Plants, Birds, Love and Deer Hate

Hi Friends;

This is the second year in a row I am dealing with a woodchuck.

That's a ground hog to some.

A youngster that is finding my yard its personal salad bowl.

I won't have sunflowers for the finches this fall and other things are getting munched on.

Last year I borrowed a live trap and relocated that one.

I'll be doing the same thing as soon as I get the trap.

Now, I don't know if this furry beast is a problem in your yard or garden but in mine........... it means war.

Doing some research, I can't find much of a list for plants that are woodchuck resistant.

I have observed what it doesn't eat and the list is similar to deer and rabbit resistant plants.

Now what does this have to do with backyard birds you ask?

Well, it helps my blood pressure knowing that certain plants won't become Mr Woody's lunch and several plants are for birds.

Let's Get Started

Several of these plants, you already have in your yard and a few of them you just may want after this is all said and done.

In fact, you may want to beef things up a bit.

The four legged creatures seem to shy away from plants that smell or have a scent.

Most of these smells are pleasing to our senses yet over power the very sensitive noses of animals.

Monardas: bee balms come in several colors and sizes these days. A member of the mint family, you are familiar with the smell of a crushed leaf.

A very eye pleasing flower as well, Monarda is a hummingbird favorite.

Check out some of the newer varieties that are mildew resistant.

Perovskia: Russian sages are known for the tall silver green spikes that are topped with lavender flowers in mid to late summer.

A pungent yet powerful fragrance when brushed against. These garden favorites are drought tolerant and hummers will feed from them as well.

Lavandula: English lavenders have been a garden favorite in our garden for years.

The relaxing smell of lavender and the delicate flowers on the thin spikes set seed for the little birds later in the fall and early winter.

Agastache: hyssops come in many varieties to fit most landscapes.

Again, a hummingbird favorite for your yard.

Salvias: perennials and annuals are a main stay in my garden.

Perennials offer up vivid shades of blue and the foliage does have a strong odor.

Annual salvias are a prime time target for hummingbirds and these are planted in mass quantity to offer up a sea of bright red.

And of course, all the salvia herbs serve as herbs and bloom for the hummers.

Are you seeing a pattern here with plants that have a strong scent and plants that Bugs and Bambi shy away from?

These prolific bloomers also attract protein for the birds in the way of insects.

Nepeta: throw in some catmint and your yard is set with smells only a human could appreciate.

These smelly plants offer some soft and bright colors to any yard.

They give you texture and offer different heights for backdrops and boarders.

Here are a few plants also shown to be deer/rabbit and woodchuck resistant.

Paeonia: peonies, the everyday garden variety never gets munched on does it?

Peonies offer up protection for birds to scurry under and a place to get out of the summer sun.

Astilbes: astilbes are the backbone to any shady garden. They ad color,texture with the foliage as well as the feathery bloom heads.

Attractive and soothing, astilbes offer seed late in the year if you leave the seed heads on like I do.

Asclepias: milkweed or better known as butterfly weed offers up beautiful heads of orange (rare in any garden) that attract butterflies and caterpillars.

The milkweed family is toxic, for this reason, birds have learned to leave monarch butterflies and the caterpillars alone and animals wont munch it either.

Aconitum: monkshood is a beautiful flower that offers up nectar and seed for birds. For humans and animals it offers up a very lethal dose of toxins.

Very few nurseries tell you just how deadly monkshood is

A few centuries back, monkshood was used for poison darts and to put an enemy to death (a warning for those with little kids).

There............ my good deed for the day.

Animals just seem to know that some plants are dangerous.

Stachys: lambs' ears have a soft green gray color that give way to tall spikes of pink flowers.

Lambs' ears also offer up a soft downy material used in making certain birds nests.

Aquilegia: columbines are famous for being one of the first bloomers in my Michigan garden.

An important food source for hummers when little else is blooming.

Columbines also produce several hundred seeds if you dare let them go to seed.

Now, I'm just a bit curious.

Have you ever noticed any of these plants mowed off in your yard?

Here is one just because I like them.

Iris: German, Siberian, and Japanese iris thrive in my garden.

Besides the occasional grub or bug, I can't find a single munch print in my iris.

I like iris simply because the flowers are so beautiful.

A few more suggestions for you.

Grasses: Ornamental grasses of all kinds seem to be critter resistant and grasses offer up seed, protection, nesting materials.

Grasses are just way to cool.

Ad some fall bulbs like Allium, hyacinth and daffodils and you have a pretty green yet tough barrier for the animals to crack.

I'm on a mission, can you tell?

Until next time my friend.

Smile and confuse someone.


Ron Patterson has been feeding and caring for backyard birds for the past 40 years. He is always looking for better and safer ways to feed and garden for birds. Ron is a Michigan Certified Nurseryman as well. This gives him the expert experience and knowledge needed to garden for birds. You can find Ron's weekly newsletter "Backyard Birding Tips" at:

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