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  • Helen Newling Lawson

Getting Creative About Deer Deterrents


What do you do when deer learn to get past your electric fence? It could drive some gardeners to drink. But Hilary and Scott Wilson found a better use for bottles, and solved a recycling problem along with their deer issue.

Hilary has long used her garden as a showcase for her creativity. A skilled ceramic artist, she brightens her shady garden on the banks of the Chattahoochee River with her wild, whimsical figures and faces.

But to create an effective barrier to keep deer out of her back garden, she turned to another medium and enlisted help from her husband and neighbors.

Because her community's recycling program no longer accepted glass, she and her neighbors found themselves with bottles that seemed too beautiful to throw away. So Hilary and Scott began collecting, cataloging, and designing. Eventually they had hundreds in shades of green, blue, and brown. After carefully drilling a hole in the base of each one, they threaded the bottles onto metal rebar, arranging them to resemble a tree spreading its branches against a blue sky and green grass.

Once the design was complete, Hilary then planned where to add ceramic embellishments, including a mother bird defending her nest. The bottles had to be carefully removed to allow these pieces to be added, and then carefully replaced before the metal bars could be set into the ipe wood frame.

By mid-summer, the wall is half-hidden by deer-resistant plants like ginger lily (Hedychium) and anise (Illicium), but still serves as both a focal point and effective deer deterrent. Cheers to that!


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