Flowers and Herbs Deer Don’t Eat: Jerome, AZ

Richard Martin’s photo of cactus blooms in
his garden.

Jerome, AZ is located on the edge of wildness. We’ve seen coyotes, skunks, deer, javelina, fox, snakes and mountain lions skulk through our yards. At night, the javelina and skunks meander the gardens and streets with their families. If you run into them, it’s jump up on a car hood time.

Jerome has become a large cornucopia for animals and birds. Most everyone has planted big gardens and trees. The javelina and deer munch right through them, trampling everything on the way.

The copper mines denuded the mountains of its trees to build 88 miles of tunnels and double that for train trestles. Smelter smoke engulfed the plants. When the mines abandoned the town in 1953, Jerome looked like some shipwrecked derelict listing on the side of the mountain. Today, its an oasis on the side of the mountain.

My friend Joey has planted upwards of 60 varieties of trees in Jerome. Some of the pines are now so tall that they are obstructing his mate Katie’s views of the carmine cliffs across the valley and she doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He’s created a micro-wilderness in the backyard going down in the mining gulches below the Douglas Mansion. Hundreds of birds sing in the trees; the fox and coyote build nests. He loves to sit on the porch and watch them.

Deer browse with their noses and lead them to the sweet smells. They adore roses as much as Jeromans love to grow them.

Here are the flowers and a few shrubs that I know that the deer don’t like. Now to amass a similar list for those oil tanker looking piggies.

Agastache, Arrenaria, Ajuga, Aster, Bellflowers, Blackeyed Susan, Bleeding Heart, California Poppy, Catmint (Nepeta), Columbine, Coreopsis, Dianthus, Echinacea, Gaillardia, Geranium, Lamb’s Quarters, Lavender, Lemonbalm, Lily of the Valley, Mexican Hat, Penstemon, Phlox, Poppies, Primula, Red Hot Poker, Ranunculus, Rock Geranium, Rosehip, Rue, Russian Sage, Salvia, Sedum, Shasta Daisy, Veronica, Virginia Creeper, Yarrow, Wolfbane
irisP1000165 Iris from Diane’s garden. Photo by Diane Rapaport

Chives, Chamomile, Cilantro, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme

Allium, Daylily. Hyacinth, Iris (dwarf and regular) and Narcissus

Sometimes deer get desperate and eat plants they never ate before. I once saw one scrawny looking doe chomp down one or two of my Allium flowers and leave the rest alone. They’re a member of the garlic family and maybe her mate told her she had bad breath.

If anyone out there has a handle on what Javelina don’t eat, let me know. I got made when they knocked up against my white peach tree and ate all the white peaches before I tasted even on.

(Portions of this vignette may be part of Diane Rapaport’s new book Home Sweet Jerome, Rescuing a Town from its Ghosts, forthcoming Spring 2014 from Johnson Books (Big Earth Publishing).


Flowers and Herbs Deer Don’t Eat: Jerome, AZ — 2 Comments

    • Had a baby deer born in our yard when we went to the ocean a few weeks ago. The mom teaches it what to eat. There’s enough here for everyone.

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