Destined to grow nothing but day lillies...

stir_fryiJune 24, 2013

I am an inexperienced, experimental gardener. Last fall we had two large trees removed from in front of our house and I have been excited to plant perennials and get some color going out there.

I have, like everyone else in the neighborhood, about 6 stella d ora daylillies. They are pretty much fool-proof and provide some nice yellow color.

I also planted two puny knockout roses. They seem ok but are still puny 3 weeks later.

Over in this other area, to the right of my driveway, I am struggling. I used to have black-eyed susans there. They looked so nice for a couple years and then were eaten by rabbits and finally buried for good when they grinded the tree stump.

My sister gave me some of hers and I tried again this year. Within a week all that was left were the stalks. She also gave me several clumps of daisies. One entire clump has been destroyed -- every morning, it looks like someone chopped down a couple stalks and then they disappear. I real disappointment because the blooms are just now starting to open.

Our yard is over run with rabbits and chipmunks. What can I plant that won't get eaten? This is too much work and expense to keep going...

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

This topic is also discussed in the difficult places forum. My sympathies! I used to have to put just about everything in pots up on tables and chairs if I had to have it when I lived around/with bunnies.

Some things in my notes from then as not being touched... Cleome hassleriana, Nepeta, violets, Stokesia, Ageratum, Asclepias, various Begonias, Celosia, Delphinium, Hosta, bearded Iris, Lantana, Marigold, Mirabilis jalapa, Nicotania. YMMV...

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 12:33PM
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jayco(5b NY)

I also have rabbits, chipmunks, and deer, so I feel your pain!

Your best bet is to grow things they don't like, but you can also purchase repellents (Liquid Fence works well) and spray the susceptible plants. Sprinkling bloodmeal also helps. I find rabbits do not like salvia, bee balm, etc -- the list is pretty long. Do a search for rabbit-resistant plants.

About your "puny" Knockout roses -- you've got to give them more than three weeks! Most perennials or shrubs don't really settle in for a year or two, or even three. They are living things, and we gardeners have to cultivate patience along with our plants. Easier said than done, I know!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 1:44PM
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The deer and rabbits haven't touched any of my peonies, penstemons or agastaches. They LOVE daylilies and roses, can't keep roses growing at all.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 2:27PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Watch your roses in the winter.... when everything else has died down and the rabbits get hungry they will chew the dormant rose stems down to the ground! -just when you thought you could get a couple months off :)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 3:30PM
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I have used Deer Scram that you can sprinkle around your beds on specific perennials or around certain beds with great results. You have to reapply every once in a while, depending how much rain you get or how often you water. But for me, it does work keeping bunnies for eating my plants.

I heard yesterday on a local gardening show that they have come out with Rabbit Scram, which I've not used.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 4:37PM
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eclecticcottage(6b wny)

Field mice eat all of my obedient plant to the ground right before it flowers. They also devour any bellflowers/relatives overnight every time they are planted. Needless to say, I don't buy them anymore! Chipmonks ate every flower head off my cornflowers. I didn't seed those this year either, I tried love in a mist instead. Some ground dwelling/tunneling something tried to kill a hosta, so I dug the area out and put it in a large pot there in the ground instead. You'll have to experiment and find what the critters in your area don't like to eat.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 4:56PM
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There's lots of information/help available both here on GardenWeb as well as other sites, including some commercial mail order nurseries. Many have search engines where you can filter on perennials that thrive in your particular situation & growing conditions. If you want to 'do it yourself,' there's a lot of research & work to be done.

Ditto jayco's comment about patience. When I moved here nearly 10 years ago I had some garden design ideas. It's taken that long to achieve the goals I set for myself back then. I'm being rewarded this year seeing my beds full, lush & thriving just as I'd imagined them. If you're fixed on instant gratification, gardening isn't the way to go unless you have unlimited funds to pay someone else to do it for you to your particular specifications.

This is too much work and expense to keep going...

Gardening is a lot of work but if you love it, it's a labor of love that returns a great deal of satisfaction. It doesn't have to be so expensive either--there are ways to fill your garden with beautiful perennials for pennies if you have the patience for them to reach maturity. I discovered winter sowing (growing things from seed in winter) back in 2009 and in 3 short years had filled all my garden beds to over-flowing.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 8:12PM
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Good suggestions here. I have woods on two sides of my yard, so I have deer and rabbits to contend with. A few others to add to the that are not mentioned above:
Lungwort (pulmonaria)
Liatris (bunnies & deer sometimes go after it, but not in my garden)
Speedwell (Veronica)
Bleeding hearts
Lilies of the valley (can be a real thug and get out of hand)
periwinkles (myrtle)

Mentioned earlier but I have been growing these for a while without disturbance:
Daylilies (there's more than stella d'oro out there!)
Tall Bearded Iris
Siberian Iris
Bee Balm

I also accidentally mixed a lot of Egyptian walking onions with my lilies (Asian lilies). The Asian lilies not near the Egyptian walking onions got mowed down by bunnies. The ones near the Egyptian walking onions were untouched.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 9:41AM
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I have saved the remaining daisies by putting my child's rubber snakes around them! What baby bunny would cross a King Cobra? So far, so good...

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 12:23PM
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I used to hybridize and collect daylilies and still have hundreds but sure wish they were self-cleaning. Deadheading the spent blooms each day is the only way to keep the beds looking great and I just don't care to mess with it anymore.

Cone flowers might be an answer for your space. They aren't bothered by deer here at least.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 1:01PM
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jayco(5b NY)

Rabbits do eat echinacea in my experience, and occasionally the deer will eat the flower buds. But I spray mine. Or plant catmint all around. :)

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 1:20PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Sorry to hear about your critter problems. A small terrier type dog or a cat who is a good mouser can be very helpful for controlling the population of small rodents and rabbits. In addition to the cat, I use primarily repellents or barriers to keep critters away.

For year I've had problems with critters decimating the Sunflowers. From chipmunks, woodchucks, squirrels, and even a dang Robin that wanted to pull up EVERY seedling, my Sunflowers have been under assault for years.

Now I use double barriers, hardware cloth around each sunflower and 2x4 inch wire fencing or yard wire, encircling the whole group of Sunflowers, and finally success! This seems to have kept all the critters out. These are the best Sunflowers I've had in years - Helianthus annuus Mammoth Russian in back, Lemon Queen in front. :)

This post was edited by terrene on Fri, Jul 5, 13 at 15:30

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 6:50PM
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stir_fryi - the rubber snakes are a clever idea.

You don't identify the heat zone in which your garden is located so that might limit or expand your perennial options. I've listed below hardy perennials growing in my beds that are untouched by deer but wouldn't want to get your hopes up of growing them if they aren't hardy in your zone.

Agastache rupestris/sunset hyssop and Caryopteris/blue mist shrub are both fragrant, low-maintenance and of no interest to the bunnies or deer in my garden, along with the following:
Lychnis coronaria/rose campion
Buddleia davidii/Butterfly bush
Stachys/lamb's ear
Baptisia/false indigo
Brunnera/Siberian bugloss
Hellebore/Lenten rose
Stokesia laevis/Stoke's aster
Trollius ledebourii/Chinese globeflower
Euphorbia polychroma/cushion spurge
Heuchera/coral bells
Persicaria virginiana/fleeceflower
Phlox divaricata/woodland phlox
Phlox paniculata/tall garden phlox
Nipponanthemum nipponicum/Montauk daisy
Nepeta faasiini/Walkers Low catmint
Ratibida columnifera/Mexican hat

Most, but not all (phlox, lamb's ear, catmint, spurge, brunnera & hellebore) were grown from seed via winter sowing. Those purchased were picked up from reputable mail order nurseries on half-off sales over the course of several years.

Best of luck with your garden.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 7:26PM
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