Friends asked me the other day why I looked so happy. I spun around, leapt up in the air and did a double cartwheel-backflip, shouting DEER FENCE!!! These guys know me pretty well and are prone to forgive and even encourage my embarrassing public excesses, so they jubilantly sang deer fence, deer fence with me as we linked arms and skipped down the street.
Okay, I’m exaggerating.
But not much. Any gardener who’s had her sacred plot ravaged by deer knows what a ten-foot tall fence means. Peace, sanity, preservation of a way of life. Not to mention tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, okra, and green beans--all homegrown like they’re s’posed to be. Are you surprised I fenced the veggies first? A gardener’s got to eat well to do her best work, right?
I did slip a few flowers into our 16x16 space: zinnias, nasturtiums (hey, they’re edible), mammoth sunflowers, climbing hyacinth beans and moon vine. I deliberately did not start adding plants like coleus and elephant ears from my collection of deer-tasty tropicals. That way madness lay, or at least serious overcrowding, which would earn me evil looks and loud complaints from my fence-building partner. Those plants will just have to enjoy one more summer in containers. Luckily, deer leave lots of tropicals untouched, so I can still grow cannas, bananas, lantanas, ginger lilies, salvias, and funky-smelling plectranthus unprotected.
Now that we have fresh pesto and tomato sandwiches covered, my partner and I can concentrate on fencing the rest of the garden. Next time my friends see me, I may just be somersaulting over a star!
Pam Baggett, author of Tropicalismo