Last updated on December 2nd, 2011
LUPINS, winter-sown here in January, and later planted in the Serpentine Garden, had just last week set their small, green buds. How I looked forward to showing you these flowers as they matured into giant spires of purple, yellow, and pink! But while making “the rounds” this morning, I discovered that every fat bud had been cleanly nipped overnight. Who’s the culprit?
A chipmunk, I suspect.
At least one chipmunk dwells behind the dry-laid stone walls in the garden. Often I’ve seen him peering at me from one of his numerous hiding places. He’s too damn cute to invite much anger, even after he devours some of my flowers.
Will the lupins set more buds? Yes, and probably in far greater numbers than they originally intended. These I shall safeguard with an ugly but chipmunk-proof cylinder of one-inch hardware cloth. Or, perhaps I’ll try edging the plants with lavender. Lavender emits a scent that chipmunks, woodchucks, and deer positively loathe, and thus seldom trespass.
Whichever solution I choose, it will be a necessary one. For when you welcome wildlife on your property (and I hope you do, if only in light of the BP tragedy that has daily cost untold suffering for our finned, furry, and flying friends), you have to take certain measures to protect your cherished plants. And then your garden with its welcoming aura can truly be called a peaceable kingdom.
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Kevin, I watched a chipmunk eat the bud off one of my lilies last week. Like you, I forgave him immediately. They are cute little things.
My, you DO have lots of woodland creatures there, don't you?
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Adele – My property borders a forest, so yes, I am visited by all kinds of creatures!
Our property is on the edge of a large wooded nature preserve and park. Finding plants that are really deer and woodchuck proof has been very difficult. Herbs and astillbes seem to be the only things they consistently don't eat. I tried edging beds with lavender and other “smelly” plants. The deer step over them to get to the delicious plants inside the herb “ring!”
Thanks for the lavender suggestion, Kevin. We've had our veggies decimated by a newly arrived woodchuck this week, and I'm going to remember lavender for next year!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Lisa – sometimes a fence is the only solution, especially with aggressive deer. They will rarely jump a fence, because they don't like the feeling of being “trapped.” Here, boxwoods and ferns are other plants that deer won't eat.
Tammy – I used lavender to edge a group of cosmos last year, after woodchucks continuously nipped the flower buds. The lavender put an immediate stop to this destruction.
lupins…… Slugs and snails love them!