There are several ways to deter deer from making a meal of your plants. If adequate fencing is not a possibility, I suggest planting flowers, bushes, and shrubs that are not appetizing to our four-legged friends and to avoid certain proven deer-attracting plants! A hungry deer may be hard to deter, but giving it a less appealing options is a sure-fire way to decrease the likelihood that your lovely garden suddenly becomes a cafeteria.
First, let’s start by what is on a deer’s menu. Roses, azalea, rhododendron, yew, day lillies, pansies, and tulips (which, unfortunately, happen to be some of my favorites!) are all deer-friendly.
Luckily, there are plenty of options that are far more deer-resistant! Some options for trees, shrubs, and vines are boxwoods, junipers, Japanese cedars, American holly, magnolias, and wisteria.
Annuals and perrenials that are fairly deer-proof include herbs such as sage, thyme, and lavender, as well as jack-in-the-pulpits, lily of the valleys, marigolds, columbine, snap dragons, and oriental poppies.
If all else fails, some gardeners swear that “Irish Spring” soap is an effective deer-repellent. Though I have not tried it myself, hanging a bar from a shrub couldn’t hurt!