A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Monday, May 07, 2007

And the answer is . . .

The answer to my question is "yes". Squirrels do like Oriental Hybrid lilies. I lost about half a dozen of them in the fall when the bulbs were dug up and eaten by the same squirrels who are now eating the emerging plants.

Yesterday, I took advantage of the cool weather to begin the laborious process of planting the tiny seedlings in my winter sowing containers. This morning I discovered that the squirrels had destroyed most of them. It appears that they dug them up looking for something edible. My gardens are now littered with holes and discarded plants. I lost most of the Wild Purple Foxglove and all but one of the Monkshood. The pansies and Black Prince snapdragons escaped more or less unscathed, but I'm not holding my breath.

I'm sure the squirrels will be back tomorrow to try their luck again.


At 9:55 AM, Anonymous The County Clerk said...

I'm sorry for your loss, but your post quite funny.

At 12:19 PM, Blogger Yolanda Elizabet said...

Oh dear, I never knew squirrels can do so much damage to a garden. Your post was funny but this destruction isn't!

At 8:20 PM, Blogger OldRoses said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds this funny!

At 11:58 AM, Blogger Marc said...

Are you sure that squirrels are the only critters to blame? The bushy tailed squirrels at my house stay in the woods but we have a lot of problems with chipmonks or what some people call ground squirrels.

I don't know if this would work for larger squirrels, but to keep the chipmonks from digging up bulbs, I sunk small amounts of chicken wire just below ground level or just under the mulch in some cases. The chipmonks couldn't get through, but the plants grew through the openings.

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Annie in Austin said...

Given the choice of Laugh, Weep, or get out the shotgun, you went with the positive one, OldRoses, to the benefit of your readers, and possibly of your blood pressure.

Every garden of ours has been infested by squirrels, eating the bulbs, the fruit, the vegetables, the buds off the shrubs, chipping bark off the trees to leave gaping wounds, gnawing the wood trim on some houses, cracking branches on young trees to make nests, planting forests of trees in every container and garden bed, and even tearing apart metal & glass garden decor!!

Tree Rats I call 'em!! Tree Rats!!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose
[Some IL people even made hardware cloth 'boxes', put in the bulbs, and planted the whole thing in the ground.]

At 9:37 PM, Blogger Ki said...

Oh, no! As Anthony of the Compost bin says NJ squirrels suck. Good to know that they'll go after Oriental lilies. I already spray those with the habanero death sauce because deer love to browse on lilies too so I don't think those little devils will try to eat them.

At 10:19 PM, Blogger Kate said...

My goodness, those squirrels are in a feeding frenzy. It is amazing to see how much damage these critters can make - I wonder if there's a way you could distract them and get them feeding somewhere else ... of course, they'd probably feed there and then return and keep right on eating. They have insatiable appetites.

I am curious to know how your hyacinth bean tripod is doing! I've just planted some and thought of you.

At 8:11 PM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Marc, Middlesex is overrun with squirrels so there is fierce competition for food. They gnaw everything and are reputed to be able to chew through concrete. I don't have the time or patience to "squirrel-proof" my entire yard.

Annie, Thank you! It's great to know that someone else has horrible squirrel problems. You're right about decor. I can no longer seasonally decorate the exterior of my house with any natural materials because the squirrels consider them holiday buffets!

Ki, The squirrels have never bothered my daylilies or Madonna lilies so I was surprised to see them go after the oriental lilies. I don't know if it is the plant or where they are planted (in the same bed as the yummy tulips) that makes them attractive.

Kate, I have to shamefacedly admit that I do feed the squirrels. I thought/hoped it would distract them from my gardens but it only seems to have encouraged them. They have also invited all of their friends and relatives to sample the bounty in my yard. Some days I feel like I am knee-deep in squirrels. I check my hyacinth beans every day even though I know that it's silly. Way too soon for them to be germinating!

At 4:52 PM, Anonymous chigiy said...

You know what Carrie said on "Sex in the City", "Squirrels are just rats in cuter outfits."

At 8:29 PM, Blogger Ottawa Gardener said...

Squirrels... I spend a lot of my gardening time outwitting them. (Generally, this means, covering the newly planted/emerging plants with plastic netting.)


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