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Lots of plants deer don’t like

M.G. Gallagher
Maltese cross and catmint are two good perennials that usually aren't eaten.
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EAGLE COUNTY – “The deer ate my plants!” Go figure. You planted them a salad, and they eat what they like. But there are plenty of deer-resistant landscape plants available.Cut right to the yarrows. There are those that spread with a purpose, and those that don’t. So for those that don’t want a spreading achillea, use “Moonshine.” For those that recognize the value of the yarrows that spread, the hybrids of “tall yellow” (the species) are more controllable, and attractive. The pink and red shades of the varieties of common (white) yarrow are long-flowering, drought-tolerant and animal-resistant. A yarrow tip: Some of the colored varieties fade fast to white, and others hold their color. “Cerise Queen” is an example of one that holds color, “Apple Blossom” turns to white, and so on.

Catmint is a practical perennial that needs little introduction. Use named varieties if you don’t want them to spread, and use nepeta mussini if you want them to spread from seed.Perennial geraniums includes spreaders like “Johnson’s Blue” and others that stay contained. Most of those that have shorter bloom periods than “Johnson’s Blue” still have great fall foliage color.A sleeper (underused!) is “Cupid’s Dart.” This happy little blue plant is also a choice cut flower and for drying. Go find some. Plant it. Guaranteed to make you smile.Red valerian, or Jupiter’s beard, is long-flowering and does fine here except that it may bite it where soils are exposed (not snow-covered) during the winter in higher altitudes. The white variety is a good alternative to many of the more common white flowers, such as Shasta daisy. It flowers for a long time, and the blossom structure has a nice visual effect.

Threadleaf coreopsis is not only more cold-hardy than many of its broader-leafed kin, “Moonbeam” is a former perennial of the year.Purple coneflower is another essential, but it need not be purple. The “Sunrise” from the new “Big Sky” series (wow, the whole line is amazing) is easily the best coneflower yellow for the garden. All echinaceas are important for their later flowering season.Agastaches are an absolutely wonderful perennial. The tip is to watch hardiness among species, as well as named varieties. Use as many different ones as you can and you will be glad you did.More sun plants include alyssum, columbine, arabis, sea pinks, asters and fleabanes, euphorbias, gaillardia (“Burgundy” is choice), knautia, liatris, malva, penstemon, thyme, veronica, and there are many more.

Areas with less sun can use: monkshood, lady’s mantle, columbines, coral bells, lily of the valley, sweet woodruff, foxgloves, lamium, ligularia, creeping grape holly, bleeding hearts, and Jacob’s ladder for starters.Watch here for “Deerplanthunter II,” the sequel. There are more worthy critter-resistant plants to share.M.G. Gallagher writes a column about plants and landscaping in the mountain zones.Vail Colorado


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