We have a nighttime thief around our house. We rarely see the culprit. We do see the evidence.

It’s not the first time said nocturnal guest has stripped my potted plants.

The pots originally sat on the front porch, too easily accessible. The nibbles at first were small. A few leaves here and there disappeared unnoticed. Then one day all the leaves were gone.

I hastily moved the plants around to the fenced back porch. Secure, I thought though I knew deer can leap a fence flatfooted in a heartbeat. I counted on the human scents discouraging them.

I nursed the plants back to full foliage with Miracle Grow and loving thoughts. This summer they were looking lovely. The ivy full of new leaves.

I potted red impatients to add color for our Fourth of July cookout. The plants bloomed profusely.

Then the impatient blooms started to disappear. The ivy flourished until yesterday when I discovered the nibbled-down-to-the-dirt pot. No sign of the foliage.

Not only had our nighttime guest consumed the ivy and impatients, he or she had nearly destroyed the Christmas cactus I bought our first Christmas back in Texas.

As you can see by the new growth, the cactus is trying to recover.

My butterfly plants at the back of the yard suffered the same fate. They’d bloomed profusely drawing beautiful monarchs. Then one morning they were all gone. Leafless bare stems waved in the breeze.

I sprinkled anti-deer pellets in that flowerbed. It helped a bit, but the poor plants barely recovered only to be destroyed again in this latest attack.

Our neighbors warned us that having plants with the deer population we have was impossible. Now I believe them.

I’ve given up. The deer have won.

I’m not going to subject my poor plants to the torture. I’m sticking to the plants that seem to survive these nighttime attacks. The deer ignore the Four O’clock, the Texas Star Hibiscus, Citronella, Rosemary, Lemon Grass,  Geraniums and Zinnias.

It makes me sad that I must give up the flowing ivy and cheerful impatients I love, but I’ve accepted defeat. I’ll enjoy the blooms in the yards of those who don’t have hungry nighttime guests.