Sunday, 1 May 2011

Annoying garden parties

Well, with the smooth comes the rough. As our wonderful deciduous azaleas burst into a fiery mass, making the garden a real showpiece, along they come, keen to get a piece of the action. Blasted badgers.

It's been the same for the last two years. Strangely there was no sign of them during our first spring in Budleigh. The only damage to the lawn was caused by moles. But I'm sure they must have been around. Maybe in the neighbour's garden.

Now the moles seem to have vanished and the mysterious black and white creatures from the wood have taken their place, leaving their random traces of destruction in unexpected places. Just when you think that your beautiful lawn has been left undisturbed while you were asleep you turn the corner during your morning inspection of the garden and see the evidence of their all-night partying.

I'm told it's worms they're after, or invertebrates, of which I'm sure we've got lots.
The deer fence doesn't seem to be keeping them out. I've tried the usual old tricks - splashes of urine, even raided the spices cupboard to find some out of date paprika and cayenne pepper. It didn't seem to work.

I did read somewhere that spreading peanuts on the grass might be a substitute for the invertebrates so that's something to try.

Meanwhile all one can do is try to repair the damage while the soil is still damp by replacing and stamping down the bits of turf. And of course checking to see what pebbles have come out as a result of the creatures' burrowing, to save on lawn mower repair bills.

While I sympathise with the farmers who want to cull them, and while it's often quite shocking to see what they've been up to during the night, I have to confess that it was a thrilling moment when I saw one of the creatures at dusk one evening only 20 yards away from where I was enjoying a quiet moment in the garden. It raced down from the wood, suddenly saw me and raced back. It looked athletic, strong and healthy.

One has to admit that the creatures were there first, long before we came along with our lawnmowers, scarifiers and nasty weed and feed chemicals. It's a pity they don't seem to be able to content themselves in just the mossy areas, of which we've got lots.

Maybe one night I'll lie in wait in a secluded corner of the garden and try to get a shot of them. With my camera of course.

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