Before leaving town for a spring break getaway, I wandered throughout my garden applying deer repellent on the shrubs and emerging perennial growth. I used a concentrated product known as “the stinky stuff” in my household, described as such since the ingredient is putrified egg solids. When mixed with water in a garden sprayer and aptly applied to the garden, this liquid repellent works remarkably well in keeping foragers at bay.
I returned home to healthy, intact buds on my mock orange, hydrangea and Montauk daisy, though I discovered that newly emerged hosta had been nibbled halfway to the ground. This discovery prompted me to quickly customize my repellent spraying schedule changing it from the recommended three week interval to “whenever any new growth appears”.
The application of deer repellent should be made on a dry day. The mist lightly coats the leaves and stalks in the garden. The liquid then dries leaving behind a stench that dissipates quickly over time but somehow remains repulsive to the foraging herd. Alas, repellent alone does not assure a deer-free garden.
Permanent, is not permitted on residential property by That reliable line of defense is reserved for commercial growers. As the commercial fencing goes up, so does the concentration of the deer population on residential property. Therefore, selecting plants that are classified as deer resistant is a necessary component of the North Fork home gardener’s deer defense program.
In your search for deer resistant plant material, I recommend you visit to see what kind of offerings are available for the North Fork gardener. Color, creativity and whimsy abound at this special spot on the Main Road in Cutchogue. It is easy to see why owners Anne Trimble and Nancy Leskody are celebrating their 20th year in business. They are hands-on owners, excited about their product and in tune with their customer's needs. Unique garden design, careful installation practices and imaginative presentations at the retail nursery are all part of what makes Trimble’s a North Fork favorite.
I walked the four-acre grounds of Trimble’s the other day with Suzie Germano, director of marketing and sales, to check out some of the deer resistant offerings. Our first stop was to admire a sun-loving annual, dwarf plumbago, which displays flowers the color one might choose to paint a little boy’s bedroom. The soothing, blue flower, with a hint of violet, continues to bloom all season with a vigor that even a drought cannot contain.
A new offering on hand is a dwarf buddleja, commonly know as butterfly bush, which will grow 2 to 3 inches tall. ‘Lo and Behold’ Blue Chip promises to provide continuous bloom in your border garden from June throughout the season and will not spiral skyward as many so many buddleja are prone to do.
A recent introduction in the lilac family is a reblooming variety called ‘Josee’. Lilacs are commonly considered spring bloomers that end their display as June arrives. Yet this low profile lilac will continue blooming throughout the season and provide suitable cuttings. Reliable favorites include digitalis, foxglove, which a self-seeding biennial suitable for partial shade, and for a sunny spaces, the perennial Papaver orientalis, Oriental poppy, is a fine choice. The deer resistant offerings at Trimble's are too numerous to mention here. A complete list is available at the nursery.
During your visit to Trimble's be sure to pause and admire the new Peace Pole which includes "Peace" in 12 languages. How do you say “Peace” in the language of deer I wonder?
Deborah Kusa is a long time resident of the North Fork. An avid garden and naturalist, she earned her Master Gardener certification through Cornell Cooperative. Prior to her contribution at North Fork Patch, she penned both the garden column and feature stories for the Times-Review newspapers. Deborah is also an experienced real estate investor and is licensed as an Associate Broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate.