A garden that tolerates deer and resists drought

Lauren Bonar Swezey,  – November 23, 2004

Maintaining a beautiful garden in the middle of deer country might seem like an impossible dream, especially where the water supply is limited. Despite these challenges, landscape designer Robert Howard and his associate Mike Ransom created a dreamy landscape in the Boulder, Colorado, garden.  They used unthirsty plants–ornamental grasses, perennials, and shrubs–to compose a naturalistic garden that tolerates grazing deer, yet fits handsomely into the foothills.

The grasses–blue fescue, blue oat grass, feather reed grass, maiden grass, and Panicum virgatum–provide interesting color and form much of the year. “Deer regularly move through the garden and munch on the ornamental grasses, but you don’t notice any damage because of the plants’ informal shapes,” says Howard. Around the grasses grow Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa), Rosa rugosa, santolina, and three-leaf sumac (Rhus trilobata). Boulders of local sandstone “moss rock” anchor the landscape and blend with the hilly terrain.

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