Deer-Resistant Containers: Before & After
I thought you might like to see how some of my summer container designs have grown in. All three designs are planted in full sun, are deer resistant, and low maintenance.
The "After" images are approximately 6-7 weeks after planting. They all had Osmocote added as a slow release fertilizer when first planted but have not had additional fertilizer since then. Nothing has been deadheaded or cut back except where noted.
Contemporary and Monochromatic
You may recall helping me design this container! It has looked good from day one, although the ornamental oregano I originally planted did not do well for some reason and has since been replaced with a similar variety called Kent Beauty.
I'm really enjoying this! I love how the colors continue to work with the surrounding landscape and how full and luscious the design now looks. Notice though the discrepancy between the size of the two silver leaved plants (Senecio 'Angel Wings'). That is because they were purchased from two different vendors and is a reflection of their varying fertilizer and growing regimes. Both plants are gorgeous and healthy, but one is much bigger. Lesson learned….
Red Threads alternanthera, Joseph's coat (hidden in this image but you'll see where I added it in the original post)
Quick, Easy and Colorful
The Orange Rocket barberry has been in this pot for several years – I just prune it a little for shape as needed. Truthfully there was zero effort or thought put into this design – I just grabbed three each of three different annuals, focusing on foliage and reliable performance.
I didn't use any long trailers in the design but I like the ruffle of white euphorbia blooms and that blue fan flower is a rock star! Non-stop color and zero maintenance. (I ought to trim away (or move) the barberry at the base of the container as it is visually interfering with the design). In the photo at the head of this blog post you can see how it looks in the context with the cabin and surrounding landscape.
This was the container I planted in the demonstration video for my online course Designing Abundant Containers . It has evolved beautifully as the perennials have changed personality and the annuals have grown. Initially the false indigo and Ascot Rainbow spurge had blooms, but the annual verbena was just waking up. Colorful foliage helped to bridge the gap.
Just over four weeks later and the Ascot Rainbow spurge is still flowering but the false indigo blooms are now small seed pods – and look at that verbena!
By the beginning of August I had trimmed off the spent Ascot Rainbow blooms and was surprised to find another flowering stalk already emerging. The verbena took a two week break from full bloom, although it was never without color. As flowers finished I cut off the developing seed heads…. and then this happened! I struggled to photograph it in the same location as it is now so much wider!
I was pleased that although the silver Angel Wings senecio has got taller it hasn't become "leggy" and that there is still a wonderful density to the abundant, felted foliage. I also like the the way the lemon thyme fills in the front and the verbena mingles unapologetically through it all yet never overwhelms.
I'm about to head out of town so won't see these again for a while. My daughter is in charge of watering while I'm away…..I wonder if they'll look past their best when I get home again or still be photo-worthy?
I hope this series of images helps you see the value of designing with foliage first (I do believe there is a book about that!), and encouraging you that a deer-resistant design can still look both colorful and interesting.
If you'd like more help designing with deer in mind, stay in touch via my newsletter. I've been busy creating a special online course Designing a Deer-Resistant Garden that you won't want to miss, as well as my new book Deer-Resistant Design; both will roll out in June 2019. And as a thank you for signing up for my newsletter I've written this FREE guide just for you. Enjoy!
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Your containers are gorgeous- thanks for sharing all your plant information too! It will be fun to look for some of those plants! With this weather it’s been a challenge to keep things looking good 😀hope you are having a great summer- thanks again Karen for sharing your insights with us!
Thanks so much Peggy – glad you like them. Hopefully the deer are still keeping their distance from your lovely garden
Beautiful designs! I like how you combine plants that I would not have thought to put together. The color of the Royale Romance verbena is gorgeous. I have enjoyed superbena for years but was not acquainted with the Royale series. Is this series readily available?
Thank you Pam! Yes that is a Proven Winners verbena which you should be able to find easily. If not you can order online from PW directly next year – they do a fabulous job of shipping plants
Thanks Gail – glad you like them!