ShadyGardens Blog

September 24, 2009

Deer: How to Keep Them from Eating Your Garden!

Filed under: Deer, deterrant, gardens, nursery, proof, resistent, Shadow, Shady — shadygardens @ 4:03 pm

Whenever visitors come to our nursery and garden they always ask, “How do you keep the deer from eating all your plants?” Well, we did have a problem years ago, but have found some things that worked for us—maybe they’ll work for you too! 

First, we planted things the deer don’t like. Deer love hosta, pansies, and daylilies–if it’s edible for people, deer like it too!  They don’t like plants with strong odor like herbs, except for basil. We planted lots of Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, and Oregano, Ageratum, Florida Anise, Daffodils, Holly, Iris, Barberry (they usually won’t eat anything with thorns), Buddleia, Mock Orange, Spirea, Lilacs, Dogwood, Magnolia, Boxwood, Leucothoe, Pieris, and Yucca. Remember though that when deer get hungry, they’ll taste of anything! I know you’ll still want hosta, daylilies, and pansies, so try surrounding the tasty plants with some of the plants deer do not like.  

Of course you can build a tall fence to keep out the deer, but since they can jump very high, your fence would need to be at least 10 feet tall. This can get pricey, especially if your garden is large. 

If you have visited us here at Shady Gardens, you have already met my most effective deer deterrent. Her name is Shadow—a big black lab who works hard to keep deer from eating my prized plants. That’s her in the above photo–taken a much needed rest break (we have many, many deer!) She also does her best to keep squirrels off the birdfeeders! Of course she does a little damage–she tramples plants sometimes, and she digs a hole when she believes a chipmunk would be tasty, or when she smells a rat. And when she was a puppy she chewed a little bit, but she never did as much damage as a family of deer can do in a single night! So probably the best thing you can do is run down to the animal shelter and ask them, “Who’s the friskiest dog you have?” (That’s the kind you need–a playful hunter with a loud bark!) Take him home and love him. By the way, the big dog will eat alot, but I believe feeding him will still be cheaper than buying all that Deer-repellant spray! 


For a complete list of deer-resistant plants, visit Shady Gardens Nursery.

April 5, 2009

Florida Anise: Evergreen, Drought Tolerant, Deer Resistant!

Filed under: Anise, bloom, blooms, Deer, evergreen, Florida, garden, native, nursery, proof, red, resistant, shade, Shady, shrub, tree — shadygardens @ 3:04 pm


One of my favorite native shrubs is Florida Anise. Illicium floridanum actually makes a tree about 10 feet tall.

The evergreen leaves are dark and shiny. Very unusual red flowers appear in spring and have star-like petals. Once flowers fade, large star-shaped seed pods develop–very unusual.

Drought tolerant once established, Florida Anise is a good choice for the southern garden. Native to Florida and Louisiana, Illicium Floridanum is too tender for northern gardens as it is hardy in USDA Zones 7-10 only.

Plant in partial shade. Enjoys wet soil, if you have some, and can take more sun if planted in a boggy area.

If you find one growing in the wild, do not dig it up to move it to your garden since Florida Anise is a threatened native species.

Illicium floridanum is not the culinary Anise used as a spice–Florida Anise is poisonous if ingested, which is why deer won’t eat it.

Enjoying the same growing conditions as azaleas, camellias, and gardenias, Florida Anise is a good companion for them.If you’ve been searching for something a little less common than a camellia or gardenia, Florida Anise is perfect.

April 4, 2009

Hellebores: Deer Proof Groundcover for Shade

Filed under: buy, Deer, evergreen, gardens, groundcover, Hellebore, Hellebores, Helleborus, nursery, online, proof, resistant, shade, Shady — shadygardens @ 2:51 pm

Hellebore, Helleborus, commonly referred to as Lenten Rose, is what I call a perfect garden plant! Rich green palmate leaves look lush even on the coldest days of winter. Blooms begin opening right after Christmas and can be enjoyed right up until the beginning of spring. And if the fact that Hellebores are evergreen and winter blooming isn’t enough for you, would you believe that deer won’t eat it?


Hellebores are very easy to grow. They do enjoy a rich soil, but are very drought tolerant plants. Our modest patch of hellebores is located in an area of the shade garden that we cannot reach with the hose.

Blooms which appear in winter and very early spring are varied in color. They can be white, green, pink, maroon, or even speckled! When the blooms begin to fade, seeds develop. Within a few years your hellebore patch can double in size.

Once the blooms are gone, new bright green new growth emerges. The palmate deep green leaves make a very attractive groundcover up to 18 inches tall.

Hellebores can be grown almost anywhere in the United States, since it’s hardy in USDA Zones 4-8.

Well-drained soil is best, so amend with compost to make your plants happy.

Try some hellebores in your garden, and they’ll make you happy as well!

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