At least they're not giraffes

Take a quick look at the following photo of my garden:

What do you see? Is it an evergreen vine of some sort, winding through some deciduous shrubs? Not exactly.


Here's another look:

Does that help at all?

How about a hint: do you know how tall white-tailed deer are?

These are some sort of Euonymous shrubs that the deer prune for me all winter long, except those ruminants can't (or won't) reach the highest branches. So the plants are leafy on top, and barren and twiggy below.

Leafy tops:

Barren below:

That's some heavy branching! I don't think I'd prune these exactly this way, if I had a choice.

The thing is, I don't really care. I ripped these shrubs out a decade ago -- they were planted near the house -- and since I didn't like throwing away plants even back then I just planted them carelessly in the wild area at the back of my yard. With absolutely no care (I forgot about them completely for a couple of years) every single one of them survived, and actually thrived. Euonymous is a tough genus!

The deer love these leaves during the winter, and I'm happy they'll eat this instead of more favored plants.

The fact that the tops leaves escape the deer bellies probably helps the plants survive, but the truth is that even the short plants that get completely defoliated...

Even they will survive and bounce back in the spring.

What always confounds me about these shrubs is that they're happy to turn into climbing vines when they get a chance:

"Hey, I'm growing right next to a tree!"

"Time to activate grippy tendrils..."

"...and let's start getting out of control!
Just try and eat me now deer!"

Maybe I do wish I had some giraffes around.


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sandy lawrence –   – (February 16, 2012 at 7:32 AM)  

Wow. Learned something else from you today, Alan. I don't care for these shrubs either, but I had NO idea they would morph into a vine.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (February 16, 2012 at 12:27 PM)  

Euonymus is a widely used landscaping shrub in our parts, but I've never seen it act like a vine. That's kind of cool, actually. And if the deer are happy eating it instead of something closer to your heart, then it's a win-win for everybody :-).

Alan  – (February 16, 2012 at 12:54 PM)  

I should post photos of the Euonymous that is going up one of those trees in back -- it's got a huge trunk and is 30' tall.

HELENE  – (February 16, 2012 at 7:19 PM)  

Ha ha, this post made me least they're not moose! I grew up in Norway, and there I used to have moose walking round my house and in my garden, especially in the early spring when food was scarce. They are absolutely huge animals (Google if you are not sure what I am talking about), and they could rip off new growth on bushes and trees more than 2 metres up. Fortunately I don’t have to go ‘moose patrol’ in the evening anymore, I live in London now, haven’t seen a moose in 13 years :-)

Sylvanna  – (February 17, 2012 at 10:33 AM)  

Thanks for the laugh. It's great how some things tossed aside can bounce back and surprise you.

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