Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Ooohhh, those squirrels!

Over the years I thought I had come to an understanding with the squirrels in the area, I let them come and go as they want to, and occasionally they saved their lunch for later by leaving their peanuts behind for harder times. It has worked perfectly for 10 years with minimal damage. I have even left a handful of peanuts for them from time to time when I have newly planted flowers, as a peace offering to save my plants. It has worked well – that is until this winter.

Look at this window box on my garden wall....

…and this one! This is what met me the other day when I went outside.

The window boxes are now almost empty, after the plants have been ripped up and sometimes even thrown completely out by the squirrels. Sometimes careful replanting straight away have saved some of the plants, that is if I have discovered the uprooted plants in time, but often the plants were beyond saving by the time I discovered them. These window boxes had pansies and pinks planted last autumn, and I bought a few primroses earlier this spring to replace some of the missing plants. The display I am left with now is a rather sorry sight! Not one pansy or pinks left, and  just a few primroses half dead.

Look how beautiful it was back in November last year! I usually buy small plug plants for these window boxes, one set for the winter and one set for the summer, much larger plants are not really possible to have here as it would require a lot of watering which has to be carried – too much work for me. I had planned to buy new window boxes this summer, as they really are on their last leg now. Hopefully getting new looking boxes, with new soil will help a bit, but I think I will try the chicken wire tip when I am replacing the boxes anyway. My plan is to cut chicken wire the same size as the new boxes and place it slightly below the soil surface, then cut openings for the plug plants and hope for the best....It won’t stop the squirrels trying to dig, and possibly rip up the plants in the process, but I have to try something. Another alternative I have thought of is to use decorative stones on the surface around the plants, perhaps that won’t be so interesting for the squirrels to dig into? Who knows....having cloches or wire cages over the window boxes are not an alternative, I want them to look pretty, that’s the whole point of having them here. I will let you know what I end up doing and what the squirrels decide to do with that!

On a more positive note…we have had some rain! Yesterday we actually had a spectacular thunder for a little while. We have had rain and showers for almost 2 days, sadly it just doesn’t amount to that much. I put a tray out in the middle of my garden Monday before it started raining, and today this was all the water collected after 2 days. Not much for a parched garden! We are promised showers for the next week, I hope it will be a bit more substantial than what we have had so far. It’s funny looking back on my posts for last spring, I wrote practically the same about the lack of rain! The difference then was that we didn’t have a hosepipe ban and other water restrictions and although the amount of rain usually evens out eventually over the years, it could be a long wait for some substantial amount of that free water from above :-)

That’s it for tonight folks, more later in the week, and Sunday is Garden Blogger Blooms Day, can’t wait to show you what’s flowering in my garden right now. Until next time, take care.

8 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about the squirrels. Pity you can't have an ASBO issued against them. I've got a squirrel visiting the garden quite regularly at the moment, I think it's nesting nearby. It doesn't cause much damage in the garden, but I'm concerned about the nesting birds.

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  2. Hope more rain is in store for you and me...I had to battle squirrels at my old house...I used moth balls..didn't work, hot peer spray and flakes worked a bit

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  3. I don't have squirrels, but surely there is something you can put in your boxes to repel them! Glad to hear you got a little rain. Even a little helps a lot! I hope you get a good slow soaking downpour next week.

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  4. Hi Helene
    Squirrels are destructive here in Ontario as well. Rotten little rodents! They dig up all my tulip bulbs and have quite a classy picnic, I'm sure. Grrr….
    Glad to hear about the rain though. Hopefully there is more on the way for you.
    Astrid

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  5. A nice idea for a bright welcome to your front garden though. Squirrels are so destructive that my bulbs and newly planted pots are always encased in chicken wire til established.
    p.s. some rain better than none but not enough
    p.p.s impressed by the fact that passers by did not trash your pots or dump litter in them

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  6. Darn squirrels, not sure if you know of Indie from Red House Garden. She's written two hilarious postings on suqirrels which should put a smile on your face about these pesky critters!
    http://www.redhousegarden.com/2012/04/mission-impossible-squirrels-get-new.html

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  7. Thanks for all your lovely messages!
    An ASBO for the squirrels, yeah, that would have been great! I thought those squirrels were quite nice, sitting on my wall peacefully eating peanuts, I have even made a short sweet film about one of them in a post back in August last year! Now they are not so sweet anymore…As for repellents…I have heard that they don’t work that much and that you need to reapply repellents every time it has rained, not so much a problem when it doesn’t rain, but we do get some showers now and then!
    And as for my window boxes, yes I did wonder how long they were going to last, but I have had them for 8 years! They are filled with heavy stones though, so anyone thinking of taking one or two under their arms will not get very far :-)
    Passersby do throw litter in them sometimes, why do people do that? They don’t look like bins, do they?? And yes, I have seen the posts Indie has made about the squirrels in her garden, made me chuckle, I do like the squirrels when they leave my plants alone!

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  8. Squirrels are the cutest things, i remember a squirrel eat a treat out of my hand, but they sure can make a lot of damage if you have a garden or something. When I lived in Maine squirrels were a problem.

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