Deer heading the geraniums

Or how to garden in the PacificNW.

I love a splash of color in my yard, however I am known for my brown thumb. Need to get rid of a plant? As in gone forever? Give it to me. I guarantee results. There are exceptions: cactus, pansies and geraniums.

Cactus require sun and heat, and that’s something we are a bit short of here on the central coast of Oregon, so I saw no point in trying a cactus garden here.

Pansies are beautiful, happy plants. They smile at you. They come in an abundance of colors, and many of them have a wonderful fragrance. They are easy to grow and will quickly fill pots, planters, or a garden with healthy, delightful blooms. In my area, a pansy garden is known as a “salad bar for deer”. I’ve given up on pansies.

Geraniums come in a nice array of colors and I’ve always been able to grow them. This year I decided I wanted a REAL splash of color and opted for red zonal geraniums. I researched and discovered that these plants are “rarely if ever” eaten by the 4-legged pests known as deer. It says right on the garden pages “deer don’t eat these”. Yes!

In June I filled a large garden bucket with beautiful, splashy red zonal geraniums. The same kind that most everyone around here has in their gardens. It worked! They bloomed and filled in the bucket, and with the white alyssum as an edge, it was a happy splash of cheer-me-up color. Every morning for 2 1/2 months I lovingly tended my geraniums. I deadheaded the old blooms, watered as needed, pulled the few weeds that showed up and simply enjoyed the fruits of my labors.

Then came “the day”. I stepped out on the porch, looked down and the geraniums were GONE! The darling deer had deer-headed them! I couldn’t decide whether to cry or be mad. Instead I laughed. There was one very sad lone bloom. So I grabbed my camera and saved the moment for posterity.

Our landscaper was here working today and he asked if I needed lessons in how to deadhead my geraniums. Ha Ha The encouraging news is that there are more buds and *if* the deer leave things alone, I’ll have more blooms before the summer is officially gone. Time will tell. But I’m not giving up. Maybe I’ll plant pansies in another area of the yard to feed the deer.

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