In the spring, we hear a lot about keeping deer away from our landscape plants; however, it is in the winter we need to be extra alert to deer strikes. Foraging for food in the forest is not as profitable this time of the year. When it gets extra cold for a long period of time, the deer sprint up the hill from the river to see what delicacies are available to eat in my backyard. And of course, they never come during the daytime when I can shoo them away. They come when I am snoozing away. (Although sometimes I am dragging opossums out of the hen house).
There is a list one of my local gardening centers has pulled together of plants typically found in Southern gardens that deer
Fatsia Japonica - Planted near my house - so near, in fact, it is touching brick columns - is too close for comfort for a deer to attempt a nibble.
Pansies - I tried planting these at the front steps. A nasty varmint (that's what we call deer who eat landscape plants and not woodland fodder) plowed through 10 plats of pansies in one night. Do you know how much 10 flats of pansies cost and how much time it takes to plant them? Never again. I have found planting them in a basket that swings on a hanger is a good deterrent. Which is also good for putting a little color at eye level to see through the kitchen window.
Hosta - A candy-lickin' treat for deer, this beauty is best saved by putting them under a motion light and dousing them with deer-off repellent found at garden stores. Sorry, but this one is a struggle to maintain. Most years I do, but sometimes I lose to the deer.
Camellia - Every good Southern garden has one of these shrubs. I have been fortunate. I think my leaves are tough enough and the plants so close to the house, the deer decide to look for better options. Older is better. Young leaves are what deer like to eat best.
Keep an eye out. Baby, it's cold out there!