Increased watering in the front garden has produced some nice results, combined with some additional gravel, the front garden area looks good for guests. All except for 3 plants of the same species. The tall woody plants have thick waxy leaves and produce tall clusters of delicate purple flowers but dense coverage of leaves only occurs above about 5'. The original hypothesis was the differential leaf coverage was the result of a lack of water early in the growing season and the denser foliage represented new growth. The possibility of the Javelina nibbling on the leaves came to mind but was rejected since the lack of leaves seemed to be higher than Javelina could reach. In addition, several broken branches up high on the plant were observed, but this could have been the result of wind damage. It did not register that other browsing species might be the culprits. Yesterday I caught 2 deer (mule deer) in front garden area and realized immediately that these browsers explained the differential loss of foliage and the broken stems. The local mule deer have been regularly visiting the front garden and feasting on this particular plant species. While the deer only find this plant species appealing and have not damaged other plants, it brings to 5 the number of mammalian species which have visited the front garden smorgasbord this season including Badger (digging up water lines in search of rodents), Javelina, Deer, and of course Rabbits (cotton tail and jacks). Just one more indication of the hard year the wildlife is experiencing with the lack of rain. The monsoons are expected and indications such as increased cloud cover and virga is visible around the valley many days.
|Results of deer browsing in the garden|
After a couple of weeks of monitoring these shrubs that seem to act as deer attractions the plants are recovering.
|A recovering shrub in the front garden|