Shade tollerant/deer resistant wildflowers???

fossilnut(Z3-4, NE WA)January 14, 2006

We've recently purchased lakefront property in NE Washington. Cabin is on a penninsula on Curlew Lake and maps show us to be in Zone 5 although the Ag Agent says, in choosing plants, assume that we're in zone 4 or even 3 as extreme temperatures have hit 40 below (once in the last 60 years). I'd like to keep it looking "natural" and am thinking of planting some wildflower seeds. To complicate my plans, much of the area(s) that I'm thinking about are in partial shade (probably mostly shade) and all of them are visited regularly by mule deer.

What I'm ideally looking for is:

1. Shade tollerant wildflowers

2. Deer resistant

3. Wildflowers that can be grown in Zone 3 or 4 and

4. are either perrenials or annuals that will reliably reseed. (I'm lazy!)

I'd really like to be able to plant once and then lay back and admire nature's beauty for years to come! (I'll be spending my time either fishing, veggie gardening or trying to coax an orchard into giving us some goodies .....and probably trying to figure out how to outsmart our mule deer!).

So....any suggestions?????


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Wild Leeks, May apples, Jack in the Pulpit, Bleeding hearts (squirrel corn & Dutchman's breeches), Our native Pachysandra (P. procumbans) are all good deer resistant perennials for shade in Zone 5, and several are listed in zone 4 as well.

These are not plants that can easily be seeded in (except leeks) and it's best to contact a reputable wildflower grower for plants.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 8:36AM
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fossilnut(Z3-4, NE WA)

Thanks for the suggestions. As we'll be moving from zone 9 (Florida), gardening in zone 3-5 will be a new challenge. The area I want to plant is in dappled shade most of the day with an hour or 2 of full sun. Wild flowers grow like crazy on areas of our property that are in full sun...but this area is currently just long grass. I'd wanted to plant California poppies but I'm guessing they'd prefer to be in a sunny area. Appreciate any more suggestions.



    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 7:38PM
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waplummer(Z5 NY)

Western deer have different preferences than our eastern varmints, but those listed should be okay. Anything in the lily family is a no-no in the east, but may e okay in NE Washington.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 9:59PM
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chuckr30(z5, GR-MI)

Deer will eat tulip leaves but not daffodils. Try other spring-flowering bulbs like hyacinth. I have seen daffodils growing in deep shade here at our park.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 12:06PM
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loris(Z6 NJ)

Since this is the "native" forum, wanted to point out that I don't think are any native tulips, or daffodils. A search on the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center did return a few records when I searched on hyacinth, but I think most hyacinths planted are introduced.

Daffodils are listed on, but don't think I've seen them on other invasive lists

I kept a deer-resistent list a GW member had posted for reference based on her experiences in her NJ garden. Only one I found that could take partial shade, and was native to your area was bee balm (Monarda didyma)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 8:33AM
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Welcome to the best part of the world Fossilnut!
We are over the hill from you on the big river side.

We can't thank you enough.
You are doing the right thing.
All our children will benefit.

The only things Mulees dont eat are tin cans, Thistles, Mullen and Napweed. And whatever the elk and the white tails get first.

They come for your grass. The less you have the less they like you. Unless they are taking your water you can "steer" them next door by making sure their grass is easier and better. They are smart about food.

You will have to plant all the floweres and see what likes your micro-climate, some of our flowers are really picky about where they grow. Just remember our flowers arent used to good soils and they like singing.

The beautiful flowers we have are Arnica, Balsam [Arrowleaf], Fireweed, Salsify, Larkspur, Sunflower, Glaicer Lilly, Mariposa lilly, Shooting star [and about 10 other little Lillys], Astor, Death Camas, Yarrow, Fleabane, Spring Beauty, wild strawberry, Waterleaf, Phlox, Buttercup, Mustard, Scarlet Gilia, Sheep sorrel and Shepards purse.
Almost all of them should grow at the lake.
New guys are required to grow Camus, Wild rose, Indian paintbrush and Bitterroot to demonstrate community spirit.

Of course we have a bunch more that don't flower and the birds love the Thistles and Mullen both. We have 7 and 8 foot Mullen 3 inches from our kitchen window so the birds sit at table top levle and eat and sing to us. Our - your new - state birds favorite plant is Thistle.

The Wild Strawberry, Balsam, Phlox, Lupine, Yarrow and Fireweed seems to get ignored by most of the 4 footers. The Deer and Elk take the willow buds and ANYTHING else once the weather turns. You might think about putting out a salt lick and some feed for them away from your flowers if you have enough room. Yard dogs work on everything except carpetbaggers and revenuers.

If you go across to HWY 25 and head south there are old fruit trees along the road you can collect seed from and there are the very best Huckelberrys in the world in all those little hills to your east. The Deer dont seem to like Wild Raspberry much if you like larger plants.

We hope your yard gets full of colour and song.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2006 at 9:35PM
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fossilnut(Z3-4, NE WA)

Thanks for the info, rangdrol. I didn't know plants liked to hear me sing!!! I talk to them all the time but so far they haven't made any requests!!

While we camped on our new property last Spring/Summer, we watched our "Mulies" visit us everyday. I remember them exploring the area of our new septic drainfield that had been "ribboned" off with that yellow plastic tape. They seem to be enchanted with the tape and kept trying to eat it. I figured they'd try munching it a time or two and then decide that it wasn't exactly gourmet chow...but every day or two they'd give it a nibble before heading off to greener pastures! I'm wondering how much they'll nibble "deer resistant" plants if they can't decide if they like yellow plastic tape.

And Yes....I agree... This IS the best and most beautiful part of the world. We'll be heading "home" in a little over a month now and I can hardly wait. Are you near Kettle Falls/Colville???


    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 7:42AM
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Yes they need to hear you sing. I am not kidding. I know it sounds crazy.
I think it is the vibration of happiness they like but whatever it is, it is what they want.
The Wild Rose is special. If you sing to it it will sing back.

You might also like the fossil roses in Republic.

I forgot the little Crocus. There are several colours, they are just now waking up.

Your place should be breaking up about now. We are.
We are down river on the rez.

Yeah Mulees taste the tape because it looks like plant stuff you know? Thin and leaf size. I dont think they have much colour. They also like ciggeretts. They will eat a Marlboro and spit out the filter. My Dad says its the sugar on the leaf.

Any way Welcome home.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2006 at 1:41AM
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fossilnut(Z3-4, NE WA)

If they like singing....then singing they shall get!!! It is so beautiful
there that I feel like bursting out in song anyway.

I really DO talk to my veggies here in Florida. A neighbor gave us a
wonderful, happy "scare"crow who now lives in our veggie garden and usually
has a bird or two on her shoulder. "Crowella & I are forever telling our
veggies how beautiful they are and how much we appreciate them. (Hubby says
it's fine to talk to them but I should let him know if they start talking

By the way...we were in the middle of home renovations (our 650 sq.ft. old
cabin in Washington is getting a full semi-daylite basement) when we heard
from the building dept. that we should pause work until land could be
evaluated as it was an archaeological site. It was somewhat annoying to
have to pay the unexpected expenses, but I'm secretly delighted to find out
the history of "our" new land. In an hour of playing in our dirt, the
archaeologist found 2 arrowheads, lots of lithic material and a few
hammerstones. Now, when I drink in the beauty...I'll also be tasting the
history. Somehow I feel it presumptious to call it "our" land and feel
honored to be able to to share it with it's rightful owners....the mule
deer, the ducks,...and even the Canadian geese which are noisy, dirty and I
love them anyway.

I'm worse than a new parent with baby pictures....but if anyone would like
to see pictures....

And yes....of course I'll be "picking" the roses in Republic! I don't call
myself "Fossilnut" for nothing!. (Republic, Washington has a fossil site
right in town where you can collect fossil leaves, insects and they have
even found flowers). In fact, we first got inflicted with the "fossil
collecting fever" when we visited Republic years ago.


Here is a link that might be useful: Our piece of paradise!!!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2006 at 6:59PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

Here's a link to native plants. You can then do a search to see if they're liked by deer or not. Crocus aren't native either. Also if mullein, Verbascum, is what is meant above, it's not native either. As Lori pointed out above, this is the native forum. If it's not native's you want, you'd be better off asking in a different forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: natives to NE WA

    Bookmark   March 5, 2006 at 11:08PM
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