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Weston Woman's Spray Defends 'Deer Candy'

Alison Wachstein, a Weston resident and master gardener, has revealed her secret spray for plants considered "deer candy." "It's so fun to see the deer in the woods, but we don't want to see them eating our flowers or shrubs," said Wachstein.

Weston residents, including Joyce Mueller, quickly jotted down the ingredients for the spray during Wachstein's presentation at the Weston Public Library's Lunch and Learn Program on March 29.

Wachstein's spray recipe is as follows: Place four ounces of egg yolks in a blender with water. Then, add a splash of cayenne pepper and garlic powder, some cinnamon and Palmolive. Blend the ingredients and then pour them into a gallon container, filling any extra space with water. Wachstein suggests shaking the container well and then leaving it for several days.

"This has been fabulous. We're revitalizing an old, mature garden and we're on a deer trail. We plan to use the spray and other ideas she spoke about," said Mueller.

During the program -- DeFENCEless Gardening in Deer Country -- Wachstein listed plants that deer don't eat, as well as "deer candy," which should be sprayed with her special concoction.On average, Wachstein said her spray lasts about two weeks.

"[Deer are] creatures of habit. If they find something they like in your garden, they'll come back and bring their friends," said Wachstein.

During the presentation, Wachstein listed many plants that deer don't usually eat, but she cautioned that no plants are deer-proof and "you never know what the deer are going to do."

"Deer might eat something in one person's yard and not in another," said Wachstein. "In different parts of the season they need different nutrients."

Wachstein has found that, in her garden, the deer have not (yet) eaten: Virginia bluebells, Jacob's ladder, bleeding hearts, moss, ferns, forget-me-nots, peonies and others.

"If they start to feel sick, they know it was what they ate and they won't eat it again," said Wachstein.

In addition to her spray, Wachstein said other deer repellents include hunting, frighteners and fences. Frighteners can include motion detecters that set off lights, noises or even water sprayers. Wachstein warned that lights often just allow deer to see what they're eating and the deer can get used to different noises.

Wachstein has lived in Weston for 31 years. She is a photographer who became a master gardener last year. She first became interested in flowers when she wanted them as a background for her photographs.

She currently has an exhibit on garden fairies at the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport. The exhibit will be open until April 10 and features a few Weston residents as garden fairies.

What do you do to keep deer away from your garden? Leave your comments below.

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