While the mice are away the deer will play. Back in the garden today after a week or so away and it seems that in my absence a rampaging herd of at least 500 deer have munched their way across the garden. The wet soil has added insult to injury, the carving up of the ground would shame an international rugby team, and they pulled up a few plants along the way. But there is no point crying over already digested plant material and, on a positive note, I did notice they had the good grace to fertilise the soil in several places along the way.
So I spent a slightly obsessive hour spraying everything they had left for later, especially the most loved specimens, with Grazers. This is a spray that purports to guard again deer, rabbits, pigeons, the lot, and is based on trace elements, including calcium, which quite simply makes the plant taste horrid. It needs a couple of applications in the dry (!) and once it is absorbed into the fabric of the leaf in theory it can’t wash off; new growth will need to be resprayed once every month. It is also non toxic to all creatures great and small and in theory organically sound. As trace elements are beneficial to the plant it has to be all good. But does it work? Well we have had limited success so far, we will see in the morning. As a back up (or should this be bark up?) I have also re-enlisted Josh as Officer in Charge of Deer Patrol.
Missed this one though didn’t you! Plectranthus zuluensis which has just come into flower for the first time this year. Native to South Africa this shade loving member of the Lamiaceae or mint family is worth the trouble of over wintering for the beautiful mauve flower spikes, set off by the toothed ovate bright green leaves arranged on purple stems. The flowers are rich in nectar and a good late source of food for late foraging insects. Needless to say, these got a good spraying today!