Time to think about gopher resistant plants
My first attempts at planting up a shade bed were completely thwarted by gophers. I had planted Caladiums and Begonias and waited patiently for them to put their heads up. None of the Caladiums appeared and only a couple of the Begonias. When I put a shovel into the bed, I found it had been virtually hollowed out by a gopher tunnel! That tunnel had taken the soil away from the roots of the remaining Begonias which I had to replant into pots.
Once I had filled the bed in, I planted Impatiens (Busy Lizzies) and they stayed the course, even though gophers made several more forays through the bed. They also left the Erigeron and the self seeded Osteospernums behind. They didn’t even sniff at the Arum lilies lining the back fence.
So I wondered, what do gophers eat or, rather, which are the gopher resistant plants? I had a look up and down the beds lining the driveway to see which were the gopher resistant plants and found that they didn’t seem to like Pelargoniums or Ice Plant ground covers or Gazanias, nor did the German Irises disappear. I’m now assured that German Irises are definitely gopher resistant plants.
Lavender doesn’t seem to be on their favorite food list and they definitely do not like Daffodils. I have lots of self sown Fox Gloves and they seem quite happy in their spots.
Sadly, I have to take roses off my list. Although none of mine have been touched, I’m told that they do, indeed, like roses, especially if they’re young.
My little Ceanothus ground cover is still there, even if it is looking a bit bare right now, and the Naked Ladies I have behind the roses are growing in abundance. They are all over the place so I can pretty much guarantee that Gophers won’t go for them. My Day Lilies are still around and I had a horde of Crocosmia which stayed put too, adding to my list of gopher resistant plants.
Beautiful Columbines seem impervious to gophers, I’m pleased to say, as do Penstemons. I believe that Columbines are also deer resistant. I planted some Garlic bulbs and some giant Elephant Garlic bulbs in my raised vegetable bed and discovered that that bed is not gopher proofed because the giant Garlic disappeared after a couple of weeks of good growth. Interestingly enough, they have left the ordinary Garlic alone thus far but I doubt they’ll make it through the season.
Of course, I have realized that the escapees and wild flowers I have spied on the road sides must all be gopher and buck resistant, otherwise they would have been chomped by now.
I had some Ranunculas growing happily until one day I actually saw one disappear down a hole! And that seemed to be the only one left from the bunch I had the day before. After that I planted my Dahlias in pots in the bed, a trick I learned from my local nursery. They were kind enough to give me some gopher fencing that I lined my new bed with and that seemed to do the trick although someone told me that, if they really like a plant, they will climb over six foot barriers to get them! Don’t know if that’s true though.
My neighbor, who is 83 and knows probably all there is to know about gardening in these parts, just plants more so that there’s enough for her and the gophers. Having said that, if she happens to catch one, she spears it through the heart with her roasting fork!!
My local nursery, Mostly Natives, also gave me a list of gopher resistant plants and this is the link to their list: http://www.groundcoversandgardening.com/gopher resistant plants and if you want to buy plants that deer probably won’t eat, look here.
Happy gardening and don’t forget your sunscreen. There’s so much skin cancer about, you must protect your skin.