fbpx skip to Main Content

Please Don’t Eat The Geraniums

Pink Geraniums damaged by Deer
Pink Geraniums damaged by Deer

No Time For Flower Gardens

For years when my husband and I had our wholesale nursery, we never had the time to put in flower gardens, much less beautiful shrubs, and other fun plants. But, once I started back at Behnke’s in 2007, I started bringing home plants, and he, of course, had a lot of different perennials he would grow and plant out left over from our nursery. Many were daylilies, including the variety ‘Stephanie Fleming,’ which my grandfather named after me.

Most Asked Question At Behnke’s

I know from helping at the front desk at Behnke’s that one of the most asked questions we would get was, “what do I do about the deer?” We have so many articles on “Deer Resistant Plants” and would recommend all sorts of “Deer Repellents” to keep those darling deer from munching on your beautiful garden.

How to Keep Deer Away

I would tell folks about simple things like garlic powder, human hair, and ivory soap. Even mentioning putting up a fishing line so they would bump into it and go a different way. But I never really got it. Sure we lost many plants and blooms each year, and last Fall, when a buck rubbed his horns and sat on my beautiful Crape Myrtle, breaking it down to the ground, I just told my husband it would come back.

This morning, however, took the cake. Those bad deer started two days ago on our daylilies along the fence. Okay, not the end of the world; we have more around our back yard close to the house. All will be fine! It was not!

My Beautiful Geranium

This morning my beautiful pink geranium that my husband overwintered and had looked so pretty in the flamingo holder was destroyed! They didn’t just eat the blooms; and they chowed down. Polite, as always, they did not tip it over at least. Following their path of destruction, our rosebush buds were gone, my beautiful hosta was their salad, and my daylilies were their main course.

I took a few photos of the back side of the flower bed where a few daylilies remained.The deer were no longer hungry. Sure that they will be gone in the morning. It is funny how the deer only eat certain things. My cone-flowers and lantana were not touched, nor was our Platycodon (Balloon Flower). At least not yet.

I need to buy some garlic powder or start cutting some Ivory Soap because enough is enough. They even chomped down on the poor little Crape Myrtle that returned from last year’s attempted murder.

Do We Put Up A Fence Or Not?

Now my husband wants to fence our yard. I don’t. I like the open look and do not want the expense of a fence. It is so discouraging to spend so much time tending your garden only to have it destroyed overnight. After last year and the deer eating all of our vegetables, we did not even put in our few tomatoes and peppers. I can’t get upset since Jon, my husband, does most of the work. But my geranium! Seriously they need to JUST STOP!!!

And to everyone I ever chatted with, I so feel your pain. Those deer just are not cute anymore.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. I feel your pain! Year after year the deer have waited & waited to pounce & eat off all our lily blossoms right at peak bloom time. They start with Beautiful red Monarda buds, nip all the hosta leaves & blooms & finish with the day lilies. Very frustrating. 😩

    Ive been on guard this year, taking pre-emptive measures with evening applications of garden dust sprinkled among the blooms! Best crop EVER of Monarda & full beds of lilies. Trust me, the deer ARE about! Just the dust disrupts their keen sense of smell. One other cheap product to slightly dust around the garden is Dried Blood – a good nitrogen source, but apparently detracts the deer as well.

      1. There are different types of Garden Dust out there, but I have never heard of it being used to disrupt their sense of smell. HOwever if it works! Why not. I know ESPOMA sells Blood Meal which you should be able to get at any local independent garden center. Call first of course 🙂

    1. what brand of garden dust are you using? I know that ESPOMA sells Blood Meal too so I might get some of that.

  2. YES…. Those deer came the middle of the night AFTER I put deer Scram all around because the night before the started on my day Lillie’s, geraniums, azalea s, roses. I swear I d like to stay awake all night just to shoo them away, but at 75, I might not make it! Hahaha…. It’s not fun loosing our gardens

    1. My husband was up at 4am and all was well with what was left in the garden by the house. Then by 6am they had decided to eat half my balloon flower as they laughed at my husband when he went back inside. DARN DEER

  3. I thought and read that balloon flowers were supposed to be deer resistant?

    Got so tired of spraying all my beautiful hostas only to find them suddenly looking like celery, I dug them all out and replaced them with a variety of lots of beautiful ferns. No problems so far.

    1. I guess the deer forgot the memo about the Balloon flowers sigh. .It was beautiful! about 14 inches across and they ate 1/2 of it. Maybe they will come back tonight for the rest. I am thinking ferns too. Not sure I can dig out my daylilies. I have the 3 my grandfather named. One after me, Stephanie Fleming, one after my cousin, Jeanne Behnke Byrnes and one was named for him Albert Behnke.

  4. The deer has eaten my day lilies flowers and hosta but does not touch the one in back for some reason.
    They seem to come around starting in June every year and maybe thru Sept. I do stray the plants but if it rains I have be sure to stray it again. They are a pest along with the slugs.

  5. Unless you build it 6′ high, fencing won’t work. I did fence my vegetable garden 5′ high, and they don’t go in because the enclosure is only 24’x24′. They don’t like to jump into smaller areas where they might have trouble jumping out. My back yard is fenced 4′ high for the dogs, who certainly keep the deer away when they’re hanging out in the yard themselves. But the deer still hop in overnight if they feel like it. The only thing that’s really worked to keep them off the hostas and lilies is a spray that smells like rotten eggs, which kind of defeats the purpose of lilies in my mind. Also you have to reapply after every rain. I’ve put in a 6×20′ native plant bed, and they’ve been snacking on the Rudbeckia, Baptisia, and Echinacea, but not the asters or Monarda fistulosa at the moment. They seem to leave the herbs mostly alone; apparently the taste is too strong for them (except fennel, GAH!!!). If I had it to do from scratch, I would fence a “secret garden” for my favorite deer candy, and plant deer-proof stuff everywhere outside that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back To Top