Garden Photo of the Day

Dodging the Deer with Containers

Gardening on the deck avoids hungry mouths

I am Surinder Chadha, I live in Old Tappan in northern New Jersey. Gardening has been my hobby since childhood. In Old Tappan, we are overrun by deer, chipmunks, and squirrels, who do not make growing flowers easy. Most of the annuals I plant are in more than 150 12- to 24-inch planters on the deck, which is about 7 to 8 feet high. It may be hard to believe, but deer will come up on the deck if we don’t close the gate.

collection of enormous house plantsWe have seen Surinder’s incredible collection of enormous houseplants before (click here), and here we see those same plants taking a little summer vacation outside, which is a great way to give them optimum conditions to thrive and get big.

rows of containers of annualsRows and rows of containers of annuals bring tons of color and avoid the deer. New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri, annual) dominate on the top of the railing.

begonias and salvia echo the red tonesTons of red flowers from begonias (Begonia hybrid, annual) and salvia (Salvia splendens, annual) echo the red tones of the crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia, Zones 7–10) blooming next to the deck.

Here masses of vincaNot ALL the annuals are in containers. Here, masses of vinca (Catharanthus roseus, annual) bloom. This annual loves full sun, blooms well through extreme heat, and is deer and rabbit resistant. Its only weakness is that it doesn’t thrive in wet, poorly drained soils.

petunias and yellow-leaf sweet potato vineIn this section, petunias (Petunia hybrids, annual) in various colors and a yellow-leaf sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas, annual) dominate.

Beautiful containers frame the front door.Beautiful containers frame this door.

Beautiful coleusBeautiful coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides, looks like the variety ‘Chocolate Mint’)

enormous coleusCheck out how enormous that same coleus got later in the season.

Wax begoniasWax begonias (Begonia semperflorens, annual) are dependable, easy-to-grow plants that bloom nonstop in full sun to light shade.

Dragon WingThe genus Begonia is enormous, with many wonderful varieties. The looks to be one of the Dragon Wing varieties.


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View Comments


  1. garden1953 10/20/2021

    Wow! That’s a lot of annual. Beautiful!

  2. sagebird52 10/20/2021

    Gorgeous Begonias - and a lot of wonderful color !

  3. gardendevas 10/20/2021

    How lush and delightful!

  4. carolcowee 10/20/2021

    What amazing plants! All hand watered? It looks like an ad for MiracleGro! What is your secret to such lush flowering plants?

  5. btucker9675 10/20/2021

    Beautiful! I used to live in Franklin Lakes, NJ - not far from you and I battled deer, rabbits, ground hogs, black bears and wild turkeys to protect my gardens on an acre lot... sometimes I won, sometimes they did! During the bloom season for my many, many day lilies I sprayed a milk/mint/water solution on them every other day and that kept the deer and rabbits away. It's amazing how bold the deer are and the black bears aren't much better!

  6. User avater
    simplesue 10/20/2021

    Very pretty garden & annuals!

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