For my Senior Project at Cal Poly I wrote a manual on Deer Control in Ornamental Gardens subsequently I have used that work, mostly in the form of lists of plants that are resistant to Deer damage, to help me with my design service. My favorite lists were given to me by Bob Tanem at Tanem's Nursery in Santa Venetia (San Rafael, Ca.). Many of you may have heard his gardening program on KGO. These lists are guides at best. When gardening in Deer Country it is a given that everything is an experiment and damage can be done on any plant.
Recently we have had a huge influx of gophers into the area (see my blog- Rodent Explosion) and I started to wonder if there was a list of gopher resistant plants. As I said these lists are not fool proof but can help out. On our landscape projects where gophers are a problem we have to use wire baskets for all the plants and wire under the lawn- costly! I often help at my Mother's home where we have Deer, Gophers, Jackrabbits, Wild Turkeys etc..... and since she lives on a limited income we look for many cost cutting strategies.
After searching the Web and consulting sources I made this collated list of plants to try. If you have any additions or subtractions let me know as it is an ongoing trial.
Lois' Cross Referenced List of Gopher Resistant Plants
Buddleja- butterfly bush
Ceanothus- wild lilac (deer eat these)
Coleonema-breath of heaven
Festuca californica-california fescue 'serpentine blue'
Hyacinthus orientalis, Hyacinthoides
Iris- the Iris Family also Dietes Vegeta or Moraea
Juncus patens- California spreading rush
Lonicera nitida 'baggessens gold'- box honeysuckle
Narcissus and Jonquils- daffodils
Nerium olenader- Oleander
Onions and Garlic- also Society Garlic (Tulbaghia)
Ribes sp.- currants
Schinus molle- California Pepper Tree (latex- caustic sap)
Tagetes lemmonii- lemon marigold
maybe- mesembrianthemum family, oregano, thyme, Echium, Scabiosa, some Cornus sp.,
As you can see there are a lot of bulbs that the Gophers don't like and as with Deer, herby/smelly plants are not a favorite. Many of the plants on the list are also on the Deer resistant lists. Euphorbia lathyris (biennial) is know as "gopher plant" as it supposedly repels them with its caustic latex sap. Will have to try this.
I got an email from "Shake-Away" repellents about my Rodent Explosion Blog and they suggested their products to help out also. Remember that gophers are mostly underground.
I am excited to have this long list to experiment with and will let you know how it goes. I welcome suggestions/comments on plants you have had success with too.
It should be a live and let live world out in the garden not a battle!