes it is many hours, but mama always returns. The fawn isn't worried, the mother deer isn't worried, only you are needlessly worried. View from a distance and enjoy.
After a few weeks the fawns will begin to follow their mothers and not just rest and hide all day. At about 8-10 weeks the fawns will be weaned, and that is when the season of love and peace begins to fade, because mother deer will now be showing her baby where you keep the flowers.
I know many folks who spend their days and nights planning their next defensive move against the deer. Google "deer repellents" and you will find a long list of chemicals guaranteed to keep deer away. I am sure many products work to some extent, but most need to continually be re-applied. Scattering human hair, hanging ammonia soaked rags, or peeing around the perimeter or your yard probably doesn't work, but it will keep the neighbors amused. Other people string fishing line, plant garlic, or install motion activated light or sprinkler systems to keep the deer out of their yards. I once scattered garlic flakes all over my yard and shrubbery in Texas to supposedly keep mosquitoes away. The smell kept me out of the yard and in the house for weeks, but the mosquitoes were still in the bushes...laughing.
If you just can't live without hosta, day lilies, English ivy, or peas and lettuce, then read the previous paragraph because you are going to need some defense. Those plants are steak, potatoes and ice cream to deer. If you don't mind trying some different plants, that deer don't like, then you can enjoy watching the deer as they beautifully, and gracefully, walk through your yard on the way to the neighbor's flowers.
Here are a few plants that deer don't like to eat. Try marigolds, coreopsis, hydrangea, iris, dahlia, sage, lavender, bee balm, lantana, daffodils, peonies, salvia, butterfly bush or coneflowers. There are more, but that is a good start. Most of those aren't liked by rabbits either. Keep in mind, that if they are really hungry, deer will eat just about anything, but if you have lavender and the neighbor grows hosta, guess where the deer are going to go for lunch.
To me, the most interesting part of all of this is the intelligence test part. You can spend lots of time, money and frustration battling the wildlife, or you can plant iris and coreopsis, sit back, relax, enjoy your flowers and the wildlife at the same time, smiling with the knowledge that you are smarter than a deer. You may never be as cute as a deer fawn, but you can be smarter than any flower chomping adult deer. For you, the season of love and peace can be all year long. Isn't that what we are all striving for anyway?
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