Friday, February 6, 2009

Dinner Date in the Sierra Nevada Foothills

No, we're not having venison for dinner! Perish the thought. That's one of my dinner guests you're looking at. As you can see, she's enjoying an appetizer. 

Garden bloggers around the world are hosting fantasy dinner parties Saturday night, the brain wave of Veg Plotting. 

My fantasy dinner guests are all residents of Nevada County who spend a great deal of time in gardens: garden author Carolyn Singer, garden blogger Pomona Belvedere, and two mule deer. I considered inviting a mountain lion too (another of our wild neighbors) but was concerned that his social skills might be lacking.

Carolyn is writing a series of books on deerproof gardening (the first two volumes of Deer In My Garden are in print right now). 

The two mule deer would be chewing a series of plants in my garden, but there isn't much here to interest them, thanks to Carolyn. One of our perennial beds is in the middle of a longtime deer trail, so the deer hop the fence in, look around, and hop another fence out. 

Pomona is a scholar and a gardener, steeped in lore from garden literature past and present. She blogs at Tulips in the Woods.

Pomona pointed out the potential seating problems, so we will serve dinner buffet style in the living room, where the two deer can recline on sofas.

The menu for humans includes goat cheese pizza and salad; the deer will have organic roses and tulips (I think they like those), with a salt lick as a palate cleanser between courses.

I hope for a wide-ranging discussion on how gardeners and deer can peacefully coexist, with creative and productive gardens alongside happy habitats for deer. It's possible the deer will lodge some complaints about our dog who barks (but does not chase). 

With any luck we can end the evening with some hoof-tapping dancing!


Pomona Belvedere said...

What a delightful menu, I'm looking forward to my share. And I can personally attest to the fact that mule deer like tulips, at least in their nascent form: they nibble off the little leaves and growing stalks. Perhaps as an appetizer? I always thought they took to rosebuds like candy.

I didn't know Carolyn Singer was writing a series, I will have to look up the ones beyond the first volume, as I regard her as a font of local gardening knowledge.

My personal deer entente consists of using a lot of Liquid Fence (I can't blame them when they eat the new growth I've forgotten to spray; I eat, too, and they were here first).

Deer-resistant plants usually work in a good-rain year, but I've found that in drought deer will eat thyme, sage, oregano - all those strong-flavored deer-resistant things I planted.

Some people I know put out hay and/or apples for them (depending what they have most of) at feeding stations a bit away from the garden.

VP said...

Hello there! I wonder what your fellow deer resistant gardeners will make of your choices? Yes, I can see the mountain lion would be a little tricky to accomodate ;)

I was aware of Pomona Belvedere's blog already as another Blotanical friend guest posts on there; Carolyn is a new discovery - thanks!

So glad you've joined in and penned such a delightful post and many thanks for the Blotanical fave, it's much appreciated :)

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

LOL - I'd never invite deer to dinner!

Anna said...

What an interesting mixture of dinner guests. I do hope that you can resolve the issue to everyones satisfaction :) Here it is grey squirrels that are the bane of my life. Maybe I will follow your example and invite them for a meal. I have not come across either Pomona or Carolyn so thank you for the links.

shirl said...

LOL - Yes, a very entertaning evening all round by the sound of it! Oh... I'll have watch my apples served on obelisks for the birds don't attract deer - now there's a thought! Have a great evening :-D

Town Mouse said...

Well, I wish I could be a little mouse hiding in a corner and listening in.
And I do plan to tell Country Mouse about those Deer books, she has the worst time. Unfortunately, so far, many of the things books consider deep proof have been nibbled or consumed by deer who could not read. But maybe she just put out the wrong books for them.

Daffodil Planter said...

Welcome VP! I've enjoyed being part of your international circle of dinner parties--but I think mine was the only "wild" one.

Daffodil Planter said...

Welcome MMG! If you are garden is called "Squirrelhaven" then it sounds like you are inviting squirrels to dine throughout the day (or at least tolerating them). Have they replanted all your bulbs?

Daffodil Planter said...

Welcome Anna! I know you will enjoy reading Pomona's blog and Carolyn's books.

Daffodil Planter said...

Welcome Shirl from (be still my heart) Perthshire! You live in one of the places I long to visit. I'm quite surprised the deer have not sniffed out the apples in your garden. I'm a fan of your neighbor, Rosamunde Pilcher, by the way....

Daffodil Planter said...

Hey TM, be sure to tell CM that I don't even consider buying a plant until I have checked Carolyn's books! An interesting feature in Volume 1 is an appendix of plants that are commonly listed as "deerproof" but are NOT. Saves a lot of gardening dollars.

Michelle said...

I know that my resident deer haven't read the deer proof lists either! Actually, one of their most frustrating habits is to wait until a plant is in full bloom before shearing off every single flower! We coexist in certain areas of the garden because of strategically located fences. Thanks for the leads to Carolyn and Pomona.

Daffodil Planter said...

Michelle, I think your deer have been to the same seminars with my deer--a group of tulips here were just about to open and, well, you can guess the rest. A kind aunt had given me the bulbs and they bloomed with no disturbance the first year.

Glad to be able to point you to Pomona's blog and Carolyn's books.

Jan (ThanksFor2Day) said...

Hi DP-You've written an interesting post! I wouldn't have thought to invite the deer either...but if you have a heart (as you obviously do) it's a thoughtful idea...and potentially helpful too. Afterall, too many wars have been waged when sitting down together breaking bread and talking-yes,
'T-A'L'K'I'N'G'- might have worked instead. Hats off to you for desiring a peaceful solution (or possible compromise?)

Mad Man Bamboo said...

The deer, no doubt, would be great listeners at the dinner table. Nice to see an effort made to allowing deer coexist with your slice of outdoor heaven.



Daffodil Planter said...

Jan and Sean, Our feeling is that the deer were here first. Luckily our favorite plants are rhododendrons, which the deer ignore, so it's easy to have a peaceful attitude!