A Fresh Take on Deer Resistant Plants from Terrain

The Gardenist

Last weekend I made a road trip to Philadelphia to pick up my kids after a week with their cousins. It was a perfect opportunity to finally visit one of the Terrain garden centers that I have long been admiring online. While there is a store outside of Philly, I stopped in the Westport, CT shop and found so many wonderful treasures… not the least of which was an entirely new slate of plant ideas for Deer Resistant gardening. We can all hope that Terrain's high style garden centers (which had a particularly refreshing selection of plant material) will open in a few more places (Westport and Philadelphia are it for the moment). But until then, those of us who can't make a trip can still get inspired by some of their excellent planting suggestions. These are all things (ideas from Terrain) that I am shopping for this fall as I install new and exciting things to enjoy next year (and that hopefully the local deer population will not annihilate in the meantime). If you live near a Terrain, certainly head on over to pick up some of these plants, but if you don't (like me!) I've done a bit of internet mail order plant shopping (lately my favorite way to plant shop) to help you with resources.

1. Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' available from High Country Gardens is an airy grass whose seed heads looked like little flags. I'm grass obsessed… so this will be a great addition to my collection.

2. Thuja plicata 'Whipcord'. This guy would be pretty in a container, or perhaps spilling over a balcony or wall. The 'corded' branches remind me of dreadlocks and fun summer concerts...it is top of my must have list. I found it at Blue River Nursery.

3. Parthenium integrifolium has the prettiest white flower (on tall stems) and was quite stunning nestled amongst the grasses in the display… perfect for creating a relaxed, prairie-inspired planting. It is available online from Prairie Nursery

4. Fothergilla 'Blue Shadow'. I have planted many, many, (many!) fothergilla plants in my days as a garden designer, but until now I was unaware of the 'Blue Shadow' variety, whose leaves are simply stunning. They are the same shade of blue as the much coveted blue hostas — I can't wait to try out this old favorite plant in a new color. Fothergilla 'Blue Shadow' is available from Avant Gardens

5. Did I mention my grass obsession? Pennisetum 'Fairy Tails', available from Greener Earth Nursery, is the reason why I love grassy plants: perfectly touchable plumes that are perfect for running through your fingers as you pass by. It's like the garden version of the sweet cat that loves to be petted.

Have you grown any of these varieties? How did they work for you? And if you did find that deer ate them, I (for one) would love to know. The deer who live near me seem to have a taste for things that they are not supposed to… and I can never be sure of what will be safe from gobbling.

(Images: Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' from San Marcos Growers, Thuja plicata 'whipcord' from Blue River Nursery, Parthenium integrifolium from Prairie Nursery, Fothergilla 'blue shadow' image form Fine Gardening, Pennisetum 'Fairy Tails' from Green Meadow Growers)

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