Sunday, March 3, 2013

DEVASTATION in the Garden.

Went outside to take some photos of some new native plants I bought yesterday and was instead caught off-guard by some sights that almost made me weep. Many of my favorite Hellebores were chomped, chewed, mauled and destroyed sometime during the night.

Helleborus "Gold Finch"...I was really looking forward to watching this one bloom. There had been 2 buds that I'd been watching and they finally opened a couple of days ago but did I get a photo while they were still attached? Sadly, no.





Am also a bit sad by the devastation to Helleborus "Phoenix". I did manage a previous photo of her, but when a new flower opened I had not yet captured that one. Here it is now.



Then there are the Helleborus Orientalis...lots of 'em...just lying everywhere:


 ...some left to dangle by a mere thread:


H. "Red Lady" had one flower still hanging on...but the rest, scattered.


H. "Ashwood Doubles"...also a wreck. Never even had a chance to see the buds open up.


HCG "Green Corsican" didn't have every flower removed, though it was certainly also mauled:


As was H. ballardiae "Pink Frost", another favorite. This one wasn't hurt much--just bruised.


Fortunately H. "Pink Lady" was allowed to keep most of her buds, as well...


BUT.  I'm not happy about this. Last spring something similar happened. The devastation was so horrible I can't remember whether I shared photos or not. I started using "Bobbex" at that time, thinking it would keep the deer and squirrels at bay. I thought it was working. I'm not sure what creature came over the fence and decided to ruin my garden, but they better be on the lookout because I'm going to be keeping my eyes open tonight.

I'm still torn between sad and mad. I want to cry and I want to scream. But I do know the sun will come out tomorrow and I'm not dead yet...so it isn't the end of my world.

But. You know. If you are a gardener, you know.


Words and photos ©Thanks for today.™, by Jan Huston Doble @ http://www.thanksfor2day.blogspot.com/
Not to be reproduced or re-blogged without express permission of the author.

40 comments:

  1. Oh, I most certainly do know how very disheartened you are by this devastation. I don't know if you remember, but I have had problems with raccoons playing in my stream, pulling plants out of it and chowing down on them, or sometimes just flinging them around the garden. I've never been able to find a deterrent that worked. I do get squirrels here, but they and the raccoons have never bothered my Hellebores. If your garden isn't fenced, then I have a feeling this was deer.

    You have my sympathy, I know exactly how you feel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Alison! Yes, I do remember you sharing stories of those raccoons! But I DO have a fence. The deer have not jumped it, as far as I 'know'...but they could have, I suppose. Deer don't usually like hellebores, though. If it isn't the squirrels, and not deer, I don't know what it is. I am thinking about putting little screened domes over all the plants. Maybe that is my last hope??

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  2. I KNOW! Man that's rough. You want to cry and yell at whatever ate the plants. I've used a solution of garlic blended in water to get neighborhood cats to leave some things alone. Don't know if it would keep your woodland creatures away. Go for the screens. I use old wire hanging baskets turned over to protect some plants in my garden. Better luck here on out.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks GSS! I'm enraged! I was half-joking about screened in domes, but I might look into something in that line. I just hate to cover things 'cause I want it to look 'natural' out there! The Bobbex has garlic, eggs, etc...and it really does work...for deer; and in my past experience, squirrels. So I just don't know WHAT creature I am dealing with here.

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    2. I understand the wanting it to be natural part. Hard to do sometimes. Eggs? I don't know what you have either but I would think some pests would like eggs, like raccoons perhaps? Let us know if you find a recipe that works. Gardeners gotta share those tips to survive.

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    3. Well, 'putrid' eggs, GSS. The same ingredients in most other deer resistent sprays. It has a smell to it that most deer and animals despise.

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    4. I meant to say, putrefied eggs. Sounds terrible, I know...but it is an ingredient in all the deer sprays. I happen to like Bobbex because it dries clear and leaves no white residue behind and the photos still look natural. It dries and can be rained on right away and last for months. Problem is, it doesn't seem to be working right now, for whatever critter is imposing itself here. I might spend the night out on the deck with one eye open.:)

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  3. Hi Jan! I know exactly how you feel! I am leading the true war with my neighbor's cats and stray ones as well!
    I have no idea what creature it might do such damage to your beautiful hellebore, but I doubt it was a deer or a squirrel. It is strange, I see no prints at all around your plants, I mean footprints... and the stalks have pretty even cuts, doesn't look like someone has chewed them. I am eager to find out who it was just like you.
    Did you know that Hellebore is poisonous to cats, dogs and even horses?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Vesna! I'm sorry about all the cats in your area. There are some here...but they don't seem to damage my garden much. Even though you doubt it could be a deer or a squirrel, believe it or not, it probably IS one of the two. It might be something else, but I just don't know what, because I don't have many other critters running around here other than foxes.

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  4. My condolences! I have had critters come through and bite off the flower buds of the crocuses, but what you've got there is indeed much more devastating. You have every right to be sad and mad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Jason! It helps to share my misery with other garden lovers :)

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  5. I haven't lost any hellebores yet, Jan, but every year I lose a good percentage of whatever I put in. Liquid fence helps quite a bit for deer and rabbits, but I have to remember to keep using it, and it's expensive. This year I've had something eat daffodil blooms for the first time! It's a never-ending battle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We sure do have our battles to fight, don't we Daricia?! I've never used Liquid Fence, the Bobbex works just as well for the same critters and I bought a ton of the concentrate online so I need to use that before I try something else. It supposedly last for months once applied...I think if I can resolve my current problem it should be fine. I need to just get rid of the current culprit! It's not NORMAL to eat Hellebores!! Last year, something actually chomped off one of my daffodil blooms too!! It was probably the same crazy critter that is disturbing my Hellebores.

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  6. Oh, how disheartening! I hope you find the culprit and a deterrent. I haven't had squirrel or deer damage to plants but did have quite a bit of damage from rabbits at one time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ginny. At this point in time I think I've discovered that it's a raccoon! I'm working on dealing with it! Today I saw tracks out in the garden...that seem to be those of a raccoon.

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  7. Jan, have you ever tried PLANTSKYDD? It works very well. Used to have to spray it (which had a brown color), but they now have sprinkle grains so it looks better. Once when nothing worked, I sent my husband out to mark the border of the bed. This did work but only happened once("what if someone saw me!") You can order it online-yes it's expensive.If you know someone with an automatic nighttime camera, you could set it up and see what did this.People have said that hellebores are exempt from this trouble, but mine weren't either. I better get out and Plantskydd my hellebores as soon as the snow melts, and my three beds of tulips. EEK. All that work for nothing. It's hard to bear.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did look at Plantskydd. Hmm. Don't really know just what to use. Bobbex is also a similar product, and it dries totally clear. It lasts for months, even in the rain. I think the problem is a raccoon...as I saw tracks in the snow just today. Now trying to figure out how to deal with that problem. I don't want to have to buy expensive granules...I've done that before and they don't last long. Sorry to hear you've had problems with critters eating your hellebores. I haven't heard many people say they've ever had a problem with them, so that at least helps me feel like I'm not entirely alone!

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  8. Jan, in your email today you mentioned your other blog-Planting Natives. I tried to look at it but was denied(rather rudely). What can I do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Val, I am unfamiliar with any emails I send out except privately. There should be no link to Planting Natives because I no longer blog there. I checked the link to your name and your profile cannot be displayed. I am really not sure what emails or 'rude' denials you're referring to...??

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    2. I mean your blog-it comes to my email. Here are two things that may help.
      "You are subscribed to email updates from Thanks for today." and

      Posted: 15 Jan 2013 02:00 PM PST

      "Just a note to say I am going to be blogging from my Planting Natives blog on a more frequent basis. I will keep this blog and sometimes add photos or things I'm thankful for, but for the majority of my garden blogging, please visit my Planting Natives blog. I just posted for January's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. I'd love to see you there!" I guess it is an old email, but not that old!When I spoke about a rude denial I was kidding. It was automated-it wasn't your fault.I don't know why my info doesn't show. I feel like I'm in an old "Twilight" episode.
      Val

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    3. Thanks Val...now I understand what you're saying. It 'was' my fault, actually...because I confused people by saying I would be switching to a new blog.But after realizing how complicated it would be to 'start over' I wrote a new post on Jan. 17, saying I was putting that blog on hold. http://thanksfor2day.blogspot.com/2013/01/wait-im-keeping-this-blog.html

      Thanks so much for clarifying and for visiting; I apologize for the confusion.

      Delete
  9. How well I know. I have deer visiting almost nightly and sometimes several times chomping on anything they can. I have to net all my trees and shrubs....I have never seen them eat the hellebores. Tulips, phlox, hosta and many others but not hellebores. Now squirrels are rotten and will chew off flower and just strewn them about...the deer would eat them not destroy...I always equate destruction with squirrels....in the old garden we had so many they would chew the heads off of many flowers especially tulips and just leave them strewn about. RRRRRR....I hope some recover for you Jan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it frustrating, Donna?! It comes with the territory...I know. We have to cohabitate with the critters. But some critters just are NOT welcome in my garden, even though I DO 'garden for wildlife'!! I know that the squirrels are destructive--I have a dozen or more in the garden at any given time. I now think this could be a raccoon...the plot thickens, as I try to figure out a way to thwart this pesky critter!

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  10. So sorry! We have deer all around us but they haven't visited us yet! I like the tags you have on the plants. Where did you find them and do you use a sharpie to write on them? Have a great week. Carol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Carol :) I got the metal plant markers online. I honestly cannot remember the website, but they have markers specifically for writing on metal. It's like a paint for metal. Over time, the squirrels chew on the markers and the writing wears off slightly...it's not a perfect system. Nothing is when there are critters around!

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  11. Argh! I would be so sad if this happened to me. I thought deer didn't like hellebores!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought so too Robin!! I didn;t think anything liked hellebores! This critter doesn't 'eat' them, they just chew everything apart and leave it lying there! I now think it's a raccoon. I saw tracks in the snow today.

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  12. Oh dear, that makes me cry, too. :( Or, as you say, it makes me mad! Like the others, I'm surprised that critters would bother your Hellebores. They seem immune to that type of trouble. One thing that might help is to plant onion sets around the plants or around the perimeter of the garden plot. They do tend to repel rabbits. And then you can eat them when they get big enough. Or maybe put a small wire barrier around the perimeter? Now I'm worried about my Hellebores...well, not until the foot of snow on top of them melts, but after that. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By the way, I just read a couple of articles that said mice and voles like to eat Hellebores. Argh. I have both pests in my garden! Maybe some mousetraps would help?

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    2. Beth, I ended up putting wire plant baskets over the hellebores, for now. Voles and mice will eat anything !! But I'm thinking this is something even bigger...like a raccoon! I saw tracks in the snow today. I'm trying to figure out how to deter it. Ugh!

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  13. Ah, when we lived on a mountain we had deer that ate voraciously. They even ate rose branches with thorns. I love deer but I can understand why people shoot them!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Linda! I love animals but it's so frustrating when they destroy your garden. I guess we all have to deal with these frustrations. Not an easy task when you LOVE to garden!!

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  14. Jan, This is so sad. I'm usually a pretty happy person, but finding this kind of damage in my garden sends me into a murderous rage. In my case, the culprit is usually the resident woodchuck (groundhog). Have you identified the likely source of the vandalism in your garden? -Jean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jean, yes, it really upset me. I now think it is a raccoon! I saw tracks in the snow today. Good thing we got snow, I was out there like a detective trying to solve a mystery. Now, I have to find a way to prevent this raccoon (or, raccoons) from getting over my fence. Hmm, electric fencing, perhaps?!

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  15. I had the same problem for years with my Tulips, hostas etc. Never seen a tulip bloom for years. I used to mix up a concoction of egg,oil, and hot peppers and spray on plants. It worked but only for few days to a week, or if it rained...even sooner. A few yrs ago I tried making sachets of Milorganite and hanging it from trees around the perimeter of my yard. One application kept them out for 2 yrs. It worked great, and I live in deer country of WV. I am so happy with how it works.
    http://www.tammyinwv.blogspot.com/search/label/Milorganite

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tammy, I appreciate your suggestion here and glad to see what worked for you! I just may have to give this a try. You are so fortunate to have found something that is really working! Thanks so much for visiting me and telling me about this. A concern I have is that it might not be deer...and could be some other critter, even as small as mice/rats or something else, perhaps even rabbits. I didn't think I had rabbits in the back yard since we have a fence...but we do have a small opening under the gate that one could slip through. Ahh, the trials and tribulations we suffer by doing what we love ;)

      Delete
  16. Are you sure no one was playing basketball nearby?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Les,you made me laugh!! I can't guarantee that the animals weren't having a scrimmage during the night :) However, I'm pretty sure the basketball pole and net is in the FRONT yard, off the driveway. I now think this critter is a raccoon. Do raccoons shoot hoops?!

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  17. What a shame. Looks like someone was running through the garden, not really eating anything.

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    Replies
    1. Exactly, Janet. Running through, over and just generally making a big mess. I am going to find a way to get this critter on its way. I think it's a raccoon...and am trying to find a way to prevent it from climbing my fence. Wish me luck.

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Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment! Please enjoy your TODAY and all of the gifts in YOUR garden of life!

Jan

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