This morning like any other morning I got up and made a pot of coffee. Mug in hand I stepped out on the front porch for some fresh air. I was looking at the plants in the flower beds around the porch when I saw it. The perennial that I set in about a week ago, a Foxglove, looked like it needed life support. The plant had been dug completely out of the soil, it’s roots stripped of any soil and many of the roots separated from the plant. And I knew what was responsible for this wanton act of vandalism. It’s got squirrel written all over it.
Let me say right here that the porch beds are my pride and
joy so I took this kind of hard. I built them last year starting with the edging, then dug in a yard of compost into the hard clay soil. I’m not a landscaper, and can’t plan out a
bed since I don’t know the plants well enough. I bought one or two shade tolerant plants at a
time and put them in the bed, trying to get a diversity of foliage types. A few did not make it, but most did. Slowly the pieces came together. The Foxglove was the last plant to go in, and
it looked like it fit in nicely.
This could be the work of a rabbit but not likely. Squirrels like to dig, and they have a sordid
history of digging holes in the gardens.
Why would it do this? It’s
tempting to believe that the animal does this out of pure malice, and I’m still
not so sure it doesn’t, but there’s got to be a reason. Some annual begonias that I planted about a
month ago were also dug up a few days after they were put in. What all these plants have in common is they
were rooted in a sort of wood chip potting mixture. There must be something in this that attracts
the squirrels and drives them to dig through the roots. At any rate I’ll be amazed if this plant
makes it through this trauma.
The moles have been a real nuisance in the beds this
year. Last year they were not much of a
problem, but this year they are on a rampage.
And I know what they are going after – earthworms. They’ll eat every earthworm in the beds. I move the trap every day, but so far no
luck. One mole has been running roughshod through the
brassica bed, laying down a network of trails.
The larger plants can handle the disturbance, but when one of these
rodents tunnels near the roots of a smaller plant the void can leave the roots
unable to take up water. So far I’ve
been able to press down the tunnels every day and keep the smaller plants from
dying, although some have wilted badly.
The sugar snap peas have done very well this year in the
abundant sunshine. They are at the top
of the trellis and full of young peas.
Problem is the next two or three days are supposed to have highs in the
mid 90’s. And peas just don’t like
temperatures above 90 degrees. I’m
hoping the pods that are already set will fill out. If the heat wave lasts only a few days the
plants may stop setting flowers then resume when temperatures go down. I’ll make sure they have plenty of water this