Deer and rabbits get bold when tempted by delicious perennials, wandering close to the house to nibble from whisky barrels and other vandalism. The best way to maintain your garden safe along with your heels looking verdant and full is to plant deer and rabbit resistant varieties. There are lots to pick from ranging from culinary fragrant perennials to prickly specimens and brightly colored flowers.
Flowering Herbaceous Perennials
Include color in your whisky barrels using flowering perennials that deer and rabbits are happy to leave alone. The delicate arching branches loaded with heart-shaped flowers on bleeding heart (Dicentra spectablis), which rises in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, adds a casual elegance to planters. Hellebore (Helleborus orientalis), which rises in USDA zones 4 through 9, is a delicate flowering perennial with drooping blue bell-shaped flowers. If you would like to bring a jolt of bright color, develop either Babylon Montbretia (Crocosmia “Babylon”), hardy in USDA zones 6 through 10, or Fire Dance dwarf poker (Kniphofia hirsuta “Fire Dance”) hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9. While good in containers, a few crocosmia can be invasive in some places.
Woody Fragrant Perennials
Deer and other browsing animals commonly avoid the fragrant foliage of common edible ornamentals such as thyme (Thymus vulgaris), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and lavender (Lavandula spp.) . Thyme, hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9, has small edible leaves and delicate purple flowers in summer season. If you plant rosemary, hardy in USDA zones 8 through 10, pick a creeping cultivar such as “Prostratus” which grows 6 to 12 inches tall and will spill over the side of this whisky barrel. Lavender has an erect growth ideal for adding height to a whisky barrel, fragrant flowers and is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 11 depending on the species.
Deer and rabbits have a tendency to steer clear of anything which has prickles, which makes these spiny plants perfect for an outside whisky barrel. Try globe thistle (Echinops ritro), a 2- to 4-foot-tall perennial with large round purple flower heads which rises in USDA zones 3 through 9. Sea holly, specifically the dwarf variety Blue Hobbit (Eryngium planum “Blue Hobbit”) keeps rabbits and deer away, remains compact — growing just 8 to 12 inches tall — and is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 11.
Foliage Plants to Whisky Barrels
While many leaf plants are irresistible to deer, a few varieties hold up to the starving deer test. Attempt lambs’ ears (Stachys byzantina), hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8, a low-growing leaf plant using silver-gray leaves. The best part about this plant is that the leaf texture: It’s soft and furry. Curly Wurly corkscrew rush (Juncus effusus “Curly Wurly”), which rises in USDA zones 4 through 9, is the opposite of this fragile lambs’ ears. This perennial has ridges — thin stems that curl as they develop from the central stem. Mint (Mentha spp.) , hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9, produces ample foliage, and it’s creamy, too, although the deer avoid this one. Prior to plant mint, however, remember that it can become invasive.