Deer, deer!

Nice coffeeberry! You can keep that coyote bush though.

As I was writing the last post a young doe stepped past my window and down the path and began nibbling on the coffeeberry bush.

I've seen her in our garden before. She also likes the honeysuckle (the non-native kind that seems to live forever - it was here before we arrived at this house).

I enjoy watching her calm, slow ways. That hesitant walk. I'm not sure why she's alone. She looks like a yearling maybe or a two year old. I'm not sure how to tell.

But when she started on my California Fuchsia - I tapped on the window.


She turned and jogged off down the hill into the chaparral.

What do the deer never eat? I wondered - Can I landscape with just those and just give up on the rest?

AFAIK, deer don't eat my:

  • Grasses (though rabbits will munch young plants)
  • Rushes, sedges
  • Ferns
  • Salvias
  • Succulents
  • Iris
  • Manzanitas (Arctostaphylos sp.)
  • Sagewort (Artemisia californica)
  • Coyote bush (Baccharis pilularis)
  • Golden yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum)
  • Golden rod (Solidago canadensis)
  • Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus)
  • Coyote mint (Monardella villosa)
  • California aster (Symphyotrichum chilense)
  • Coast aster (Corethrogne filaginifolia
  • Hairy honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula)
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • Elderberry (Sambucus sp.)
  • Deer weed now how weird is that? (Acmispon glaber)
There are probably a few I'm forgetting. 

I can't be sure of anything though -- and in drought conditions they will eat anything green, or so it seems. 

Of plants that survive - and maybe thrive - on deer nibbling (once they get past their tasty "spring salad" early growth period that is), I'd count Ceanothus, toyon, and Ribes (flowering currant). I'm hoping that the huckleberry I planted will survive too - so far so good. They don't grow in our immediate neighborhood, but I like them and they grow wild in our county. 

Buckwheats are a mixed bag. I'm disappointed that they munch on the coast buckwheat (Eriogonum latifolium) that I planted last year, but they are not interested in other species such as the naked buckwheat (E. nudum) or, so far, the E. crocatum that I planted for color last year. 

When I tried growing penstemons here - something ate them sometimes. So frustrating.

I'm most upset when they eat the Clarkia rubicunda and the Epilobium canum. (California fuchsia) because they are locally native and bring such lovely color to the garden after the spring flush.

I'm not even thinking about other things which I have long ago stopped trying to grow and I may have to come back and edit this post to add to the list. 

Maybe this will help you pick some plants for your deer-filled gardens. But always remember the catch: Your deer may differ!

Monkeyflower? No thanks!