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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - May 07, 2010

From: Pearland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Discouraging rabbit snacking in the garden in Pearland TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted winecups and pink evening primrose in my new landscape beds amongst other native grasses and shrubs. Rabbits have been eating these wildflowers down to the ground. I want to attract wildlife, but I also prefer flowers to green stems. Are there any good ways to discourage the rabbits from eating my native flowers.

ANSWER:

We Googled "keeping rabbits out of the garden," and got all kinds of suggestions, some of them fairly sensible, some of them not too attractive and a few flat disgusting. Most of the suggestions included chicken wire fences at least 2 ft tall, which we didn't think would look too good around a flower garden. There were ideas for sprinkling blood meal or bone meal or (ick) fox urine around the beds. Human hair was supposed to be a deterrent, and will eventually decompose into the soil. Planting onions in front of the plants was brought up, as well as moth balls in a mesh bag. A few people recommended a dog, even fewer a gun. Peter Rabbit they are not, and they leave little piles of rabbit poop everywhere. We don't have a rabbit-resistant list for native plants. We looked at "rabbit resistant plants" on the Internet; most of the sites were area-specific, meaning we don't think a list of agaves and yuccas that deer and rabbits don't like (from Arizona) would do you much good with your winecups and pink evening primroses. We found one from Pennsylvania-Penn State Cooperative Extension Rabbit Resistant Plants by Laurie Bishow, Penn State Master Gardener. These lists are not all going to be native plants, but will help as a guide as you try to select plants.

Recommendation: Do the same thing we did, and try to find some solutions that work for you, and are pleasing to the eye for a wildflower garden, and if that doesn't work, plant some cactus. 

 

 

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