Wednesday, 30 March 2016

pest problems

Something has been picking the flower heads off the Anemone blanda.  The display is not so thick as it was a few days ago after I'd put the potted bulbs out, and examining the plants I can see the truncated stalks.  Most of the missing heads have disappeared, presumed eaten, but whatever it is has thrown the odd one on the ground.  Muttering to myself I sprayed the whole of the ditch bed with another dose of Grazers, and treated the remaining trays of Anemone I still haven't planted out yet.  Should I blame the rabbits or the pheasants?  I saw a cock pheasant skulking along the back of the bed as I pulled up the bathroom blind this morning, and they certainly eat fritillary flowers.

Last night's camera footage of the further rose bed showed one rabbit hopping about in the bed between seven at night and six in the morning, but no actual photographic evidence of it eating the Viola cornuta.  I don't know what it was doing poking around among the clumps of Aconitum napellus, since the whole plant is acutely toxic to human beings, and if only it would eat that it might save me a lot of trouble.  I gave the violas a second treatment of Grazers as well, and then since I had half a sprayer of solution left I went and used it on the bulb foliage in the gravel near the entrance, which was eaten to stumps last year.  The autumn crocus and emerging fritillaries have escaped so far, but something has had a hard chew at the dwarf pinks and some of the alpines in the railway garden.  I started to spray them and it began to rain.

I do miss the big tabby and the black cat.  I love Our Ginger dearly, but we never had all this nonsense with plants being eaten while we had hunting cats in their prime.  I was all for setting the camera on the railway garden, to see if the rabbits are feeding there currently, or if the damage is older and I only just noticed it.  The Systems Administrator wanted to put the camera on the cat door, however, to find out whether Our Ginger goes out after we've gone to bed, and whether he does a dawn patrol now that it's getting slightly warmer.  He was not outside our bedroom door wailing to be let in this morning, and he usually is.  He cried outside the greenhouse yesterday until I let him in, whereupon he stomped about briefly and curled up on top of one of the dahlia pots. That's all very well for now, but won't be so good as soon as the dahlia leaves start emerging.

I set the camera on the cat door.  Is it entirely ethical to spy on your cat?

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