While deer seem to eat everything if they are hungry, I have never seen them eat peonies or iris in my yard. So if you have deer but don’t have the Louisiana iris ‘Black Gamecock’ you must get it.
It has dark purple, velvety flat blooms with three tiny streaks of yellow. It arranges itself in a vase, and I can’t get enough of it. It likes moisture and humidity and is hardy to zone 4 in full and part sun.
Another deer-resistant beauty is Liatris spicata, a drought tolerant native that attracts butterflies. The common name is Blazing Star, and it produces lavender-pink spires of bloom in summer in zones 3 through 9.
For a statement in the shade garden, plant the tall Royal Fern, Osmunda regalis, which has lovely green fronds April to frost in full or half shade zones 3 through 9.
Salvia ‘May Night’ is a blue beauty that is deer resistant and hardy too, as is the whole salvia genus so it is worth investigating.
Again for the shade garden, Christmas fern and all types of bleeding heart, as well as lily of the valley, perennial geraniums, and lungworts—all are also safe from deer. And, of course, in sun our reliable native coneflower, Echinacea, now has lots of new cultivars, though the original is still the most reliable and stalwart.
For color in the dog days of summer next year, scout the sales now for crepe myrtle shrubs that are hardy in your zone.