The first few years that we grew lilies here at our home in the woods, they disappeared. Sometimes it was slugs, they would eat parts of the blooms while they were very small so that when they grew out they were very distorted or destroyed. Most of the time it was deer or elk, simply eating the blooms off. It is not very attractive to grow lilies inside 5 foot tall wire cages. Growing in grass is a much better option.
Accidentally, while looking for a place to plant some grass, we found lily bulbs and decided to plant the grass anyway and let them grow together. It turned out to be a lucky accident that we have repeated though-out the yard whenever we plant lilies.
I couldn’t explain why it works but for some reason the deer and elk don’t like the lilies growing in the grasses and don’t eat them. It’s so nice to have lilies that don’t need to be protected in fencing.
If you look closely at the photo, you will see budded lilies in the center of the grass. I believe this grass is Miscanthus sinensis, it is about 4 – 5 foot tall. This has turned out to be a good combination for several reasons. The grass offers support to the lilies, so we don’t have to stake most of them. Grass offers them protection from predators. Slugs don’t seem to like grasses much either so we aren’t getting the distorted blooms even in this very damp year in our part of the world. We like the look of the grass and leave it to turn brown over the winter, since the lilies are inside the grass, we don’t even notice as the lilies turn brown and die back. The grass remains an attractive part of the fall and winter garden. We usually cut them back early in the spring as they begin to show signs of new growth.
I can’t promise that this plan will work against your large furry plant eating pests. I don’t even know if it will keep working for us, but this is the fourth year and so far so good. (2013 Update – still working)
In the first photo you really notice the grass. The lilies are budded up inside the grass. In the second photo the grass recedes and you really notice the lilies and the perfume is wonderful.
I hope you will try this in your yard and share any successful planting combinations that have worked for you.
Grow on and try it.