Friday, August 17, 2012

Sedum Smorgasbord Served

ProfessorRoush, why do you grow sedums as an edging plant?

Because, my Dear, they are drought-resistant and make nice tidy foliage clumps and they have disease free foliage and they bloom brightest and best after the roses are tired and also because the deer leave them alone.

But ProfessorRoush, why then have you clipped off the blooms on all your sedums this late in the season?

Because, as you so often make me aware, Mrs. ProfessorRoush, I was wrong.  Again.  I didn't clip them, the deer ate them.  The deer love them.  Indeed, if you search the Internet or books, there will be any number of websites that list sedum as a deer-resistant plant (including a pamphlet from a local gardening store that I based my decision on), but many of those were written by evil gnomes and are dead wrong.  As usual, I should have looked to the Universities of this fine land for definitive information.  Rutger's University has a very well laid-out webpage that lists sedum as "occasionally severely damaged."  North Carolina State Extension has a nice pamphlet as well, listing them as "occasionally damaged".   As a Extension Master Gardener, I should have known better than to trust a non-research-based source.  I am expecting a hit squad of Mossy Oak®-camouflaged EMG's to show up at my door at any minute, demanding my trowel, Felco's and my EMG name badge.

I don't wish to be full of sour grapes, but what the heck kind of a term is "deer-resistant" anyway?   I understand the evolutionary advantages for Lamb's Ear, for example, to have developed a fuzzy surface that is distasteful to deer, but the plants don't really resist the deer, the deer just resist eating certain plants. Until, in the midst of a drought, they're hungry.  After that, Watch Out, Nellie, because the stupid large furry rats won't even leave the junipers alone. 

Lesson learned.  By edging a nice rose bed with 'Matrona' (Sedum telephinum) divisions, I have merely set out a smorgasbord of sweetly-flavored succulents during a drought.  HEY THERE!  DEER!  LOOK OVER HERE!  Don't bother with all that tall dry grass, come get these velvet-lip-wetting candy treats I've set out for you.  And please, nibble on the roses on your way through, pretty please?   To quote Charlie Brown, "Good Grief!"

14 comments:

  1. At least they haven't wrecked your sense of humor! :)
    We don't have the deer problem here any more, but we were so over-run by rabbits a few years ago that I felt like everything I planted was another dish in their salad bar! They even took out my new Oak Leaf Hydrangea. Bunnies! How do BUNNIES take out Hydrangea? Crazy.
    KZK

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  2. Hmmmm. I have 3 German shepherds that might have fun chasing your "large, furry rats"! Come to think of it, wouldn't you have access to said deer control somewhere?

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    1. I do, but then that would consume food otherwise used to buy plants.

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  3. Guess your going to have to buy some fox urine. Believe it or not I used to sell it. And the UPS drivers hated it, as they often damaged the boxes.

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    1. Yeah thats the ticket, fox urine right by the front door. he he.

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    2. Lovely....are you sure that mountain lion uring wouldn't be better? That would give me that great unneutered male cat smell as well....

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  4. Well, sedum is edible to humans, so of course the large furry rats relish it as well. How about some icky-tasting wooly thyme?

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    1. Hmmmm....how would thyme do in my drought? I've never tried it but I should now that I'm up a Hardiness Zone.

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  5. You plant them and they will come. Very funny Professor. They do not like Helleborus foetidus although that is a shade plant...perhaps a nepeta or calamintha would do there? Take that, Bambi!

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    1. I've heard that about Hellebores. At least for now, they haven't bothered the native catmints here.

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  6. Funny, but probably not to you! As I was reading, I was thinking about a bed that needs some edging - and needs to be deer resistant. And I, too, was wondering why you cut them down this late in the year! Well, I will definitely not be edging my bed with this plant! Thanks for sharing your valuable experience!

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  7. Hello Prof. Rousch, my husband is glad to hear of another man who calls a rat a rat! I live in a small city with many natural areas and residents who feed the cute native wildlife. This means the deer come clomping down the streets at dusk in evil posse(s) because there is no law in this town. We are a city, no hunting, even with bow unless your property is at least 2 acres. If one is trying to drive a car down same street as the deer, a honk will only net haughty looks down deer noses.

    I am planting my new city garden with a barberry hedged perimeter to protect the 10 ft evergreens which should keep the deer from leaping into the smorgasbord inside. Meanwhile my husband has bought an air pistol to attempt to teach the deer a lesson while tipping his porch chair, cowboy boots on the railing, my hero!

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    1. Just an air pistol? I understand, the "federales" might not take kindly to more powerful projectiles in the city limits.

      I haven't turned lethal yet, myself, beyond applying a little peanut butter/aluminum foil treats to teach the deer the value of the electric fence around the vegetable garden. But I get closer every day.

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