Letter to the Deer that ate my Tulips

Dear Deer,
You may not remember me, but we met one evening after dinner. You had hopped into my backyard and were chewing on my rhododendrons. I had stepped outside to refill the bird feeder when our eyes met. I’ve always admired your grace and fortitude. Your ability to leap tall fences and survive harsh weather leaves me without doubt that you are a strong, adaptable animal.

Which brings me to the subject of the 45 tulips that were recently growing in front of my house. I don’t mean to imply that you are responsible for their recent disappearance, but the circumstances give me cause for concern. These tulips were from the Netherlands, brought to me as a gift, carted by hand through customs in an overloaded carry-on. Every day I looked to see how tall they had gotten. As they grew, I sprayed them with liquid capsaicin to make their leaves unpleasant tasting, not because I don’t trust you (because I do, deer) but to prevent any accidents. I didn’t want you to mistake my tulips for, say, the salad bar at Applebee’s.

This morning I woke to discover that all of the tulips had been eaten. Someone (and I don’t necessarily mean you, deer) had chewed them to the ground. If it’s not too much trouble, I wonder if you could describe for me your whereabouts during this event? I happened to notice some unusual footprints in the mud, a product of the rain which also washed off my pepper spray. They look cloven.

Would you mind clearing this incident up? I hate to bother you, but as you can see, the evidence is troubling.

Sincerely yours,

17 Replies to “Letter to the Deer that ate my Tulips”

  1. Ditto on the deer, they just ate all of my wife’s newly-planted bulbs/spring sprouts which were approaching 1′ tall. Ate them right down to the ground. I appreciate all the suggestions for trying to repel them, will have to give some of that a try.
    LOL at the gratuitous references to ‘evil republicans’…really! You all need to shut off your televisions at nite once in awhile and get a life. Labeling folks like that is wrong and bears no fruit. A bit like calling the kettle black if you ask me, a libertarian.

  2. Early one morning last weekend I excitedly pointed out the presence of five deer in our backyard to my 7 year old son. They were so close to the house they could hear us whisper(I know this because their ears would spin around and lock onto us each time we spoke) none the less, they stayed about until they became bored and sprang off into the woods. Little did I know that my excitement would turn to rage only one week later.One day after my first three tulips blumed,(I have been watching them with great anticipation since they first popped up after this late winter)they vanished. I am not one to make assumptions or false allegations, but I couldn’t help notice that they had been chewed off at a point quite high for a rabbit or other similarly built varmit.
    One more thing, I also noticed the seemingly incriminating hoov marks after last nights rain. Either our new “friends” are the suspects ot the earlier writer is correct – it’s the devil(or republicans) and he’s gone vegetarian(all 3 are tall enough). I plan on getting up extra early tomorrow morning to find out for sure which of the three is the culprit before I plan my response – I’m leaning towards the deer, but wouldn’t put it past the republicans. Either way I not counting on getting the truth out of any of the three suspects. Time will tell.

  3. I would try Deer Stopper, or any of the products from Messina Wildlife. Spray once a month and this certified organic non-toxic spray keeps everything out of the garden. I have used both the Deer Stopper and their rabbit repellent and they work really well. Plus the best part is that they smell really good, like mint. I have purchased my products on line at http://www.messinawildlife.com

  4. I always blamed the rock chucks for the disapearing tulilps. Then a rabbit happened in and he/she took the blame for all low growing plants. Then this week when I took a friend to my new beautiful rose garden to show off my roses and walla – no stinking roses all eight plants eaten in the night. Now it’s war !
    I have been informed that the tall deer had their Labor Day picnic in my garden. All I want is my roses in the late summer and my tulips in the spring. It’s only a summer cabin for heavens sake give me some pleasure. Advise anyone?? I know gun, fence, dog. Well I don’t have and don’t want gun,fence,dog.

  5. Alix…. you confirmed my suspicion, that a deer may have eaten my rose buds. had a beautiful Tropicana rose bush, that after much TLC, finally had a dozen buds beginning to open, after “harvesting” one bloom for the dining room table…
    getting ready to move the bush to the side of the house, where they have not ventured out into this more exposed area..
    meanwhile, I’m headed to the ammo store, and reading up on my Marine Corps manual, as truly the “battle lines” are drawn..
    Seriously, my Mom grew the most beautiful roses, I remember as a boy in Brooklyn, NY, and I think the torch has been passed to this rose lover in Pennsylvania..

  6. One day I came home, after eagerly watching my beautiful jumbo tulips sprout every day for months. The tulips were finally opening, large luscious red and pink giant tuplips. I came home one day… they were mysteriously missing!

    First I am blaming the lanscapers I had clearing our tree branches, than I am blaming the crazy neighbor. She merely shrugged and said in a defensive voice, “msybe a deer ate it.”

    I am so mad! My tuplips were one thing. So next, I plant a budding blooming rose bush, given to me as a gift. I watch eagerly each day as the rose buds open.. Today, I come home and ALL the rose buds are missing! The roses are gone, the leaves are gone.

    What is going on!? Is my neighbor murdering all my flowers? ? The lavender and the daisies are still growing contedely… is the deer to blame for this? !!

  7. We have had luck with these products:
    Liquid Fence, Deer Scram, Milorganite, and Tree Guard. Have had occasional success with Dial soap (hung in stockings), Bobbex. Biggest two problems are these: 1. It rains heavily and the repellant washes off and needs to be re-applied and 2. New growth occurs and we don’t get it sprayed before Bambi and his 100 friends come to dinner. Part of the problem of having to work for a living and not being able to get into the garden every day ;-)

    I would also suggest that you look into supplementing your tulips with daffodils – the don’t eat those.

    GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!

  8. I have suspected that it is deer, on their nightly sojourns, that are the culprits eating my tulips–cut clean to the ground, mind you. Now, you’ve confirmed my worst nightmare! I planted new bulbs last fall, and after a hard Maine winter, was eagerly awaiting the blooming of these new tulips! Sadly, it is not to be.
    Is there anything I can get that will protect the last few?
    Thank you

  9. Great letter! Sadly, last time I checked, deer can’t read, so unless you’ve tied the letter to the stems of the tulips and they eat it, chances are you’re going to have to read it out loud to them. After that, send the deer down my way, they can join the deer that were hanging around my library looking in the windows for a new book to read. I’m working on a literacy group for them, or maybe a book club. First book to read is on gardening and pest control, I promise! I’ll send them back when we have the “Don’t Eat the Tulips” problem worked out!

  10. Wow, what a funny and good-natured response to such blatant evil! :) Yeah, tulips are like deer lollipops…but, heck, they even nibble on my iris sometimes! You might try inter-planting with lavender…they hate the smell of it.

  11. LOL. We tried gardening in a rural area once. When we were told (after our plants kind of disappeared) that we’d need an eight-foot fence to keep the four-footed felons out, we gave up. Lucky Lucy was the best neighbor, though. She was a deer with a bum leg that she dragged around. Every once in a while she’d just look in our windows at us and I swear she’d smile – then nibble on the shrubs. ;p

  12. Did you know that bunnies think of Gerber Daisies as bright and beautiful cookies? They delicately nibble around the center. Some today, some tomorrow. No more daisies. Bad, bad, bad bunnies.

  13. I don’t have to deal with deer where I am…. but we do have rabbits! Oh, yes, we do! I found a whole bunch (nest? clutch? litter? whatever…) of oh-so-cute baby bunnies in my back flowerbeds last spring. And I am sure that those cute little baby bunnies have grown up to be adult rabbits with plans for raveging my vegetable garden this summer…

  14. unusual footprints? cloven-hooved? Maybe the devil was afoot.
    nah…more likely republicans

  15. Rain shouldn’t do much to remove capsaicin oleoresin, as it is mostly fat soluble. That said, at low dosages it can be quite enjoyable to eat – as evidenced by the endorphin rush some of us enjoy experiencing when eating Indian food.

    In any case, I am sorry to hear about the tulips. Those dear can be voracious, and tend to be incredible jumpers as well.

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