I hate deer.
My deer-hatred is a seasonal thing, peaking in early spring. Most of the year the deer are simply there, like death and taxes and the five hundred local Baptist churches—things I wouldn’t necessarily like, but have accepted and which do not trouble me over-much, unless they commit a particularly egregious act of aggression.
Woodchuck hatred, by contrast, peaks in late summer, when they systematically devour the whorled milkweed and the cup plant, plants that no mammal should be able to stomach. But spring is for the deer.
I went out this morning and found a scene of carnage—my native woodland phlox, which had leapt out of the ground with the enthusiasm of Alexander the Great arriving in Persia, had been laid low. My celandine poppies, a vital spring ephemeral, had been sheared off at the base and was leaking yellowish sap. My Stokes Aster appeared to have been hit with a weed whacker.
They even ate my chives. My chives! I was going to eat those! And they’re CHIVES! They’re on every deer-resistant-gardening list in the country, because they’re, y’know, CHIVES!
My bloodroot, which is perilously close to flowering, was spared, but I no longer trust the deer to leave it alone, so I photographed it, just in case I go out tomorrow and find it devoured.
This is really only a dire problem in early spring. In a few weeks, some unheard seasonal trumpet will sound and everything will be exploding out of the dirt and every time I turn around, something new will have erupted and the deer will have other things to chew on, and other than coming through occasionally to gnaw on my asters (they have a thing for asters) and strip the leaves off my chokecherry bushes, they won’t be too bad. All my delicate plants, like the oakleaf hydrangea, live in the fenced backyard already. (Come to think of it, maybe I should move the chokecherry…)
Meanwhile, they better just leave my bloodroot alone. I’m gonna have ONE spring ephemeral this year if it kills me.