Gotta Garden

Friday, February 17, 2006

Can It Be Saved?

My last rhododendron is on the critical list. Full of buds, it is preparing for another glorious season. However, the voles have other ideas. Since they first appeared several years ago, voles have become my gardening nightmare. Last year, I used a product that was powdered/dehydrated fox/bobcat urine and it seemed to keep them on the move. The dirty secret is that voles return. Mr. Fox/Bobcat must be applied fairly regularly to keep them on the move. I noticed the first holes several days ago. Only this morning did I order a large quantity of my weapon...shoulda, woulda, coulda that I had done it immediately upon seeing the holes.

Now, I have more holes and their racetracks. Worse of all, this rhodo is leaning out over the walkway, something it has never done. Attempting to push it back, I could feel the give. Sigh. Last year, they destroyed a Carol Mackie daphne. Daphnes are notorious for not liking their feet disturbed. Having their roots eaten combined with the rodents' tunneling was more than it could take. Sadly. The fothergillia that struggled until I finally decided to put it out of its misery showed terrible damage when I dug it up. Nasty, nasty voles.

My two cats, Sam and Leo, are good hunters. Their first year, they alone were enough to send the voles scurrying. Now, either the voles are in larger quantity or they are distracted by other critters to hunt or...who knows...maybe sleeping inside in the warmth and a full belly has made hunting less attractive. At any rate, as of today, the voles are winning.

Rabbits are still a problem, but not nearly to the extent they were before the arrival of Sam and Leo. In my yard, the rabbits have radar for the saffron crocus. It must be especially delicious and they had no trouble finding the new patch clear across the yard. One of my small Japanese maples has had the ends nibbled on and a new dianthus from Heronswood (more on that in another post) that was doing fantastic, now has been nibbled almost to the ground. Will they survive? The Japanese maple most certainly will but it needs to get some height on it to keep it out of their range. Grow, grow, grow. The dianthus, only time will tell if it can come back from the severe munching it has endured.

So, on this day when spring is attempting to break out, I am reminded that gardening is about more than just the beauty and delight it brings. It's also warfare.

Did I mention that I saw my first daffodil blooming? It was yesterday at the MWH where things are always a bit of ahead of my garden. It was a single solid yellow bloom. As you might imagine, it stood out like a beacon.

The daffodil was a nice reminder. There is joy in the simple pleasures and delights of gardening. But for me, it's back to the war. The voles have issued a challenge.

Even with the voles, you know, I still just .... gotta garden.


jm said...

This is actually the first blog I've read - what a great one to start with! I'm looking forward to day 3.

Gotta Garden said...

Better late than never...for my comment, I suppose...just figuring these things out, you know. Thank you so much for your kind words! It was very encouraging...especially to a newbie.

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