Dahlia Does Design

A young fawn foraging for food. PHOTO COURTESY OF DAHLIA WOODS

Surviving the summer

Continuing my summer in the city series, let’s talk about the one of the wild animals that roam our neighborhoods. 

We have a family of deer that visit every afternoon and evening. The papa and mama have three fawns. They graze on various tasty plants in both my yard and my neighbor’s. Occasionally they nibble on my flowers and rose bushes – which I really don’t mind. They are such beautiful, sleek animals. I keep a tub of water in the backyard for them to quench their thirst.

Instead of lamenting their foraging in my garden, I have started to plant deer resistant plants. And it works. Here are a few: Rose of Sharon, Sunflowers, Coreopsis, Coneflower, Honeysuckle, Crape Myrtle, Mint and Rosemary.

​The herbs tend to be bitter and they have a sweet tooth.

I’m aware that the proliferation of deer is caused by people encroaching on the land, building over forests that have been their home– as well as the lack of predators. And, yes, they do cause havoc to gardens and carry ticks which may cause Lyme Disease. However I try to keep full perspective: admire their graceful profiles and their determination to survive.

There are natural deer deterrents such as sprays and granules that you can spread in your garden to discourage their chomping– the deer just move on. Check on line. Lowes and Home Depot carry these products. Make sure the ingredients are safe for all flora and fauna. Another solution is to spread corn in the same location every evening– the corn has great appeal and the dear deer lose interest in your garden.

I met a gentleman named George at McCoy’s who buys large quantities of dry corn for the deer. He and his wife have set up a feeding station in their backyard and enjoy cocktail hour every evening around 5 p.m. watching the deer, birds and rabbits congregate for a feast. George is an avid hunter, so when the feral hogs appear that is a great opportunity for the perfect shot. He draws the line on unpleasant intruders.

A fence around your garden area is also a solution. Use a wrought-iron keeps the deer out but leaves the view of the rest of the yard - and lets through the breezes we need in the hot weather.

Even though my two dogs (a Shih Tzu and a Shih Tzu/Terrier) are each about 10 pounds, my pups always challenge the deer, who are about 50 times bigger. The deer almost always run away. In fact, Miss Pinky and Little Ruffy decided on one occasion to give chase and the deer now always keep their distance. In any situation there is a compromise– so be kind to these wild four-legged creatures and find the balance that works for your garden. Happy Summer.


Life is short. Be happy.

Dahlia Woods

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666