Creating a Deer Resistant Shade Garden (Part 2)

A shade garden just isn’t a shade garden without plants right? So what plants should get planted in a deer proof garden? Oops I said proof again. Nothing is 100% proof against a deer. Resistant is a better word. So let’s try this again.  What kind of plants should be planted in a deer resistant shade garden?  Surprisingly there are quite a few good deer resistant candidates for shade gardens.  Take heucheras for instance.  Heucheras or coral bells are fantastic plants for shade gardens.  Heucheras like it dry, have quite a few colors to make things interesting, and can take the damage from deer and rabbits once established.  They also aren’t extremely tasty for deer either!

In addition to heucheras, hellebores are very deer resistant. In fact the foliage is poisonous so deer really won’t want to nibble on them very much. There a quite a few other plants possible to choose from that are deer resistant, so what did I choose to plant?

Pieris, pachysandra, and hostas!  Wait, I said hostas didn’t I?  Hostas aren’t deer resistant at all.  In fact far from it. So why did I plant them?  Because I’m setting up a barrier against the deer later, because I planted them among deer resistant plants with a mulch that will help disguise the scent, and because I like them and I refuse to give in to the deer!  By companion planting the hostas with other plants I reduce the odds of deer nibbles. My strategy consists of two ideas:

  1. Plant plants deer don’t like.
  2. Protect the plants from the deer. 

I bought several plants from Lowe’s for this Creative Ideas sponsored post. For shrubs I planted two kinds of pieris (‘Flaming Silver’ and ‘Valley Rose’) which are beautiful shade loving shrubs that the deer aren’t fond of.  In fact they’ve nibbled one already but left all the parts behind.  It wasn’t tasty!  Deer are creatures of habit so if they find something they don’t like they will eventually go another direction for something better, like maybe my roses…

For a ground cover I planted pachysandra around the outside of the garden.  The deer may sample this from time to time but the idea is if they don’t like it they will move on to more tasty parts of my garden. By bordering the garden with a plant the deer don’t like it will discourage them from coming in further to sample the hostas which are planted on the inside of the garden.

The hosta I picked out was a beautiful light green leaved hosta with dark green edges.  Or is it a dark green hosta with a light green center?  Hmm… it’s pretty neat which ever way you look at it.  ‘Paul’s Glory’ is its name.

I’ve transplanted several other plants into this garden from other areas.  Several other varieties of hosta and a few heucheras are now at home under the canopy of walnut and oak trees.  I’m planning on moving some hellebores to the garden before too long from some plants I need to divide.

One side note: Walnut trees have a chemical they release the retards the growth of many plants.  Heucheras and hostas are both resistant to juglons and can be planted under walnut trees.  

The next step for this garden is to add the deer prevention system!  AKA fence!  It will be a simple system using wires, posts, a little smoke and mirrors (not quite but close).  As soon as I get a chance (maybe this weekend) I’ll get it all put together. If you missed part one of Creating a Deer Resistant Garden here’s a link to for you to take a look at.