I’ve been cool with the young bunny that lives in my yard…until yesterday, when I discovered that he’d chewed my brand new, adorable little southeastern native wildflower Marshallia graminifolia down to a nub!!!!
You tell me which is cuter: the Marshallia or the gluttonous herbivore that feeds mercilessly upon it. There is no contest!
no, no contest at all ;o)
I know. Not even close.
I get squirrels who assume that the best place in the universe to bury their pecans is in my Sarracenia pitcher plant pots, and I assume that Venus flytraps exude a pheromone that tells treerats that the best nut storage spot on the planet is underneath their roots. However, when I bring this up with friends, all they can focus on is how cute the vermin are. That’s about the time I recite the only appropriate quote for dealing with treerats: “THIS IS NOT WAR! THIS IS PEST CON-TROL!”
Ooooh, that’s maddening. The squirrels go nuts (d’oh!) burying walnuts in various places around my yard, but thankfully they don’t disrupt my potted plants too much.
The bunnies in my yard chew my coneflower to the nub – those demons! They also like to take one solid bite out of my brand new tea rose bush.
Omg, if they eat my coneflower or my roses I will be on the rampage.
I have a couple of baby bunnies now residing in my border, and they’ve decimated all the annuals I’ve started from seed. Eight weeks of germination gone down the tube! I have a lawn full of clover–they barely touch it. I walk around my garden muttereing like Elmer Fudd. “I’m gonna get that whascally wabbit.”
But they ARE insanely cute, the awful plant killers. My toddler runs around the house saying, “Daddy SO MAD at bunny wabbit. Daddy SO MAD at bunny wabbit.”
It’s true. Whoever wrote about the joys of habitat-friendly gardens is flat out wrong. Oh wait, that was me. 😉
Oh wow, if they consumed something I’d raised from seed I think I would have a hernia. The degree of their cuteness is inversely proportional to the quantity of ornamental plants they consume.
I don’t want to jinx myself, but I am happily coexisting with the bunnies. They do happily munch on the clover and plantain. I learned the hard way to cover my okra seedlings, and they’ll get bean seedlings too, but I plant gobs of those. They nibble on the cone flower, but not much damage. I let them have the aster–it keeps coming back even though they devour it. I guess they really prefer Asteraceae above all else. Now the squirrels on the other hand are on my last nerve. I’m eventually building a big blueberry compound.
Val, I was co-existing with mine, too, until they started messing with my ornamentals!!! I’ve got tons of clover, too, which I thought was supposed to be bunny ambrosia. What gives?
You are my kind of person!! There is nothing like the plant & far too many rabbits ( too bad they are so cute) … Set the cats on them
I think my dog does a reasonable job of keeping the rabbits from completely decimating my plants, but he’s getting a little old and rickety now and tends to just take naps in the grass. The rabbits are getting less and less intimidated by him all the time.
I know the feeling of watching treasured plants turn into bunny poop. I have enjoyed a respite for a few years as the Coyote population exploded locally. County officials have trapped and poisoned most of the coyotes now and rabbits are everywhere. I wish you could have enjoyed a sight in my garden yesterday as a large redtailed hawk swooped into my daylily bed and nabbed a baby bunny. At least the hawks are protected? Can’t we protect the coyote as well?
Wow, Charley, that sounds very dramatic. It’s amazing how your perspective on cute animals can change when they start messing with your turf. A hawk swooped down the other day and got a baby grackle out of its nest and I felt very little remorse, since the grackles poop all over our deck in the summer. Plus, I figure the baby hawks have to eat, too.
I’ve had to move some of their favorites to pots.
This reminds me of the killer rabbit scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Seriously, there is a bunny population explosion going on in my area. The main thing they’ve attacked in my garden is the woodland phlox. I’m all in favor of allowing the coyotes to eat as much rabbit tartar as they can. This also makes me think of the more serious deer overpopulation problem, and the misguided resistance to taking reasonable measures to control the deer herd and the massive damage they do. We have a nature preserve near us where they can’t restore native plants because they’ll be eaten by the deer.
I know, Jason. I feel very lucky that I do not have deer roaming into my yard, as so many do. If I did, I think I would either sit on my porch night and day with a shotgun, or give up gardening. It’s tough.
Mountain Beavers have competely disappeared almost 100 of the plants I have put in over the past year and a half as a part of my Native plant Mitigation adventure, everything from ferns and shrubs to small trees. They are an odious creature and apparently not even delicious to the owls, coyotes, eagles, bobcats, lynx, and bears that live around me. Your bunny, however, is quite attractive. I think his name is Stew.
Yesterday, I visited a garden my organization helped restore in one of our state forests (site of an old plantation house). It sits in deep woods on all sides and is full of wildlife, the same critters we have been complaining about snacking on our gardens. Remarkably, none of the plants had been touched, not even the tender day lilies that deer seem to love so much. I decided to look up the park ranger and ask how they protected the plants. His response, we don’t do anything.
I ask you, what is going on here? Are the critters just picking on us because we dared enter their home turf. My house is in a rural area surrounded by woods and swamps. If that is the case we are looking at an evil intent here. Maybe that explains why squirrels have taken all the peaches off my two trees before they were ripe; taken one bite out of each and left them on the ground.
We all need a plan.
At more than one point in the past five years, I have actually considered giving up gardening because of the pest problem. A fence helps. Some lilies I cannot grow unless I have a rabbit proof fence to supplement the 7′ high fence i had to install to keep deer out. Even then, the squirrels leave me no tomatoes, the voles no root crops, and too often I watch my tulip stems disappear into the ground as they are eaten from below by voles. Fate sent me a helper in the form of a black cat someone dropped off on our back country road.
Like the coyotes, she kept the rabbit population at a minimum and I have watched her sit for hours by a vole entrance until she nabbed the little rodent. Blackie, as I called her, disappeared early this spring, perhaps a victim of the coyote herself, and I am now contemplating rescuing another feline to take her place.
Wow, Charley, you’ve got it tough. I can see how a cat lurking in the garden would definitely be a help. I’m pretty sure my dog has played a role in keeping my garden fairly clear of certain critters. Now that he’s getting older, I worry the vermin may begin to move in.
The chicken wire fence we have mounted around our veggies keep out rabbits and groundhogs, but the chipmunks and squirrels just climb over it and feast away. Short of a shotgun, what’s the remedy?
I wish I knew. I am not a big veggie grower so I don’t have to contend with the frustration of critters pilfering my food. My personal remedy would probably be shouting, arm-waving, crying fits, followed by despondency and resignation.
I really only know of one solution, maybe two. Like my friend Dan, you can completely encase your garden on five sides with 1″ chicken wire. (4 sides and top). Be sure to bury side fence several inches to keep bunnies and woodchucks from digging under. The second is to keep cats and good dog who live outside most of the time. They may need training. The top fencing keeps out squirrels and birds who will eat any berries you grow.
Baby bunnies are so cute I learned to love them in my old garden. I just stopped planting things that they eat and the few things I did have that they eat (asters for one) I put up a little chicken wire cage around. That said I am very glad I don’t have bunnies in my new garden. I’m not sure why I don’t but I’m not complaining.
Makes me wonder why people put stone bunny statues in their gardens. Erecting a statue of Kim Jong-Il on the Nat’l mall would make just as much sense.
Last weekend, I took off Friday and focused on beating my back yard into shape. That’s when I noticed that I don’t have the problem with rabbits in my yard that I used to have. I also haven’t seen the squirrel that liked to chew out my cats through the bedroom window. While moving some dragonfruit pots, I found a nice big fat pile of cicada wings in one pot, and then I started finding, erm, bits. Bluejay feathers, and a couple of chunks of rabbit fur blowing off my roof. Suddenly, I made a connection between this and the Harris’s hawk that’s been perching from time to time atop my greenhouse, and realized that she’s decided to move in. (I currently call her “Shayera Hol”. Too geeky?)