The biggest problem in my garden has two long ears and a cute cotton-ball tail. In the early years of the garden, I planted hundreds of penstemons in a carefree (even reckless) fashion; and every spring, as if on cue, my garden turned into a sea of pink spires.
But as the human population in my neighborhood increased, so did the rabbit numbers. Peter and his cohorts multiplied like, well—rabbits. And what did they eat? My prized penstemon plants.
I tried garlic sprays, chili powder, coyote urine and other concoctions, none of which kept the bunnies from nipping the bloom stalks off my plants. When those measures failed, I considered going Elmer Fudd on them. But because firing guns inside the city limits is illegal, I had to admit defeat. My penstemon days outside the garden wall were done.
I decided to change my plant palette to a collection of plants heavy on sages (Salvia spp.). Once the salvias went in, the rabbits suddenly were not interested. I also used gopher plants (Euphorbia rigida), which were equally effective and provided a nice, yellow contrast to the red and blue sage blooms.
Ultimately the sages are more carefree than the penstemons and, because the rabbits leave them alone, they will stay. For every problem, nature seems to provide a plant solution.
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