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Re: Amer. Gardener article/Wild Greens

Marge, the way most of my azaleas are situated doesn't lend itself to 
fencing.  They are massed - about six bushes - around the base of an old Black Birch 
tree that is growing almost on top of a rock outcropping toward one side of 
our so-called lawn (at least it's a green, open space).  The downhill side of 
the cluster has more shade-loving things (several ferns, wild sarsparilla - 
can't remember the botanical name and I'm too lazy to look it up right now - and a 
couple of native deciduous azaleas, a small dogwood, etc.), because there is 
a large White Pine just beyond it. As I have said before, I'm not 
"landscaped."  Things are really sited by where I can dig a hole among the rocks.  There 
is a very large azalea in front of the house which the deer only nibble from 
the drive.  None of these are fancy named varieties.  The ones in back I bought 
the year we moved in here - 1970 - for about $1.00 apiece from a local store - 
like 3" pots.  They did very well until the deer got so bad about 15 years 
ago.  The one in front was here when we moved in, but just a very scrawny plant 
with two or three branches.  My DH said we should just yank it out and replace 
it, but I'm too soft-hearted, and said let it go and see if I can bring it 
back.  It came back very well and is about 6 feet in all dimensions.  I have no 
idea what it is - a fairly bright apricot shade.  
I have several deciduous azaleas - native species - which the deer don't seem 
to bother.  The two I know are R. calendulaceum (sp?), and R. viscosum.  The 
first is a brilliant red-orange, and the viscosum is white and fragrant.  Both 
bloom much later than the cultivated ones  -  late June or early July.  
Another is a soft yellow with orange markings.  I  know it's a native species, but 
I'm not sure which - they do hybridize among themselves.  Then I have another 
that I have never been able to pin down - deciduous, blooms quite early, has 
large lavender blooms.  My one good named azalea is a 'Hilda Niblett' but she 
lives in the vegetable garden.

Yew is really a deer favorite.  Nurseries around here don't even carry it any 
more for that reason.  They haven't bothered my junipers, hemlocks or white 
pine, but did a job on my Japanese black pine a few years ago.  Now a 
miscanthus grows in front of it and it's tall enough they can't reach the branches.

We got about 10" of snow the other day, and it's been quite cold since - 
promises to get above freezing by early next week, but who knows if spring will 
ever get here.
Stay warm,

In a message dated 01/29/2004 12:41:22 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
mtalt@hort.net writes:

> Well, mine had a nice smorgasbord of yew and azaleas as well at just
> the perfect height for them.  For about 6 years I saw virtually no
> azalea bloom.  Oddly enough, there were only a couple of
> rhododendrons they chomped and they left most of them alone.  For
> years, my poor yew hedges had little green tufts at the top of bare
> stems...not exactly the look I had envisioned when planting them. 
> Luckily, they seem to be coming back tho' slowly.
> I tried that thin black mesh netting, too and agree - it is a royal
> pain in the derrihre.  I have miles of it in the garage; hate it. 
> Had better success with that heavy green mesh plastic garden fencing
> attached to metal garden stakes.  Used to erect it around all
> vulnerable shrubs in the fall and remove it in the spring as the deer
> really only hit the azaleas in the winter - too many other nice,
> tender items for them come spring, I guess.  My DH said the garden
> looked like a concentration camp in winter with all the fencing
> around everything.  It was a major chore to erect and remove
> annually.
> The heavy duty black plastic deer mesh is easier to work with and
> works better than the light weight stuff, but it is still a pain to
> put up and take down every year.  That can be tied to tree trunks
> around groups of plants if trees happen to be in the right place for
> this - or trees and stakes can be used.  Draping it on plants doesn't
> really work.  The only time using it as fencing around plants doesn't
> work is in deep snow, when the deer can get up high enough to reach
> over it or the snow weighs it down too far.
> Fencing azaleas works best if you keep the fence a foot or so away
> from the shrubs and then cover the top with the heavy weight black
> deer fence mesh.  If you make the 'fence' around the shrubs at least
> 5' high, they can't get their necks over it far enough to do too much
> damage.  They won't jump into the middle of a bunch of shrubs if
> they're fenced in as a group, either, because they fear they won't be
> able to get out; only works if it's solid shrubbery, tho'...if
> there's a clear spot in the middle, they'll jump the fence into it.
> My herd never hit my big Pieris by the front deck, but they did
> nibble some smaller ones I have out in the holding beds.  Never
> touched Miscanthus at all nor Carex.  Carex foliage is often really
> sharp; you can get a paper cut from it, so that might be one reason
> they don't eat it.   Or, maybe it just doesn't taste good to them. 
> I've never heard of them eating any of the species, actually.
> I've finally lost my last 'Powis Castle'.  The last lot of cuttings I
> took didn't take and my last plant was completely mangled by a
> falling gutter and collateral damage:-(  Need to get another one and
> I've been rather looking and not finding, but I haven't really
> concentrated on it.  
> You're right - Aquilegia is another plant my herd did not eat - I
> have them popping up everywhere.  They never hit my Epimediums either
> nor my prickly holly - they will eat Ilex crenata with gusto.  Now,
> your friend's experience with holly just proves that they will eat
> anything.  They never touched my Junipers, yet I have read many
> accounts from those whose Junipers were munched to nothing.  Deer
> have leather mouths.
> Well, we got another inch or two last night on top of the ice but the
> roads are pretty clear.  Just a challenge to get up our drive.  I am
> sick of winter at this point and Feb. is usually the month we get our
> heaviest snows...ack!  Hope you didn't get too much of that white
> stuff!

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