Jan 27, 2014

Arabis blepharophylla

Arabis blepharophylla

ravaged by deer

I'd like to advocate moving Odocoileus hemionus columbianus, the Black-tailed deer, and Odocoileus hemionus, the Mule deer into the order Rodentia. This would allow more latitude in how we deal with the mammoth number of these animals wandering the countryside pillaging property or looking for a handout. It is estimated ['On Science' - Dr. George Johnson] there were approximately 500,000 deer nationwide early in the twentieth century. Today, estimates place the number of deer in Missouri alone at 900,000 and Illinois at 750,000, and in the undeveloped patch of woods and brush next door to us we house a number that seems equally as large. The demise of the cougar, bobcat, coyote and wolf has had a dire effect on the balance between prey and predator. Manifestation of the Bambi Syndrome doesn't help matters either. And our deer are arrogant to a fault. They do not run until you are within a few yards, and then they simply saunter away, masticating whatever choice piece of herbage they have snipped. Shooting them with a pellet gun makes them chuckle, and they often give you an erect tail to contemplate. The only defense that works is a ten foot fence, preferably electrified, and I cannot afford such a construction nor would it be convenient. I have tried all the spray concoctions and other methods I have read about with what looks like a zero deterrent factor. If any of the sprays, pellets, human hair, cougar urine etc. are affecting their eating habits in an adverse way then, other than a few unpalatable nondescript species, our garden would be a rather poor place to spend time. I have purchased a box of 'Plantskydd' which seems to have garnered a lot of positive reviews, but I notice the ingredients are no different than some of the other products I have tried. We shall see. Thank goodness deer are not the most intelligent animal on the planet. Last year I placed two large pots of Tiny Bee and Tiny Hope Asiatic lilies and the Oriental lily Stargazer on either side of a garden path, near a bench. They were heavy with swelling buds and I was looking forward to a startling visual and olfactory display. A couple of days later all the buds from one of the pots were gone, but the other, perhaps three feet away, remained untouched. (This I covered with wire mesh, which while unattractive, did allow me the pleasure of their bright company a week or two later [I kept one eye and nostril closed). It's obvious some varieties are a favorite snack while others grow untouched. Some Hostas, Praying Hands and Guacamole for instance, are forever having to regrow if I forget to cover them. And our nice little grove of 4 foot Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) were turned into Charlie Brown Christmas trees one evening. Now it looks like Arabis blepharophylla is a choice pre-spring entree and we will be enjoying very few if any blooms this year. And I haven't mentioned . . . 

To sum up, I bear no malice toward any creature, or anything else for that matter it's just that sometimes the humor of their escapades escapes me.

I once played Shylock in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice and although most all the dialogue is lost to me now I still recall a speech from Act One, which, to paraphrase the bard: ". . . still have I borne it with a patient shrug, for such sufferance is the bane of all our tribe, everywhere.

More seeds arrived today, to plant and nurse into 5 star fodder, or perhaps, if the cougars return, an eventual bloom.

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