Tag Archives: tulips

Help! We’re under attack!

Last year followers will recall around this time of year (perhaps slightly earlier) something ate our garden. The tulips were eaten or the bulbs pulled out and the raspberry canes were stripped from the ground up to about one metre.

This year, at the end of March, we noticed something was scratching away the grass leaving holes and unsightly bare patches. Then the tulips started to disappear again. However, Mr Mac had taken no chances with his raspberry canes and they were well protected with mesh. The last straw was when the brand new strawberries were eaten.

This is the grass in the back garden which has been scratched away leaving big holes.

This is the grass in the back garden which has been scratched away leaving big holes.

Tulip bulbs pulled out of the bed

Tulip bulbs pulled out of the bed

the primulas were pulled out of the pot but were not eaten.

The primulas were pulled out of the pot but were not eaten.

Two huge holes were dug among the lilies but again, these were not eaten.

Two huge holes were dug among the lilies but again, these were not eaten.

Frustrated, I consulted the font of all knowledge – Google – with a search of “what eats tulips?” The answer………….chipmunks! “How cute”, I thought, my sole experience of chipmunks being the animated kind that have wild, wacky adventures of the non-destructive kind. The only problem is we don’t have chipmunks in the UK!

However, neighbours had been suffering similar problems and after blaming the deer, squirrels, pheasants and pigeons, a badger was spotted leaving our drive early one morning. So Mr Mac promptly went to the agricultural supplies and bought a mile of mesh to attach to the stob and wire fence which surrounds our garden. Our garden is now badger proof – hopefully – we just need to remember to shut the gate at night! Apparently they can dig under fences and climb walls.

The attraction? According to the Badger Trust, “Badgers digging for insect larvae in lawns can cause significant damage. Some lawns are more likely to support a significant insect larvae burden than others, and this is often determined by the condition of the lawn. Lawns in good condition, particularly if they are well drained and free of moss, are less likely to suffer.”

The condition of our lawn has been causing us concern for some time and as it is currently 80% moss / 20% grass, it must be badger paradise!

We left a booby-trapped pot of old tulip bulbs from last year to see if they were still being eaten but it looks like we have solved the problem as there has been no further damage since the mesh was added to the boundary fence.

The booby-trap!

The booby-trap!

But then…….

I was positive the other evening when I shut the greenhouse for the night I had three sunflowers which had germinated but the next morning there were only two. Then when I opened up a couple of mornings later, all the zinnia seedlings had been eaten leaving only stalks. Now something is in the greenhouse eating the seedlings…….likely culprits are either mice or earwigs so I am keeping everything covered just to be sure.

What is left of the zinnia seedlings

What is left of the zinnia seedlings

To add insult to injury, yesterday when wondering around the garden I came across not just one but TWO slugs. They were promptly dispatched. These battles may have been won but I fear the war is going to be a long one!

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Something is eating my garden!

I went down to the greenhouse this morning to put my brassicas out in the sunshine to harden them off and noticed a couple of bulbs lying on the path. Then I followed the trail of destruction that led to 5 empty planters which, as of yesterday, were full of tulips just ready to open their flowers.

the flowers have been eaten right down to the soil and the bulbs pulled out!

Total devastation!

We had planned to move them into the front garden today but now there is nothing left.

Earlier this week we also had to dig up 2 rows of rainbow chard which was also being eaten by something.

The chard, slowly getting nibbled

CHIEF SUSPECTS

Pigeons are the top suspects. I have noticed a lot of them flying around and sitting in the trees. The damage to the chard would indicate it was pigeons but I don’t see how they would be able to eat the tulip plants and be able to pull the bulbs out. We have not been bothered by pigeons before but then we have never grown chard or tulips before.

Rabbits are 2nd favourite. We are surrounded by fields which are full of rabbits although we are not usually bothered by them as we have two employees of the furry, four-legged variety who catch them. I could see the rabbits eating the chard but the tulips would be too high for them to reach – unless they carry a ladder!

The final suspect – deer. This year we have seen a record number of 7 deer in the fields beside us and they are becoming used to our presence, grazing right up to our fence. They eat grass, but do they eat tulips and chard? I don’t know.

Two outsiders

There is a fox which wanders around but we scare it away if it comes too close. Could he be a vegetarian? There is also a pheasant wandering around looking for a girlfriend – would he eat chard and tulips?

I am devastated about the tulips as we had looked after them all winter and they were going to produce a stunning display. That’s gardening for you though.

Thinking about it, something was attracted to the chard and after we pulled it out it has looked for the next best thing – tulips! Perhaps we should have left the chard as a decoy.

Here is one tulip that had come out. Really beautiful.

Could this be the reason why?

I am going to have to have a serious word with these two!