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Diminishing returns …


I started out in mid-2010 with 40 pansies – 5 troughs – and they were doing okay, but this year they’ve been under siege.

I’ve lost so many that last weekend I consolidated them into 2 troughs, getting 10 in each with a couple left over. There was a layer of bark on top, which I’ve deepened.

And I’m still losing them. I was woken this morning by a clatter from outside; I quickly dressed and went out to find that one of the pots with a solo pansy was on the floor, contents spilled – again. And there’s a gap in one of the troughs where there should have been a plant.

And now my new petunias have started to go the same way. I crammed those in at 15 per trough, in the hope that, if there was less soil showing, there’d be less room for excavation. One of those in a corner was uprooted and looking sorry for itself; I stuck it back in and spread the bark again.

But so far I’ve lost 50% of the pansies, and the petunias are now under similar threat.

It looks as if I’m not going to be allowed to grow any flowers at all – one of the large tubs with a grass in has been slightly dug a few times, but either the plant itself is big enough to survive or the raiders just don’t fancy grass.

Perhaps I could mix the flowers with spiky plants, or barbed wire – I did think of getting some netting spread over the whole “plantation”; it’d not add to the æsthetic appeal, and it might not be any use anyway, but – it might make it hard enough for whatever’s doing it to decide that it’s too much like hard work.

I never took this into account when dreaming of my garden, or indeed when planning it once I’d got one; I thought I’d lose plants through lack of experience, not enemy action.

update 110716 – all gone now, sigh. But thepetunias seem to be holding up at the moment

starting … 110419

going … 110521 – consolidated remains into two troughs, with a couple left over

gone … 110601

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oh no whos doing this is it bugs/animals or people?

26 May, 2011


That is such a shame:(

26 May, 2011


Thats awful. Is this in your front or back garden? and can you identify what is doing this?

26 May, 2011


I guess you don't know the culprit yet well you could try dried crushed chilli-- (99p in the ethnic aisle at tesco)--I sprinkled it over a trough decimated to a war zone by rabbits and they had a little go and still occasionally do but generally its stopping them , you need to renew after a while-- especially after rain but its better than the powder----

26 May, 2011


I have the same problem and I know who does it in my garden. Its a fox. I am infested with foxes, squirrels, mice and you name it. All creatures great and small in a small London suburban garden. Mother nature some people call it.

26 May, 2011


Urban foxes are getting beyond a joke.

26 May, 2011


Thanks all. it's a back garden, faced by a closed-off green, with flats on all sides. no way in for people - besides, think I'd hear someone climbing over the fence - bed's near the window and window is always open, even a bit, even in winter. the block is six stories high and double - our front doors are on an internal corridor, so the only way in, really, is over or thorugh the fence.

There's a squirrel colony in the green, but not much point getting the pest control people in - more squirrels would only take over the then-empty space. besides, as long as they stay on their own side of the fence, I rather like them.

I'm tending to blame squirrels, since they're in my garden more than I am - three sides of garden is wire-mesh, which presents no problems to them. I've seen a cat in there a couple of times, but squirrels a lot more. It seems to happen at night or very early in the morning: I did think of mounting a guard, but given my vision, it'd have to be a big squirrel!

I tried my local Tesco for sliced chilli, following a suggestion on my "squirrel-proofing" question. I asked an assistant, got a "durr?" reposonse, and when I explained, was led to a shelf with jars of chilli paste. All they had, he said. I looked online, and found Just Ingredients - they had whole or crushed chillies, sold in kilos, and bought 1kg of crushed, but just found out they're out of stock.

I live in near Brick Lane, in East London, so there's plenty of shops where I could buy chillies - though whether in the quantities I'd want I'm not sure - I don't fancy buying dozens of small packs. I did try one of my local shops; they only had whole chillies, only 200 grammes, but it's a start - got to slice them, or, better, chuck 'em in the autochop.

I've been Googling various ways and means most of the afternoon: eHow says to try a fake snake; prop the head up into a "waiting for dinner" pose and move it every couple of days to make it look alive. Amazon has some rubber pythons, but apparently native UK snakes aren't sexy enough to be sold as educational toys anywhere (even tried the Natural History Museum shop) - don't know if Uk squirrels would recognise a cobra or coral snake!

Amazon has a liquid "squirrel repellent", but aonther post said that fox or lion urine would work, if one happens to have a friend who works in a zoo. lol Coshed, there's a business opportunity for you!

lol I even checked on what preys on squirrels, then tried to look for model owls and foxes, but ...

I found a site that offered "squirrel proof" plants - I presume these are plants that squirrels don't like, and will avoid, so maybe mixing them with other plants might help. One could also select rabbit-proof and deer-proof plants.

Another site recommended mothballs (I got some after reading that it was a mouse-deterrent) but someone said that they might harm the squirrels - others recommend red pepper, though one had to uproot the ones that take!

if any of these links might be any use to anyone, I'd be glad to post them.

In the meantime, I suppose it's chop the chillies and see how that goes ...

ps apparently squirrels don't like lavender, either, but my local Lidl's consignment of lavender plants, advertised on their site, hadn't arrived when I went there this afterntoon. Maybe tomorrow

26 May, 2011


Oh dear that's too bad. I hope you can find out what's doing the damage. It must be very annoying for you.. Maybe something spikey would help as you thought. It's worth a try.

28 May, 2011


Though there is the old proverb about "the biter bit" - I'd probably get more spiked than they would!

While I was searching Google, I came across a "squirrel-proof plant" listing; whether these are actually squirrel-resistant or squirrel-deterrents I'm not sure, but if there are plants that they don't like, got to be worth trying.

one can select for squirrel-, deer- or rabbit-proof, and other subjects as well - plant colour, flowering time, etc. they don't actually sell from this site, but at least it's a guide to what might work, which could be got elsewhere.

as a last resort, I can always do what my niece did with her hanging baskets - get lots of plastic flowers!

28 May, 2011


well, that's 200 grammes of mangled chillies spread; now to see if it works.

28 May, 2011


I can't see the link. The blue colour keeps jumping up to the paragraph above . I've had that happen several times on this site when someone sends a link.

Oh please don't have plastic flowers :( It sounds the sort of thing my father would have done lol - he didn't like the garden.

29 May, 2011


lol I wasn't totaly serious about plastic flowers. did try once, on my 7th-floor balcony; first gust of wind and they took off!

i've broken the link into sections, it'll mean reassembling, but hope this is better

or, if you put "squirrel proof plants" into search, it should be the top one, it is in Google - Plant Finder on Vanbloem dot com. I did try going to their main page, but I couldn't find the way to the plant finder page so I had to Google it again to find it.

29 May, 2011


That seemed a useful page. I've saved it. Thanks :)

31 May, 2011

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