Glory's Garden

All the world's a garden, you know, and we are mere flowers within it. Come, I'll show you!

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tracks in the snow

You may think all these tracks in the snow are made by the little red fox I told you about the other day, but I very much doubt it is. For one thing, the snow had a rather thick coating of ice on it and that little fox didn't weigh enough to break through it. For another thing, that is the exact pattern on the snow each and every year, the same pattern used by the deer that used to call my four acre plot their home up until we built our home here.

Deer being much heavier than a tiny twenty-thirty pound fox would easily break through the ice and leave these tracks. They also leave tell-tale signs of their travels. Just to the right of this picture is what most people would call my front yard. It is now a shrub border. This entire garden is enclosed by field fencing to protect it from--I think you know, but I'll tell you anyway--marauding deer. Field fencing is rather ugly but a necessary evil. Luckily the plants on the edge all grow enough to cover most of the fence.
The soft needles of the Arborvitae shrub is like ringing a dinner bell for deer.
Deer will eat whatever is in their path and my Arborvitae shrubs are a tasty treat. Deer go straight for my shrubs assuming it's an invitation to dinner and it may as well be one. The deer were here on this land first, after all. So, they will nibble at anything that pokes through and grows outside the fence which leaves a very distinct trimming effect on the Arborvitae (Thuga occidentalis) shrubs which grow right at the front along the fencing. It looks as if I took pruning shears to the bushes, but I can tell you truthfully, I never trim these plants. It's all the deer.  They love the stuff because it stays evergreen all year long, providing them the chlorophyll they need and the needles are soft and lovely to least it is for deer.
Notice how the nibbling stops just at the four foot mark. So weird!

It's really odd though. The fence is only four feet high and the deer will only eat to that height even though I know they could reach over the fence and eat everything overhanging, but they don't ever do this! It's really quite amusing, but they only eat that which grows through the fence. My own private hedge trimming  team! ;-) Here are a couple of pictures to show you exactly what I mean.

See how it's nibbled right up to the fence? That's the deer doing that.
Now along the left side of this shrub border I have a row of Deodar cedar which has rather prickly needles. This the deer never touch. Why? It's just to nasty for them to eat and would cut up their mouths. So, there's a lesson for those of you who wish to plant things deer would not eat unless they were absolutely dying of starvation. Plant prickly things. Next time I'll give you a list of these most prickly deer-proof plants.
You may not be able to tell but these Deodar Cedar branches are so prickly I try to stay clear of them. They scratch something awful!

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