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Welcome to The Garden Insurrection!

❁Our gardens must become private nature reserves where we treat even the lowliest creatures as our welcome and respected friends. ❁
(The Therapeutic Garden by Donald Norfolk)

Natives vs. non-natives. Survival vs. starvation. The most important factor of gardening is to forget about pesticides and perfect gardens or lawns. We must fight for the survival of creatures who cannot do it for themselves. We must remember the bees and butterflies and all of natures quirky insects. It is impossible for a pesticide to pick and choose what it kills. You kill one, you kill them all. All these perfect knock-out roses that bloom all year, bug resistance, disease resistance. What you probably didn't even notice is that there is also no more fragrance, no more pollen, no more reseeding; nothing for the bees, butterflies, birds. I am sure they will figure out a way to put Fabreze in a rose bush.

I believe in using natives but I am also realistic because when you have visitors every morning who haven't read a book telling them they don't like certain plants, the only way you can provide for others is to plant some non-natives. I try to intermix. Nature is famous for adapting.

I leave all the blueberry bushes for the deer and birds. I can't get to them fast enough anyway. We also leave all the clover and strawberry bushes that the deer mow down.

The plants below are always deer resistant.

chocolate chip in full shade, May
One of the best ground covers is Ajuga. Books indicate it is invasive but you are talking years and years for it to become that way. If it does, you just take a shovel dig up a patch and place it wherever you want it. You don't even have to dig a hole for it. It grows and blooms in the sun, shade, semi-shade. Bees absolutely love it and become intoxicated and don't move from the flowers for a long time. There are numerous varieties but unfortunately, most nurseries only offer one or two. We have Chocolate Chip Ajuga and Rosy Glow throughout our yard. It helps with eroding hillsides, it blooms for months. It is a great plant. Nothing kills it, not deer, rabbits, moles nor snow. Even fawns!

chocolate chip in full sun - after snow, January

rosy glow for hillside erosion, semi shade, has same purple flowers as chocolate chip

Another great plant that everyone thinks is invasive are Hellebores. They are fantastic plants and again take years and years to become invasive. Also like Ajuga, nurseries only carry one or two varieties. The plants stay all year and bloom in January, February, March. These are all in complete shade. They do great in partial sun. Deer, slugs, rabbits have no interest in them.

Buddleias are fantastic. Again, there are so many colors. I only have white and purple. I am hoping to get the tricolor one but will have to order online.

Spirea is a great shrub. There are so many varieties. Bridal Wreath is beautiful and we are hoping to purchase one next year.
 Gravel/sand is a solution for moles and voles. When you dig your hole for your plant, mix gravel and sand down by the roots with your soil. We had to do this with some of our bulbs and dwarf pines.

Iris, cattails and blackberry orchids are all deer and "fawn" and rabbit resistant. Blackberry orchids are beautiful and flowers last a long time.

 I understand why we have to be careful about non-natives. I spent a year getting rid of honeysuckle which had taken over the entire front forest section. We now have all these wonderful flowers, ferns and bushes sprouting up. Every season it is fun to see what will come up next. These have proved to be deer resistant.
gentian and ferns

rattlesnake plantain



Venus looking glass and violets are everywhere. Some of our violets are huge.
Mountain mint and horsemint are always left alone. Mountain mint is not a flamboyant flower but insects love it and it always comes back every year and is left alone by all. If you use seed, plant in the fall and don't expect to see in its full glory until the second year.  Don't deadhead!!! Leave the seeds for the birds; enough will fall on the ground for next year's crop.

 mountain mint

Deer love these; strawberry bush
Most importantly, don't forget to plant milkweed for the monarchs!
Common milkweed for monarch caterpillars should also make it into your garden. They do not bloom the first year if planting from seed. We had 16 caterpillars one morning in September 2018. You can see them on my blog.