Archive for Deer

The First Fawn of the Spring

He couldn't be more than a few minutes old

He couldn’t be more than a few minutes old

Yesterday we saw our first fawn of the spring.  His mother must have just given birth in the spruce border between our house and our neighbors to the south because the tiny fawn could barely hobble and was still a little wet.  As she exited the trees with the little one, her two fawns from last year, now nearly full grown, came over to sniff him.  The doe chased them away and this seemed to generate much confusion on their part.  This went on for about half an hour and the two fawns of last year finally left and went out of the yard and up the street.  Does nurse their fawns and stash them for the day, returning infrequently to check on them, so we didn’t see the fawn over the day, but in the evening my husband stumbled across the place where he slept and we were able to see him.

Safely stashed for the day

Safely stashed for the day

You must never think a fawn has been abandoned if you make such a discovery, it’s best to leave them alone as the mother knows exactly where she left her fawn(s).  This morning the doe was chasing last year’s fawn away again.  I think the little one has been stashed in our deer resistant plantings to the side of the house.  Deer usually have twins but I think she only had one this year.

We have such a terrible problem with deer browsing in this area and they have nowhere to go with more and more wild places being taken for suburban housing, but I still do love to see the fawns every year.

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Early Spring Pleasures: Hellebores

When I moved the leaves, the new flower buds were easily seen.

I discovered Hellebores (Helleborus niger) some years ago when I was searching for shade loving, deer resistant plants.  While they are not native and not bird friendly (high priorities for me), I value them for their  extremely early bloom and low upkeep.  Also known as the Lenten Rose, the foliage is poisonous and deer give it a wide berth.  There’s something medieval about their appearance.  At this time of year a little maintenance is necessary, but for the rest of the year, you can leave them alone.   This is the time to prune away last year’s foliage.  It has lasted through the winter but shows winter’s ravages in the browning leaves.  I do this when I see the new buds peeking up through the leaves.  All that needs to be done is to carefully snip away the leaves close to the earth and remove them, taking care not to snip off a flower stem.  Soon their gentle blooms will bring you pleasure.

Now that the leaves are gone, these flowers will grow and open in a week or two.

Now that the leaves are gone, these flowers will grow and open in a week or two.

Eighteen days later.

Eighteen days later.

Buy them on sale if you can as they can be expensive.

Buy them on sale if you can as they can be expensive.

These two were on a fall closeout sale at White Flower Farm

These two were on a fall closeout sale at White Flower Farm

 

 

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Bird Friendly Plant Success: Yellow-rumps Come to the Bayberry

MYWA

This little shrub is only two feet tall and already it’s a success!

We have gone to considerable expense and effort over the past five years to remove old deer ravaged exotic plants (rhododendrons, arborvitae and azaleas, etc.) and replace them with native, bird friendly, attractive, low maintenance shrubs which we hope are deer resistant.  The newest of these plantings, Bayberry (Mirica pensylvanica), filled our hearts with joy yesterday when we looked out to see Yellow-rumped or Myrtle Warblers eating the bayberries on this little shrub.  Myrtle Warblers get their names from the fact that they are able to turn from eating insects to eating berries when the insects die off in the fall.  They favor the fruit of the Myrtle family such as Wax Myrtle and Bayberry.  The deer haven’t touched the Bayberry bushes, so I think they will fulfill our requirements beautifully.  Try some.  The are dioecious (having male and female plants) so get female plants and one male if there are no others around, to have berries.  Be sure to get them in the fall so you can see the berries on the plants.  It’s easy to get fooled and you don’t want to end up with all male plants.

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White-tailed Deer Fawns are Everywhere

 

Fawns are very curious.  here they are standing at the edge of my herb garden inspecting some logs.

Fawns are very curious. here they are standing at the edge of my herb garden inspecting some logs.

I went to turn the hose on and startled a fawn from under a bush beside the spigot.  I walked by the Forsythia bush and a fawn lept out and ran away.  I opened the garden gate to go in for my daily hour of weeding and a fawn ran out from under a rhubarb plant, just outside the garden.  Yikes!  They’re everywhere.  Their mothers stash them in what they think is a safe place, coming back every so often to nurse them during the day.   Meanwhile they’re on their own in our yard, free to frolic and watch me weeding.  I was doing just that this morning when I was aware that someone was watching, and looking up, there were the fawns standing outside the fence.  I called to them and they came a little closer but when I opened the gate to get my camera, they fled.  I came back with the camera and managed to get a couple of pictures of those I call my “deerlings.”

Winter view, the whole family in the backyard.

Winter view, the whole family in the backyard.

I love to see the fawns.  I even saw one being born once, right outside the dining room window, but they grow up to be chompers of valuable foundation plantings.  I have called a truce and am replacing all the deer attracting plantings with deer resistant, bird friendly, low maintenance native plants.  Yes, there are a few.  These gems will be subjects of future posts.

Isn't There Some Way to Get Into This Garden???

Isn’t There Some Way to Get Into This Garden???

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