The MGS Forum

Gardening in mediterranean climates => Pests and diseases => Topic started by: Sisyphus on October 06, 2017, 09:32:34 AM

Title: Sheep resistant plants
Post by: Sisyphus on October 06, 2017, 09:32:34 AM
Seeking members suggestions for sheep resistant plants.  I have a garden in the Mani, Greece.  The majority is walled, but I am starting a new planting on a narrow, west facing strip outside the walls.  This will have no irrigation whatsoever, and has the additional reflected heat from the walls.  I started off with a mixture of Lampranthus, Drosanthemum and Delosperma as ground cover but was just growing sheep food.  I have also tried a nice orange Lantana as I read that sheep would not eat Lantana.  Unfortunately, the sheep had obviously not read the same literature!  Certainly the young plants are not thriving, but older plants may survive regular sheep pruning.
I also understand that sheep will not eat highly scented plants.  I have a scented Pelargonium outside which is thriving and am also wondering about Tulbaghia?.  I have both Rosemary and Lavender inside the walls, the Lavender does need some irrigation to survive the Greek summer, so I don't think will survive outside.  I have also planted a standard Oleander outside, which is fine.
Should I persist with the Lantana?, has anyone any experience with Tulbaghia and sheep? and any other suggestions for highly scented or sheep resistant plants gratefully received!
Title: Re: Sheep resistant plants
Post by: Alisdair on October 06, 2017, 10:06:32 AM
You should be able to establish the most drought-hardy lavenders. We have found Lavandula dentata (the one we grow is 'Dusky Maiden') and L. canariensis both do well even in our hot south-facing sloping Mani garden, where new plants get a monthly summer watering but no watering whatsoever in later years.
Title: Re: Sheep resistant plants
Post by: Caroline on October 07, 2017, 06:52:08 AM
Hi Sisyphus
Beg, borrow or steal a book called "Gardening the Mediterranean Way", by Hilda Gildemeister. It has a short chapter called "Living with Animals", with  two lists at the end, of 'garden plants  not preferred by sheep', and 'plants not eaten by sheep'.  Tulbaghia doesn't feature in either list. :(
Title: Re: Sheep resistant plants
Post by: Sisyphus on October 09, 2017, 09:45:48 AM
Thanks, Caroline and Alisdair.  I have Heidi Gildemeisters book, but my edition is Mediterranean Gardening, a waterwise approach. I had not realised there was another version.  Just re-checked my copy and definately nothing about animals. I will ask fellow gardeners in the area and am sure I can borrow a copy.
I will also have another try with the Lavenders. 
Thanks again for the suggestions
Title: Re: Sheep resistant plants
Post by: Joanna Savage on October 09, 2017, 05:45:34 PM
Sisyphus, there is a sheep problem here too, at 350m. in Toscana. I have found that the sheep and goats do not eat Bergenia which I have planted close to the base of the fence. But where the porcupines and wild boar can also reach it, it quickly disappears.
Iris unguicularis is fairly tough. Fleur wrote an earlier post saying that she needed an axe to divide it. It may need some temporary protection with wire or rose cuttings for the first year or two.

This past summer has been extremely long and hot. The fields have been grazed bare. The only plants avoided by the sheep and goats have been Phytolacca and, at an outlet from a neighbour's drain, a couch, probably Cynodon dactylon which stayed green. It is hard to imagine gardening with Phytolacca and Cynodon, perhaps something innovative could he done.
Title: Re: Sheep resistant plants
Post by: Alisdair on October 10, 2017, 08:19:42 AM
Following on from Joanna's innovative gardening suggestions, at home here in England we have sheep grazing our fields. Though they are only too happy to eat almost anything they can stretch their necks to over or through fences (brambles, wild roses and holly are unexpected favourites, and they love young nettles), they won't touch woody nightshade, and eat thistles only in periods of extreme drought.