Deer-Free Garden Dreams for 2014

It always amazes me that after just a few months respite from gardening I suddenly find myself dreaming of next seasons adventures. Moving the shrub that got too big for the front garden over to the back garden where it will have a bit more breathing room. Or making a list of new vegetables to grow in 2014 encouraged by all the glossy seed catalogs arriving daily. Perhaps what gets me the most impatient for spring is the anticipation of trying new plants. So just in case you have the same plantaholic syndrome, here are a few I will be hunting for as soon as the snow promises to stay away.

 New Millennium 'Dwarf Stars' Delphinium


Dwarf Stars delphinium - new from Walter's Gardens

Dwarf Stars delphinium – new from Walter's Gardens

There is nothing quite so quintessentially English as a stand of tall delphiniums in shades of blue, lavender and pink, soaring skywards on 6' stems. The reality, however, is endless tying in of those stems to prevent them being blown down in the slightest breeze. This new introduction solves all that, as these beauties stand just 2 1/2 feet tall! Their more manageable size means you can enjoy them in the middle or front of the order too which makes cutting them for the vase much easier.  A  bonus for me is that these are reliably deer resistant. Hardy in zones 3-7 and thrives in full sun.

Yuki Snowflake Deutzia

Yuki Snowflake deutzia - new from Proven Winners

Yuki Snowflake deutzia – new from Proven Winners

Delicate white spring flowers appear at the perfect time for spring gardens while its tidy, mounding habit and attractive fall color make this deciduous shrub a three season performer. Deer resistance means that even I can grow it and at just 2' tall and wide there are lots of options for enjoying this in the garden or a container. Hardy in zones 5-8 and does best in full sun.

Scarlet Torch™ Bottlebrush (Callistemon rigidus)


Scarlet Torch bottlebrush will have the hummingbirds camping out in your garden! new from Monrovia

Scarlet Torch bottlebrush will have the hummingbirds camping out in your garden! New from Monrovia

I have to satisfy myself with enjoying these in other peoples gardens as my zone 6b is just too chilly (and wet). However for those of you in more temperate zones 8-11 should get this new introduction on your shopping list! Prolific, crimson-red bottlebrush-like flowers adorn this low maintenance evergreen shrub like out of season Christmas decorations. This new introduction from the University of Georgia has larger blooms than other varieties with an excellent rounded form. It is a good choice for the back of the border where it will reach 9' tall x 12' wide in 10 years. Plant in full sun and well drained soil.

Spice Ball™ Koreanspice Viburnum  (Viburnum carlesii)

if this was scratch-and-sniff you'd swoon!

If this was scratch-and-sniff you'd swoon!

With its fragrant spring blooms and attractive habit, this compact Korean Spice viburnum is a great addition to smaller gardens, providing all of the spicy, intoxicating spring fragrance in a petite package. I have found the deer will nibble the new shoots of my other viburnum so I'm curious to test the claims of deer resistance on this one. Spice Ball grows 4-6' tall and wide in full or part sun and average – moist soil. Hardy in zones 4-8

Creme Fraiche™ deutzia (Deutzia gracilis)


Never mind the flowers - look at the foliage!

Never mind the flowers – look at the foliage!



I've saved my favorite for last! If you enjoy foliage as much as flowers then this new deutzia is bound to earn a spot in your 2014 plans. I was given a 'baby' one to try from Proven Winners  last year and it definitely looks promising. Unfortunately because these samples are so young they take a while to show their full potential but I was struck by how fresh and clean this variegation was. At just 12-24" tall and wide this is a good container candidate but could also be used to edge the front of a border. Hardy in zones 5-8, this deutzia does best in full sun and moisture retentive but well-drained soil.

More FOLIAGE dreams

More FLOWERING dreams

What's on your 2014 wish list?