Imprints from deer hooves are four inches deep in the swampy rear garden. The muck seems not to deter their visits, and as the garden enters winter dormancy, deer are invited to dine at their leisure.
The repellent was last sprayed in early September, I think, though perhaps it was August. Now, several hostas and hydrangeas have been nibbled, but tonight’s freeze is likely to do more damage, so why worry?
There is no concern that deer will develop bad habits, and be back for more next spring. Regular evidence confirms that deer travel through the garden, dry or muddy, repellent or not, but the repellent minimizes damage as long as I don’t stretch too long between applications, or forget. Did I spray in September or August? A few missing leaves will remind me.
In a few weeks, vulnerable evergreens will be sprayed with a double concentration. Aucubas, hollies, and azaleas (above) are safe through most of the year, but at risk through the winter months. After spraying, my primary concern until mid-April will be shooing squirrels away from the bird feeder.
Presuming that a thirty degree (Fahrenheit) night will put an end to many flowers and perennial foliage, this morning’s farewell tour noted the garden’s every bloom. Certainly, camellias will continue to flower through any early freeze, and soon mahonias will bloom, though today they remain in tight bud. Flowers of Mahonia ‘Beijing Beauty’ (above), less notable by comparison to ‘Winter Sun’ and other late autumn flowering hybrids, are fading, a consequence of a typical brief spell of flowering rather than related to the onset of cool temperatures.