Scented and deer resistant to replace phlox?

tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)August 7, 2008

I've decided to replace several stands of Phlox Paniculata. I am very tired of not seeing them bloom. Tried garlic and cayenne pepper mixtures, Tree Guard (suppose to repel them for weeks and at @25.00 a bottle it should!), Bounce sheets cut in strips, Irish Spring soap, etc. Oh, yes I do have 2 dogs which run them off the property when they are out, but the deers know our routine.

You get my point so enough of that. Roses and Lilies to replace are out of the question. They eat those too - thorns and all.

I've discovered Cimicifuga which has a most beautiful scent so I've started replacing some of them with it. Do you know or have any prennials in your gardens of a similar size to Phlox which provide a wonderful scent starting in late July and which the deer may not eat for desert after clearing the hosta garden?

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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Not a perennial, but Nicotiana sylvestris is large, impressive, fragrant and highly deer resistant. I buy plants each spring from Select Seeds.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 6:02AM
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bludane(zone 5)

Ugh, I share your frustration! Russian Sage would bloom in the late summer and is very fragrant. I've never had a problem with my Globe Thistle or Helenium being eaten.
Maybe Crocosmia, though it seems to be short lived.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 7:11AM
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I planted one of my phlox paniculata "volunteers" out in my garden to see if the deer would eat it. I planted it between large rosemary, echinops, salvia greggi, spirea and coneflowers. In other words, buried in the middle of a lot of plants that aren't at the top of the deer menu. I was operating on the theory that deer are basically lazy. So far, it has bloomed without a single nibble. That said, if more exposed, it would absolutely be eaten! I was just playing around with my free plant.

I know what you mean about wanting large blooms like phlox in the garden. In this photo, the carmine blooms below the coneflowers are spirea 'Neon Flash'. It is a small deciduous shrub that likes full sun. It blooms larger than this in June, I shear off the spent blooms with a hedgetrimmer, then it blooms again in late July/early August. My phlox 'Robert Poore' is just above this group in my garden.

To the left of the coneflowers is salvia greggi 'Wild Thing'; behind is a buddleia; right side are agastache 'Blue Fortune', although I like agastache 'Salmon and Pink' better. The yellow blooms just to the right are rocket yellow snapdragons (annuals that overwintered here) coming into a 2nd bloom.

This is the grouping on the other side of the phlox. If you look carefully to the right side, you can see my little phlox starting to bloom. That's crape myrtle 'White Chocolate' behind it. I've repeated the rosemary (now pulled and replaced by agastache 'Salmon and Pink'), the salvia, a culinary sage, echinops ritro. There's a large lavender up to the right of the myrtle. There's also a pink muhly behind the myrtle (this is a slope). On the left of the echinops, there's newly planted lavender. Blooms that are gone now from this group are rose campion.

By the way, at the top is a 2 acre meadow where deer sleep every night!

If you can grow lantana in your zone, 'Ham and Eggs' is a variety that works well in the perennial garden. It is supposed to be only 2 feet high, but mine are now over 4 feet in height and width, having overwintered since 2006.

Even in my deer resistant garden, the deer will sample a few things, especially along the paths and newly planted perennials. However, 99.9% of my garden is left alone. When I went out this morning, two fawns were at the upper edge of the garden. The herd sleeps in our meadow a few feet above the edge. My husband said that our greyhound has to weave her way through sleeping deer to do her business at night! The deer don't even bother to get up and run!

I updated my blog last Saturday with a lot of this information. I go to great lengths to experiment with deer resistant perennials and shrubs. However, your deer may have different preferences, so there are no guarantees. There's a lot of trial-and-error.

I hope this is helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: deer traffic control in my garden

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 8:41AM
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Another possibility is to use a smaller fragrant shrub such as summersweet. Clethra 'Ruby Spires' is one cultivar I have grown that I like. Fragrant, adaptable, and deer resistant. It's probably a little bit taller than Phlox, but not by much. It blooms in July for me...very fragrant and the bees and butterflies love it.

BTW, I feel your pain. I'm coming to the realization that unless we can get our deer barrier to work, our garden will be due for a similar revaluation.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 11:20AM
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Thanks for the ideas! I can see that some are thinking in the same direction which helps.

I'll have to try the Nicotiana again even though it is an annual. For some reason which I can't remember, I've tried it a couple of years in a row in the past and it wouldn't grow to it's stated size. Cool summers perhaps?

I do have a lot of plants they won't touch including Helenium and Echinops. Tried groing Russian Sage last year but it croaked. Any hints?

Good blog. Lots of good ideas, some of which I'm already using in the gardens. Out of 10 rose shrubs, I have two left (Lillian Austin) which I refuse to give up. They are bordered by Digitalis Lutea and Baptisia Australis.

I have the Aagastache Blue Fortune, but adore your Salmon and Pink. Tried to locate some seeds on the internet yesterday for them but they don't seem to be available. I'll ask around to see if the plant is available at the nurseries.

There is one stand of Phlox in the gardens which they haven't touched and it is growing with Monarda Jacob Cline. Another area with 5 mature phlox plants has Aconitum, Cimicifuga, and Eupatoriums planted throughout, so the theory that they are lazy just might be true. It could also be that the other plants have a stronger scent. These two areas will remain, but there are at least 15 more mature plants which will be removed. As a quick fix I have several Buddleias started from seed in our holding bed which will replace them next year as a temporary measure. I love these too. :O)

I do have Lavenders, Rudbeckias, Coneflowers (20+ more of these in the holding beds as well ready to go in), 10 different kinds of Lynchnis which they avoid, etc.

Our property is bordered by woodlands. Basically when the deers come out of the woods, they face the gardens. For 5 years when we first came, they never touched anything but in 2006 they began culling the gardens. Here's a photo of the 'tree line' bordering some of the gardens. You can see it in the back of the photo.

I do have Clethra. :O) It may not have the big blooms but it certainly has a wonderful perfume. I am going to start more from cuttings. Thanks!

To all,
One thing I started doing this year is containers with sunflowers that the deers won't let me grow. I have a large deck and veranda so next year I will be placing some Phlox in pots and trying to overwinter them by placing the pots in the ground. This was the first plant I remember my DM growing in her gardens. The scent brings such strong memories that there's no way I'm giving it up, but there will be holes to fill in those gardens next year.

Amazing how innovative we have to get, eh? :O)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 8:45AM
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bludane(zone 5)

I don't know why you haven't had luck with Russian Sage, especially when I look at the picture of your garden-it's lovely. They do prefer a lean soil with excellent drainage, just like lavender. Have you tried Hibiscus? I know Yarrow has a bad rap, but there are a few varieties that are clump-forming and won't eat your garden. I've had 'Coronation Gold' for years. It blooms all summer and stays in one spot. Caryopteris is a fun plant, it blooms very late and the deer don't like it.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 3:40PM
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Thanks for the comments on the gardens Bludane. I think I didn't give the Russian Sage enough sun. They were planted on the other side of the property where other perennials thrive with some shade. That's probably the issue. In this picture alone 12 Phlox will be taken out so I'll definitely try the Russian sage again since it's full sun, great drainage, etc.

I have a few hardy Hibiscus and this year it looks like I'll get blooms.

Yarrow is becoming a favourite. I have pastels sown by the birds, Cerise Queen which is stunning, and a short pastel yellow with silver leaves. I raise butterflies, mainly Monarchs so have lots of plants which butterflies love.

I'll have to look into Caryopteris. Do you know if it has a scent?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 9:15PM
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Your garden is beautiful! Look for agastache rupestris or Sunset hyssop and you'll get a similar look as the Salmon and Pink.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 6:13PM
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Thanks Cameron!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 8:36PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

I use local fences 5' high around garden areas or even welded wire circles around individual roses or plants. The fences are not attractive but at least let me enjoy my plants. I have deer constantly but they don't bother my one Phlox paniculata, which is in an area not near any edible plants they visit, and by the driveway. I'm actually buying some new Phlox paniculata plants this year, but they would be inside fenced areas. I am also planning on growing some P. divaricata and pilosa from seed, and was also hoping to add some annual Phlox drummondii as a ground covering carpet near my apple trees, would deer bother these if unfenced? I know deer in different parts of the country bother different plants, on the east coast I understand they eat daylilies but have never bothered mine. I also have them eat my regular roses but they don't bother my rugosa roses.

I think poppies are not generally eaten by deer, but they are probably not fragrant. I'm getting a plant of Stylophorum diphyllum which has a low clumping form and is covered with yellow flowers in spring. Oriental poppies have large but not fragrant blooms.

There are some oreganos that have nice flowers, not on par with Phlox paniculata, but attractive anyway. I haven't had deer eat any of them. I think Nepeta and Calamintha also are not eaten by deer. I had some Agastache rugosa I started from seed last year that bloomed well by fall, some were 4+ feet tall, and Agastaches are supposed to be deer resistant, but I left my wire fence open by mistake and deer got in and ate the flowers off some, see blog photos. You can see some of my fences in the photos.

Here is a link that might be useful: Agastache rugosa

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 8:41PM
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