Saturday, 24 May 2008

Rabbits and blooms.

When we first moved here I did not realise quite how much damage rabbits can do. I lost many plants in those first few years. I put netting around the beds and had various other contraptions to try and deter them. It worked to a degree but the garden looked like some sort of assault course. After a lot of thought I decided to take all netting etc down. I knew I would lose a lot of plants, but it would also show me what they would leave alone. That would give me the foundations for landscaping a rabbit proof garden. The warren, is in the copse, and this doe was out at lunchtime! The following plants flower happily every year and until this point have not been on a rabbits lunch menu.
I bought a bag of mixed Allium bulbs last Autumn....I do not have all their names but this sweet one is Allium Moly.
This dead nettle does well and I love the leaves of this plant.

Beautiful little Poppy .......I like them small and neat.
And Musk, always such intense colours on this little flower.
I am loving my Alliums this year.....this one is Allium Cristophii with its globular head of stars.
Another Allium, don't know the name.
And yet another.......I told you I am in love with Alliums this year.

And the lovely Clematis Pink Fantasy is covered from head to toe in blooms.
The Elder is as safe as houses.....rabbits hate the smell.....this one is Black Lace, it has beautiful pale pink flowers, a perfect combination with that dark foliage.
White Lupins and Foxgloves....these look stunning as dusk draws nigh.
Oriental Poppies, just beginning to open their buds and we have strong winds and torrential rain forecast for the next two days. It happens every year, amazing.
And finally Incarvillea....a bit bright but ok against the white of the house. Living with rabbits is not easy and it has been a challenge. But we can live alongside them, you just have to think and plant differently......................and you can still have a beautiful garden!
I would just like to thank you to Zhakee at Sierra Nevada Ramblings for the Cyber Award she gave me today. I am very grateful to her. Zhakee has a lovely blog that takes you on some wonderful outings and ramblings. She always manages to find something to captivate the imagination and has a lovely way with words. Pop along sometime.


Miranda Bell said...

Cheryl - love the white lupins and foxgloves together - stunning! I must admit we rarely see a hare in France and never seen a rabbit anywhere near our property in 5 years - the Chasse in France are pretty relentless...

Hope the bad weather doesn't do too much damage - I managed to get out for an hour to lay some weedblock fabric over the area where I'm going to plant out our tomatos and courgettes/pumpkins - helps to warm up the soil, keep weeds at bay and help the soil retain moisture during warm weather!

Enjoy your bunnies - I successfully bred two litters of rabbits in the UK when I was younger - Mummy rabbit was found hopping round the beer barrels in the local pub!!

Have fun - Miranda

Cheryl said...

Hi Miranda....You are so lucky not to have seen a rabbit, perhaps I should move to France!
Useful info on the weedblock fabric, have never thought about it warming up the soil.....that could be useful here as soil is heavy and damp.

Love your story about the bunnies and the local pub...........made me smile.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

So many pretty blooms despite the rabbits Cheryl. I just love aliums but they don't grow well here. They live a couple of years then they give up. I think they are too expensive to have for just a couple of years. I will just have to enjoy them through your photos.

Zvrk said...

Hello from Kent , as well!
Found your blog by chance on another gardening blog.
I do have a similar mix of flower like you do, but my Lupins finally gave way (some giant whiteish afids kept attacking them every year).

Cheryl said...

Hi Lisa.....I agree with you I do not buy expensive plants especially with the rabbit.
The Alliums were virtually a giveaway so I grabbed the opportunity......they are in a raised bed so should do well here, I hope so anyway.
I know that you have Trilliums, I love these flowers but they never perform well, so I have decided to forget about them........this is just what gardening is about isn't it.

Cheryl said...

Welcome Zvrk.....
Lupins are beautiful and I love their smells like freshly ground pepper............
Sorry that you lost yours.

Daphne said...

Last year we had a bumper crop of rabbits, but luckily this year I haven't seen one yet. Which is good since the gate on my vegetable garden doesn't really close anymore.

I love the musk flower with its yellow beard. So cute.

Rose said...

Cheryl, How smart (and kind) of you to find a way to coexist with rabbits. We once had a pet rabbit, so I am pretty soft-hearted when it comes to bunnies. So far, they've never bothered my flowers.
It's funny, we were just talking about rabbits last night. My son has a problem with them in his back yard. My granddaughter enjoys watching them from the patio doors, but they leave rabbit "pellets" all over the yard. My son is worried about the kids playing outside then, so he sprayed some rabbit repellent, but it smells so nasty he's not sure which is the lesser of two evils.

Love the lupins and foxgloves together!

Cheryl said...

Hi Rose...Most children love rabbits, lets face it they do look so cute. They can of course do a lot of damage....but it is not in my nature to hurt anything, so we live together, it it not always perfect but it the best I will get.

I love the lupin and foxglove to, a pure fluke as the foxglove selfseeded next to the lupin. Mother Nature always does it best.

Cheryl said...

Hi Daphne....I would get the gate fixed, don't lose your precious vegies.
Never thought of the Musk flower with a are right it does look like a little beard.
Thanks for dropping by.

Hedgewitch said...

wow! your garden must look amazing with all those gorgeous blooms.

I like alliums very much .. but today's favourite is that stunning dark elder :-)

I'm afraid I'm such a bit softie I couldn't help thinking how sweet the bunny looked (even though I know she is eating your garden). Its a real treat for us townies to see a rabbit, lol! I'm glad you have found how to garden in spite of them.. can't be easy.

We had our own wildlife moment today in Tottenham .. there's a fox living over the back (disused warehouse behind our house) who comes out to play - we can see him from our kitchen window. Sadly couldn't snap him.. will try again!

Cheryl said...

Hi Hedgewitch....I love the Elder to. I like the secrets she keeps. I enjoy picking her blooms and gently frying them in a light batter.....I always ask before I pick them...She is a magical tree.

I can live with the rabbits, they are only doing what rabbits do. To help the bees, birds and butterflies though I need lots of flowers and grasses. So careful planting is now the order of the day.

I love foxes.... they are the most beautiful creatures. We used to have one old chap here. He had a leg injury, I fondly named him Pegleg. Unfortunately he has not been around for a while, I think he may have been shot. I hear the guns go off at night....I do not like saddens me...I try not to think about it too much.

Mary said...

Hi Cheryl,

If I could afford the gas prices, I'd fly over to see your garden. It must be 100 times larger than mine.



Cheryl said...

I know these petrol prices are out of control. I think we are paying twice as much as you at the moment.
So I don't think any of us will be flying anywhere at the moment!!!

Wendy said...

What a good idea! To just let things be and see what the rabbits leave alone. One year the rabbits ate my tulips and panseys, but left the daffodils alone. Somebody told me to put a perfumy smell on the plants (like laundry detergent or fabric softener). I did and I think they may have stayed away - or everything was already eaten!
Love those flowers - all of them!

Cheryl said...

Hi Wendy.....Rabbits hate anything that has an unpleasant fragrance. That is why Elder, Geraniums, etc are left alone.
ALSO SOME PLANTS ARE TOXIC.....Daffodils (they also have sap inside the stem, they don't like that), foxgloves, lupins, most plants (although not all) you see on my blog will not be touched by rabbits.
By the way they love pansies. I have to grow them in tubs.