Steeves: Bright spring flowers provide deer feed

The colourful bunches of crocus out in my garden have really lifted my spirits in the past couple of weeks and I’ve been looking forward to more colour from other bulbs that are up but not blooming yet.

The deer may look harmless

The deer may look harmless

The colourful bunches of crocus out in my garden have really lifted my spirits in the past couple of weeks and I’ve been looking forward to more colour from other bulbs that are up but not blooming yet.

If you look closely, the brown hillsides are a mass of bright yellow sage buttercups hiding amongst the clumps of dried bunchgrass, and really close inspection reveals the dainty fritillaria pudica, the spring yellow bells, which are also out, surrounded by delicate pink fringe cups.

Yes, the first spring wildflowers have brightened my hikes around the Okanagan and my spring bulbs are doing the same at home.

I even bought a few pansies for the bright colour they’ll provide until the hot weather arrives in July, and carefully planted them where I can enjoy them from the windows.

Longer days to enjoy the new colour are a joy as well.

If it all sounds just too perfect to be true—it is.

Most of it is, well…was, true.

But then I looked out one morning this week and all the colour from my bulbs—and the pansies—had disappeared.

I rushed out to see who had stolen my bulbs and plants.

Branches of pansy and bits of crocus lay strewn around the hoofprints, but most of the bulbs had been chewed nearly right down to the ground, many before they’d even had a chance to bloom.

They didn’t even eat everything they took.

There were just a few clumps of crocus left in one piece and a couple of the pansies had literally been ripped out by the roots.

I know the deer love tulips so I haven’t planted any in more than a decade, despite the fact I love the many varieties and their glorious colours.

I don’t garden to feed the deer. I figure there should be lots of feed out in the wild for them.

But, they insist on making themselves right at home in my garden.

I ran into three does when I was hiking in the park Saturday and I paused to let them pass by without startling them.

I just thought that would be the respectful thing to do since I was in their back yard.

I didn’t pick any of their yellow bells or buttercups.

So why do they have to come into my garden and chew it all to pieces and spit it out?

I’m thinking venison would fit really nicely in my freezer.

Meantime, the fellows at Trout Waters Fly & Tackle are holding their annual Castaway Day to help everyone get into shape for a summer of fly fishing this Sunday.

It’s April 17, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Sutherland Park on Ellis Street in Kelowna’s  north end, beside Tolko.

Nick Pace says it’s a great opportunity to try out your new fly rods or some you would never think of casting, like the very light #2 weight or heavy #8 weight rods.

There’ll be some Spey casting demos so bring your waters and booties.

RIO will hold a long distance casting competition that you could enter and win some prizes.

Go and see Nick and Savas at Trout Water if you have questions, or just drop in on Sunday.

Judie Steeves writes about outdoors issues for the Capital News.

 

jsteeves@kelownacapnews.com

 

 

Kelowna Capital News