Deer Eating Your Plants?

Last fall the young deer scampered in my yard and others. Then they were graceful, lovely creatures.

Now they are monsters. Now I know why my plants didn't bloom well last spring or summer. I'm not a good gardener, but a few plants live year after year in spite of me. I enjoy them and look forward to their blooms.

Yesterday I realized many tender shoots were chopped off! Yes, gnawed so low I doubt they will bloom this year. Did the monsters in deer's clothing eat the lovely yellow dandelions? Of course not! They chomped on my daffodils and other plants I can't name. They found shoots from iris bulbs. Yes, I had some I separated and replanted.

That set me off on a quest to make the deer feel unwelcome.

A buried memory of a friend filling her menfolk with beer, an easy task, and sending them outside to water the perimeter of her garden teased at the edges of my mind. Hmmm. I suspect some of our ladies were concerned about me when I asked them if they knew anything about deer and human urine. (snicker)

Scarlet suggested googling the info.

Because I was up to my crossing eyes in editing for a client, I decided to ask for help from our gardening expert. Beth mentioned human hair as a thing deer don't like. That was easy. I scrambled around and cleaned enough hair from my vacuum cleaner and the floor of my car to scatter in some plants. Bet I can find more hair tomorrow if I groom my sweaters and clean the floor.

I took pictures in my neighborhood to show the colors of Japanese magnolias, pear trees, and a slew of other colorful foliage. Too bad I can't find the tiny camera that hides with my cellphone.

Trust me, there are deep purple, white, lilac, pale pink and deep pink, yellow and other colors in trees and bushes around me.

Now about those pesky deer. Maybe I should .......

Happy Monday, all!

Anything bugging you this week?

Deer eating your plants?


  1. Scarlet Pumpernickel // March 21, 2011 at 6:13 AM  

    MM, I am glad you decided against filling the neighborhood men with beer and having a pee party! LOL, what a sight that would have been and you wouldn't have been able to post the pictures to our PG rated blog. Good luck with keeping the deer from eating your plants. Anyone know how to get rid of Armadillos?

  2. Tamara LeBlanc // March 21, 2011 at 7:58 AM  

    Grrrr, I hate when woodland creatures munch on my pretty flowers too.
    I've heard of the golden shower deterant (my mom is an avid gardener, in fact she has a master gardner degree...everything she touches flourishes. She had my dad do that one, didn't work) She also tried the human hair thing...she said the deer just brushed the clumps aside, had a good laugh and gorged.
    She said the only thing that helped was letting the cat out at night (her cat, Spike, named after the bleached blonde character on Buffy, thinks it's a dog and chased those deer off)
    They were'nt laughing anymore.
    I hope you can find a deterant soon. Spring and summer buds are so pretty.
    I suppose if I want to vent about something that bugs me this week (and every other) it would be teenagers, my teenagers, not pushing in kitchen chairs after they eat. Miniscule issue, yes, but really, really annoying.
    Have great week!

  3. Mary Marvella // March 21, 2011 at 11:44 AM  

    Morning Scarlet. I figured I could sell the video as porno and make money. I have no idea what to do about Armadillos. Maybe coax them onto the road?

  4. Mary Marvella // March 21, 2011 at 11:47 AM  

    Hey, Tamara! Someone mentioned a plant that repels deer. I can't remember what it was. Guess I need to visit the Home Gardener Show website. I just wish they liked weeds instead of flowers.

  5. Joanne // March 21, 2011 at 1:11 PM  

    Hi Mary,
    No deer-eating in my SC yard, although they are in our area. We have a large summer camp adjacent to our community. It adjoins Lake Wylie, and, in fact, I saw two deer walking across our entrance road last evening.

  6. Mary Ricksen // March 21, 2011 at 1:17 PM  

    Well where are the pictures. I'd love if you posted them.
    Have you tried yelling and swearing at them? (Maybe they're sensitive). Heck I'd pie on them if I had too!
    Oh you mean on the ground. Hmmmmm.
    I think we should call the video Mama Mary does golden showers!!!
    I miss the spring flowers down here in ovenville...

  7. Patrice // March 21, 2011 at 1:21 PM  

    We used to have that problem in New Jersey too. What a shame about your poor beautiful plants. I'm not sure if we ever found a solution, but maybe our dog scared away the deer - she was outside a lot. Good luck.

  8. Mary Marvella // March 21, 2011 at 2:01 PM  

    Thanks for your comments, Joanne. Maybe there are just too many humans or the pickin's are better elsewhere.

  9. Mary Marvella // March 21, 2011 at 2:04 PM  

    Mary R, you made me smile! I'll post the pictures when I find where I hid my camera.

    As for scaring the deer, they must come by at night or early morning. Maybe a loud speaker of a dog barking? My neighbor's big dog is so sweet he likely wouldn't scare them.

  10. Mary Marvella // March 21, 2011 at 2:09 PM  

    Thanks for the comments, Patrice. I considered borrowing a dog. My daughter's Schnauzers love to bark and chase.

  11. Beth Trissel // March 21, 2011 at 7:10 PM  

    Love your post Mary. I found this info online: "In his book, Solving Deer Problems (Lyons Press, $14.95), garden writer Peter Loewer explores dozens of repellents, including one that involves having his male, meat-eating house guests relieve themselves around the perimeter of the garden to scare the deer away. "It doesn't work with vegetarians," Loewer writes.

    Mary, we have dogs.

    Some gardeners swear by human hair — stuffed by the handful in nylon stockings and hung throughout the garden, to keep the deer away.

    Loewer said most remedies work for a time, but only until the scent wears off or gets washed away with irrigation water or rain.

    Loewer's book lists various products designed to save the garden:

    Not Tonight Deer, is a powder that smells like eggs and tastes like pepper. It is sprayed around the perimeter of the garden and can be found at
    N.I.M.B.Y. or not in my backyard, was developed for the power industry and is an emulsion of natural oils. Check

    Liquid Fence, available at, is a nontoxic mix of egg and garlic that lasts a month before it has to be renewed.

    Carnivore urine is available at and is a collection of urine from bobcats, coyotes, foxes and wolves. In theory, it sends a message to animals that a meat-eating animal is roaming the garden."

  12. Mary Marvella // March 21, 2011 at 7:41 PM  

    Thanks, Beth! So many things to try! Can you say large specimen cup?

  13. Mary Marvella // March 21, 2011 at 7:42 PM  

    Why would such a thing stay on my memory? I am draping hair and cleaning my carpets, too.

  14. Barbara Monajem // March 21, 2011 at 10:22 PM  

    Something ate my daughter's veggies last year, but I think it was rabbits. We see them far more often than deer.

  15. Mary Marvella // March 21, 2011 at 11:54 PM  

    Barbara, I might have rabbits, but I know I have at least 3 deer! Good night.

  16. Mary Marvella // March 21, 2011 at 11:55 PM  

    Dream of Bambi or Thumper stew! GRRRRR!

  17. Pamela Varnado // March 22, 2011 at 8:01 AM  

    Mary, I would love to see deer in my backyard. My problem is my neighbor's cats. They urinate all over the place. Which really smells in the Summer. As for gardening, I'm learning as I go along. It's a relaxing hobby though, and I love to see the roots of my labor. Hee-hee

  18. Judy // March 22, 2011 at 8:27 AM  

    Mary, you've got a fight on your hands! Until more houses were built around us, we had deer who came to my neighbor's house and ate the plants right down to the ground. Our little dachshund was able to chase them away one morning but they came right back!! Good luck!

  19. Nightingale // March 22, 2011 at 9:25 AM  

    I have 2 plants struggling to survive my tender loving care. The beer idea brought some rather funny visuals. I hope you solve the deer problem!

  20. Mary Marvella // March 22, 2011 at 10:28 AM  

    Morning, Pam. The deer were so cute BEFORE I saw they were dining on my young plants! They aren't so cute anymore.

  21. Mary Marvella // March 22, 2011 at 10:31 AM  

    Judy, I live at the end of cul de sac with woods behind me. Those woods will stay woods, too since there is a small creek at the end of my property. There's a horse farm behind the neighbor on my right.

    Soooo. New plan!

  22. Mary Marvella // March 22, 2011 at 10:32 AM  

    Linda, I know you, and now I'm wondering. When will she?