Gardening For Dummies In Deer Country    
By Patricia Roberts

You’ve labored long and hard all day.  You’ve been down on your hands and knees placing colorful plants in all the right spots.  You stand up slowly and dismiss the pain while placing a hand on your aching back.  You smile proudly at your creation.  Ah! Color!

You retire in peace, with your heating pad of course, dreaming of purple and pink petunias, yellow and orange marigolds, and multi-colored pansies.

Morning has arrived.  You pour your coffee.  You look out the window.  It’s time for screaming.  You do, not once, but twice.  You don’t curse because sweet ladies with brimmed gardening hats don’t do that.  Okay, they do.  The deer have enjoyed an early morning feast and you no longer have a garden. 

The word dummy flashes across the ribbon of your woven hat and turns your face red.  You do live in deer country!  You knew that.  So how is it you prepared a gourmet meal fit for a king?  Bambi was royalty, wasn’t he?  Wolfgang Puck could not have prepared a better menu for the rich and famous.  You offered a sunrise buffet to four legged darlings and for free.

So, you plan a course of action.  You are going to fight for survival of the last few blossoms.  You search the internet, read relevant articles, and consult certified gardeners.  You learn that fences from 7-8 feet tall are effective barriers, but too expensive.  Chicken wire is within your budget, but who wants to look at that?  You decide against stuffing your pantyhose with human hair and hanging them from trees.  Someone just might find out your true size.

An idea forms.  You can instruct your husband and/or sons to wizz around the borders of your garden.  It’s cheaper than purchasing cans of coyote urine granules.  You can play dumb when neighbors report sightings of males unzipping their pants in your yard.

Dogs are the best choice for frightening deer away.  You don’t have one?  Again, male family members can be of use.  They’ll enjoy throwing rocks, shooting be-be guns and making loud noises all hours of the night.  You can remain innocent when the neighbors complain.  Your men can say you told them to do this, but everyone knows they’ve never listened to you before.  Okay, none will be happy with you.

There are other choices.  Garlic and rotten eggs can be sprinkled in your flower beds.  Your friends can plug their noses and gag.  You can scatter allergy producing soap particles around.  Your friends can sneeze.  “Poof”, deer and friends disappear.

You’ve done it now!  You are unpopular with your friends, neighbors, and your men.  You can make amends by making them tasteful dinners.  You did that for the deer.  Eventually, they’ll return to you.  The deer will too.  There are no sure ways of keeping them away forever.  Wait, you could refuse to be a “Dummy Gardening in Deer Country”, and take advice from local nurseries.  You’ll save your time, money, and relationships.

Patricia Roberts is a retired speech and language pathologist working on a new career in freelance writing.  One is never too old to chase their dreams.  Patricia can be reached at

How Not To Be A Dummy
(Advice from local experts)

Plant what deer don’t like:

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