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DOE-n't give up, garden at your property in Muskoka

Sure, they’re pretty and they may even try to fool you into believing they’re docile. Don’t be tricked, this isn’t a Disney movie, if Bambi wants dinner, your garden is a free buffet and he’s not making reservations. 

In the spring, when deer come out of their wintering areas, deer want young, tender grass or herbaceous greenery. In summer, your garden is an evening at the Mandarin and they'll graze roses, hosta, clematis, rhododendrons and so many more types of greenery.  Save your Muskoka real estate from this treachery and wage war on these pesky highly intelligent four legged beauties. The buck stops here.  

Are your gardens (and your sanity) at your Muskoka cottage or home under attack from mischievous rabbits, devilish chipmunks, pesky skunks and what appears to be the hungriest deer in Muskoka? Here are some helpful tips to help you survive the gardening season.

This spring and early summer consider planting deer-resistant plants, but keep in mind that the deer haven't read the list so when a deer is ravenous, they become desperate and less picky about what you’re serving on the menu.

Due to their fuzzy leaves, intense fragrance, or nasty taste, here a sample of plants among deer's least favorite nibbles:

  • Bleeding heart
  • Crocus
  • Daffodil
  • Fritillaria
  • Bluebeard
  • Hyssop
  • Lavender
  • Monkshood
  • Mullein
  • Boxwood
  • Lily of the valley

A more economical approach and with proven success is to create a homemade spray that offers an offensive odor. Keep in mind that spray must be reapplied frequently as plants grow or rain washes it away, here is a home remedy we found on-line:

3 large eggs, shells included 

1 large clove of garlic

2 cups of fresh green onion tops

2 cups of water

Put everything into the blender and liquefy for 2 minutes. Add this mixture to a pail containing 2 quarts of warm water and melted deodorant soap such as dial. Stir together, then add two tablespoons of chili powder or cayenne pepper and mix well. Splash, spray, drip, or somehow paint the mixture on the plants. Be sure to get egg shells on the leaves. When used every two weeks it is effective year-around. Save some of each batch to "ripen" the next batch.

Commercial products like Plantskydd (a bear blood-meal solution) are sprayed directly on plants to ensure they are foul-tasting. 

It is recommended by many experts to rotate your repellents and combine them with other tools like scare tactics such as a surprise burst of water or a loud noise. One popular product is the Scarecrow, which combines a motion detector and a sprinkler that sprays water when deer cross its path. Location is everything with such products, and starved deer may eventually learn to ignore them.

This summer, make it your mission to keep your Muskoka home & cottage gardens green & lush, “BE THE DEER” and become the master of their own game.


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