Romantic flowers/gopher resistant/child safe

rosymominzone9May 25, 2011

Looking for relatively low fuss, non invasive (but don't mind and actually prefer if they come back annually) - romantic companian flowers for the roses that are ideally gopher resistant and safe for children. I am not going to plant anything toxic to the young ones.

I bought some bearded irises recently and was wondering if gophers eat them? I have heard possibly not, but I don't want to lose these as they are beautiful varieties. If I have to, I can plant them in wire baskets but would rather not bother unless I have to.

The thread on here about romantic/cottage feeling gardens got me thinking along these lines with my restrictions being toxicity and gophers.

Any recommendations for the front yard too would be great - I have the same issues but throw in deer too!! The backyard is fenced and keep the deer out and hopefully will continue to.


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jerijen(Zone 10)

I don't honestly think anything short of a Weapon Of Mass Destruction will eliminate, or even substantially discourage, gophers.

I wish I did!


    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 1:49PM
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catsrose(VA 6)

Iris are pretty safe. So are sedums, agastache, most herbs, and all daffodils/narcissus.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 1:57PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Nasturtiums are incredibly easy. You can just throw seeds out and throw a little dirt on top. In a mild winter climate though they are more for fall planting than spring planting. Since they are edible, they should not hurt kids if they happen to eat some of the flowers.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 3:52PM
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My experience is that gophers will eat any plant that is not actually poisonous, including irises, which they have eaten in my garden.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 8:21PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

And you will hear that they won't eat daffodils.

Maybe the gophers die later, but I see no evidence of it.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 9:39PM
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Chuckling here...believe it or not our State Dept of Ecology is trying to place pocket gophers on the endangered species list. It's a huge debacle. If it weren't so rediculous it would be funny.
The Ecology Dept folks have been trying to prevent the subdivision of some rural property to protect the habitat for gophers. Dont get me wrong I love the look of rural property but to save Pocket Gophers...too nuts.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 6:28AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Well, they are a food source for raptors, herons, and coyotes. Everything is connected, right?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 3:37PM
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Jeannie, want to talk nuts? Santa Monica, CA. Gophers undermining the cliffs along the Coast Highway so they collapse on the road below even faster than they normally do, so the city decided to bait for them. Local tree hugging citizens exploded. They wanted the city to lace food with birth control so the gopher population would dwindle through attrition. If they do nothing, injured citizens sue the city. If they bait, they get sued, if they use birth control and it doesn't work or work fast enough to prevent landslides, they'll get sued. I'm waiting for the telethon to save body lice. Kim

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 4:05PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

But to get back to the original question, one of my favorite things is salvias -- and there are so very many of them! They're IDEAL for Southern California. Also lavenders. I've had trememdous luck with a Munstead lavender bought a couple of years back, which effectively covers the bare knees of some roses, smells great, looks wonderful, and attracts even more honeybees than we'd have otherwise. I want more of that!
I want to put it everywhere!
And there are some lower-growing fountain-grasses that catch light and air and have a lovely delicate look. Those seem to be remarkably drought-tolerant here.
I'm looking for more stuff like that. Time for a visit to Green Thumb Nursery.


    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 7:31PM
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Thanks all! Enjoying all the talk of celebrating gophers (ha, ha). I will have to check out some of these suggestions. I bought some beautiful bearded irises at the Celebration of Old Roses and I am hesitant to put them in the ground due to the gophers and the deer. Doing my research. I am also newly interested in Clematis as companions to roses. Do the deer/gophers go after those too? I assume the answer is yes. I think I might as well assume yes and use the wire baskets...I just hate having to do that every time.
Jeri - so they don't go after the lavender? Interesting as they haven't gone after mine either. Herbs too ok? So it's ok to plant herbs between roses? Not a bad idea. Any specific recomendations? Thanks again for your rosy input!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 2:59AM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Clematis, I have no clue about. But yes. We have bearded Iris all over the place, here. They multiply nicely, and gophers have never evinced any interest in them. I've never seen any sign that they bother salvias or Lavenders.
BUT remember -- I don't know whether it's that they don't like such things, or whether the rose roots are more attractive to them.
And, we've always had a few things like rosemary and the like around and between roses, with no problem.
I might add -- the dogs have stopped digging up the front lawn, which is generally a sign that the spring flush of gophers has ended here. (Not that they wouldn't still eat rose roots!)
Gosh I hate gophers!


    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 12:59PM
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If lavender and salvia work well oregano & rosemary should work well, too.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 1:45PM
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I don't know about gophers (thank heavens!), but we do have almost resident deer in our garden - I have never seen deer damage on any of the daffodils/narcissus, the Iris, or the foxgloves, even when there is deer damage on plants right next to them.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 3:16PM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

There is a Weapon of Mass Destruction that works very well against's called a badger. As I wrote in an earlier gopher rant, when we moved here, we had a gopher problem for a year or two. Then our resident badger moved into the draw just below our backyard where his/her diggings started appearing (I saw him from a few feet away several times, too). The badger didn't come into our yard or cause any damage, but boy, the gopher problem stopped cold. I sincerely hope our good friend badger has a long life and many offspring. I just wish Mr./Ms. Badger could do something about the *&%$# pygmy rabbits that continue to damage the plants du jour on their bunny menus--not really, they're just too adorable, the little devils.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 7:32PM
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Wow, badgers, rabbits - it's a regular zoo out there! I think I may just protect the plants I care the most about and take my chances on the rest. I love oregano but it takes over! Yes, the gophers are frustrating.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 12:30AM
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