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Voracious and Mischievous

Someone is dining out in the garden. Not slugs. The lettuce has been pulled out of the ground and eaten. Some has been eaten down to the ground.

This row was attacked differently, but still, the lettuce is gone. I’ve never had bunny damage before, but this looks like what I imagine bunnies would do. Who has experience to share?

On that assumption I took out the sample bottle of Deer and Rabbit Deterrent that Liquid Fence sent me and sprayed it around the lettuce, and the cauliflower. All six cauliflower starts were eaten down to a tiny nubbin, but five of them seem to be sending out a new shoot.  I planted two more starts yesterday, before spraying with Liquid Fence, and all the plants seem to be undisturbed this morning.  The mystery is that the cauliflowers are right near big healthy Brussels sprouts which were not touched. The spinach hasn’t been touched. These must be very particular creatures.

The mystery is in the vegetable beds, but there is no mystery about who makes mischief in the Shed Bed. Hens! I’ve already written about the fence wire barrier to protect the cosmos that will occupy the bare space left by Mrs. Doreen Pike in the rose bed when she migrated to the back row.  The fencing will remain in place as the cosmos grow.  Every year I edge this bed with annual salvia which looks very pretty in front of the the roses in shades of pink.  However, the adventurous hens who fly the coop during the day love to dig in this bed and take dust baths, especially when it is freshly weeded – or mulched. They inevitably dig up the salvias. Last year and this,  I found that I could lay out tomato cages horizontally to keep the hens out of the salvia until they are more firmly and lushly growing. The cages will not stay in the Shed Bed.

happily, there are beauties in the garden, not only problems.

Pink Grootendorst rugosa

Last year I planted this Pink Grootendorst rugosa on our new Rose Bank. It is doing very well with lots and lots of new growth this spring. It has just started to bloom, with pretty pinked edges in a lovely shade of pink. However . . .

Pink Grootendorst

on Sunday, in between rain showers and torrents, I visited Kathy Puckett’s garden and admired her Pink Grootendorst. It is much bigger than mine.  Actually, most of Kathy’s plants are very big which she attributes to the benefits of having a hayfield up the slope from her large gardens. The farmer manures that field twice a year, and has for many years. According to Kathy their soil is beautifully fertile because of the years of runoff from that field.  Kathy’s garden is only about 7 years old, but it is magnificent. Here is the mystery, aside from her more established plant being bigger than mine, the color is much deeper. This is a reminder to me that we cannot always be sure what plants will look like in every aspect. Color and size are affected by soil, but not always predictably.

I guess there will always be mysteries in the garden.

7 comments to Voracious and Mischievous

  • Your rose is beautiful, even if it’s not the same shade of pink as your friend’s. Isn’t it amazing how plants can perform so differently in different gardens? I can’t solve the mystery in your vegetable garden, but it certainly sounds like rabbits. One year they devoured my cauliflower and broccoli plants within a week of setting them out. They’ve stayed out of the veggies this year, though, probably thanks to my “guard cats” as well as Sophie.

  • Pat

    Rose – Thank you. I wish I guard cats. Mine just enjoy the show.

  • Lisa at Greenbow

    I think that is a big part of the fun of gardening. You never know what is going to happen. It is like playing chess with Mother Nature. The game goes on and on. Sometimes we win some, sometimes we lose but it is fun playing the game. You never know the outcome.

  • I had digging issues in my vegetable garden where conspicuous holes were found near my lettuce and spinach. I (or rather my husband) put up about 10″ of wire fencing around the bed (stapled to the wood of the raised bed) and that has successfully deterred whatever creature it was.

  • Janet Aley, a neighbor (and mother of a friend), was raised in Westport, Connecticut, and recently described how her father dealt with the rabbit and woodchuck problem in his Victory garden in the early 1940s. The entire family was opposed to killing animals, even garden invaders, and so the father simply planted a generous hedge around the entire garden – a lettuce hedge. There were no further encroachments on the vegetable garden. Yes, a little more work, but a little more life, too. A charming solution.

  • My goodness I’d be a little grumpy about those lettuce being devoured! I’m thinking rabbits have to be the culprit.

    My little garden has much bigger nuisances to worry about. . . children! WHo pull up carrots before they are ready. 🙁

  • Pat

    Lisa – some times the ‘game’ is more fun than others, but you are right.
    Rose – A great idea for raised beds! Harvest would still be comfortable.
    Flaneur – a lettuce hedge. What a great idea! One could turn it into a tapestry hedge like the heathers at White Flower Farm – using all different varieties of lettuce.
    Julia – Children, of course! Unfortunately even my grandchildren are too old for that sort of curiosity.

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