It’s early spring and all the plants are leafing out with fresh, tender new leaves. The garden is looking green, healthy, and plump with lush juicy flower buds all ready to bloom in a matter of weeks. I’m ready for the spring flower show!
And then I see it! Leaves and buds eaten off some of my rose bushes and lily plants and other flowering plants. I know it’s not the deer, because I fenced my garden just to keep them out. But then I notice that the leaves and buds that are eaten are all at 2 feet and below. I wondered what the heck is going on?
This was not just happening to me but to my other friends too. My friend Devi casually mentioned that something is eating the leaves and buds on her miniature roses (and she had 100s of buds on those little bushes). My friend Georgina told me with frustrations that her fava beans on her bean plants had gotten eaten up and some leaves on her other veggie plants too. We thought maybe it is snails, as they can do a lot of damage. But we kept going back to our original villain of the garden – deer! We think the deer are the cause of all our garden woes!! But both of us have fenced our gardens to keep these deer out, so we were both confused.
So I did some research and as it turns out – it’s rabbits!! Cute looking bunny rabbits that are eating all our freshly leafed out plants.
It’s maddening to know that these adorable little animals with their white puffs of a tail can cause so much damage to the garden. I now completely understand the frustration that Mr. McGregor felt when Peter Rabbit came into his garden to eat his vegetables. Maddening!! This is the Peter Rabbit story I remember reading to Sri when she was little. I dug up the book to share with you the story that I felt I was living in reality.
I passed this knowledge about rabbits being the culprits in her garden on to Georgina. She found it hard to believe that those cute little animals were eating her veggies, especially as they are so small and the plants were eaten all the way up to 2 feet. I told her they stand on 2 feet and reach up to eat what they want. She shook her head, I don’t know if she believed me. But then she saw the culprit in action for herself- a cute bunny actually eating her veggies!! It was so funny to hear her tell me the story, “Dolly, I was at my kitchen window and right in front of me I see a fuzzy white round tail and then I see leaves moving, and then I see this bunny rabbit eating my veggie plants, right in front of me!” I said, “I told you it’s those darn bunnies!” She watched the rabbit eating her plants and then scurry off into a corner of her fence onto her neighbor’s property. She decided to close that gap in that corner thinking it would prevent the rabbit from coming back, but they came back all right! Found a way by burrowing a tunnel, and finished off the rest of her fava beans!
Bunny rabbits are tall when they are on two feet. And the litle ones eat all the low growing leaves.
I caught my little culprit in action this year! Don’t worry we didn’t hurt him; we just released him onto the hill behind us. But honestly, how do you keep something so small out of your garden? Just like Peter Rabbit, they can squeeze through any gap and come in and do damage to your garden. But I won’t give up! I love my flowers and veggies too much to let this little guy win. So the war continues between the gardener and the rabbit!
My garden culprit!
I didn’t want to hurt these adorable animals. So l figured out a more humane way to deal with this dire situation. You can either put some chicken wire netting surrounding the plants so the rabbits are unable to eat through the netting, or you can look for some organic medicine that you can spread on your garden. I did choose to net some of my plants, you can do that if you have small grouping of plants that are getting eaten. Just wrap the chicken wire lightly around that section of plants, and that should protect them for a while until the rabbits move on to some other garden.
It is impossible for me to net the entire garden, so I chose the medicine option, and asked Hitesh to pick up some cougar urine/fox urine concoction spray or powder that you can spread all over your garden. The smell that is released makes the rabbits think there are predators on the property and keeps them away. It worked last year for a little while, at least until the plants got taller and the buds were too high for the rabbits to reach. But then who knows, maybe the bunnies have gotten smarter this year; and just like Peter and Benjamin Rabbit, they may elude me and continue to cause their carnage on my garden.
The poor deer are relegated to second tier enemies of the garden now. It’s the bunnies that have taken over that top spot on the garden’s most wanted enemies list! Bunnies, they are not so cute as you think!
Most Wanted! On the Garden’s Most Wanted Enemies List!