SOOKE GARDEN CLUB: Deer can be a gardener’s lament, but there is hope

Jennifer Kolot is the guest speaker at this month’s Sooke Garden Club meeting

Jennifer Kolot with her backyard rooster. (Contributed - Sooke Garden Club)

Cory McInnis | Contributed

They catch you unaware, darting out suddenly in front of your car, making you stop and refocus your attention. There is usually more than one; maybe the doe with her fawns, crossing over to new territory, like any protective mother, guiding them safely. It is not until we have an unfortunate encounter on a dark and windy road that we realize how vulnerable deer can be, as well as the front end of our cars.

I know they are not everyone’s favourite creatures, and for gardeners, boy, oh boy, can they create unwanted attention. One of the questions garden centers are asked: “Can you tell me which plants the deer won’t eat?”

I am starting to pay more attention to plants that have proven to be deer resistant, as my new front yard has several deer regularly visiting, with some bold enough to come onto the front porch to see just what might be waiting for them to munch on. Even though there is a list of deer-resistant trees, shrubs, bedding plants, and perennials, it is not foolproof.

This month’s guest speaker was scheduled to present in April 2020, but the club had to cancel due to the onset of COVID. So, we are happy to have Jennifer Kolot back for the Sooke Garden Club meeting via Zoom on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m.

Kolot will share some of her strategies and options to deal with deer in urban areas.

Kolot is originally from Alberta and has called Victoria home for the last 18 years, where she grows all her veggies. She has master gardener training and is a member of the Victoria Master Gardeners.

Some interesting facts: deer have a great sense of hearing, with higher frequencies than humans. On the sides of their head, their eyes give them a 310-degree view, making it hard to focus on a single point; they also have excellent night vision. They run up to 40 miles per hour, jump 10-feet high, are fast swimmers, and adapt well to just about any habitat. They have an excellent sense of smell and lick their nose to keep it moist, which helps odour particles to stick. Deer usually stays in the same area; related females who form matriarchies exclude adult males who share these areas. There are about 100 types of deer, with a life expectancy of 20 years.

To get updates on our events, such as the annual plant sale, please check the Sooke Garden Club page on Facebook and or email us at; it is updated regularly, and we’ll let you know any changes in dates and events. The annual membership fee for the Sooke Garden Club is $15; new members are always welcome.


Cory McInnis writes for the Sooke Garden Club.

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