They’re cute, they’re soft, and to many gardeners they are a menace. Rabbits can clear a garden of foliage, flowers and fruit in a single night, making them some of the sneakiest and most destructive forces nature has in her arsenal. While there are many ways to fend off this cotton-tailed threat the effectiveness of each method depends on the situation. Just try a little of everything and see what works for you!
I just want one little bite…
You wouldn’t go to a restaurant that has nothing you like on the menu right? The same applies to rabbits. If there’s nothing good to eat, or the good stuff is too few and far between, they will leave your garden alone. The following varieties either resist or repel voracious bunnies:
- Sweet Alyssum
- Pot Marigold
- Wax Begonias
- Shirley Poppy
Rabbits will avoid certain varieties for a host of reasons, such as having a very strong scent (something that puts prey animals at a disadvantage), bad taste, or toxicity. You’ll find that in mild cases just planting ‘bad’ plants along with the good will greatly decrease the rabbit traffic in your lawn.
**Important note: Even plants that mature rabbits have learned to avoid are susceptible to being nibbled by baby rabbits. That’s because, just like human babies, immature rabbits test the world with their mouths and will try anything once before they decide they don’t like it. This is why the next bullet is so important.
Home remedies are great, but sometimes a tough problem needs a tougher solution. That’s why we suggest organic repellents which naturally, safely and effectively repulse rabbits, deer and other pests away from the garden. Do you have dogs or cats? If so, you’ve got some free pest repellent! Simply gather some of your pet’s shed fur and sprinkle it around your plants. Rabbits are skittish and nervous by nature so the smell of a large predator is enough to make them think twice about their choice of dining.
Barriers Are Your Friend
Chicken wire has so many uses nowadays it’s a surprise they don’t call it “Whatever You Need” wire! Use chicken wire or some other light, low maintenance barrier to shield your most vulnerable plants from destruction. Metal is preferred as anything else might get chewed right though with a determined rabbit’s sharp double set of incisors.
Keeping Clean (but fighting dirty )
If you have a recurring rabbit problem but don’t live in a heavily forested area, chances are you’re harboring them right in your own yard. These particular pests are great at hiding in plain sight and will take advantage of any shaded area. Keep large shrubs and low growing trees trimmed up and cleared of any excessive foliage which could hide a family of vermin. Check your yard for holes or “humps” in the soil which are telltale signs of rabbit nests.
To Catch a Thief
If nothing else seems to be working and you just want the bunnies gone right now you can have your local pest control group come and humanely trap and relocate them for you. A rabbit free garden is just a phone call away!
Summing it up:
You know that they say: A pinch of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best defense against any pest is knowledge and being proactive. Get well acquainted with your gardening neighbors and talk with them about what pests are common in your area. Then, prepare your yard accordingly. Plants things that pests avoid and have some supplies to deal with issues as they arise. With all these things in mind, go out there and reclaim your terrain!
We dedicate so much time and energy to our gardens that it is only natural to want to get the most out of it. An easy way to ensure returns on our hard work is by growing plants with long seasons of appeal. Each of these plant varieties are known to feature long-blooming flowers for maximum beauty for months on end.
Why do we find five pointed flowers so delightful? Is it because when playing “He loves me-he loves me not” we’ll always get the best answer at the end? Or maybe because their simplicity reminds us of attempting (with varying success) at drawing flowers as children? Well, whatever the reason, they have a certain charisma that just can’t be ignored. That’s why we just had to bring you our list of favorite five petaled flora.
While browsing a few news articles for tidbits about Wayside Gardens I came across this article, “Ooty’s Wayside Gardens Go to Seed”, on the front page of The Hindu, India’s national newspaper. My first thought was (foolishly) “why would we be mentioned in an Indian newspaper?”– we don’t ship to India.
It is actually a very good article about how wayside gardens in Indian urban areas are increasingly at risk from modern development, surely not a concern isolated to India. As many American urban gardeners have found, it can be very hard to maintain a respectable plot in the hustle and bustle. Also, it is getting more and more difficult to conserve historically significant gardens in booming cities where air pollution and new construction dominate.
The revelation for me, however, was that “wayside gardens” are more than just the name of a company, they are a particular kind of garden. I had just never thought about it. Dictionary.com defines “wayside” as “the side of the way” (obviously) or “roadside.” Wayside gardens are simply decorative gardens planted along the roadside. For example, the DOT projects where they plant flowers or ornamental trees along the interstate, sometimes on hills facing traffic. In the spirit of the article, however, I understand a traditional wayside garden to be a more cozy thing, an invitation into your home, maybe even a botanical welcome mat. I guess the big cities have little time for such frivolities.
Marco van Noort named Sweet Heidy for his wife. All those plant introductions, all that labor, and this is the one he’s chosen to give his wife’s name to! This alone tells us how special Sweet Heidy is.
The biggest distinction between Sweet Heidy and Orkney Cherry, aside from the foliage and bloom colour, is the habit. Sweet Heidy is partly trailing, a good plant for hanging baskets, flower pots, low walls, terrace gardens, that sort of thing. Give it a place to trail and it will do so, stretching about 2 1/2 feet long if need be. Simply lovely, needless to add.
Orkney Cherry is a spreader, and for a Geranium, it wastes no time! Give it bare soil and it will grow a 2 foot mat of fairly dense (this is a Geranium after all, not a creeping Phlox!) foliage of absolutely beautiful green spotted and veined faintly in deep pink, the same colour as the blooms. It’s a good choice for the border, because while it’s aggressive, it won’t choke anything out or really get in the way.
That said, most people will prefer Orkney Cherry because it’s the heaviest-blooming Geranium I’ve ever seen, full stop. The bloom season is endless too, but Sweet Heidy has an extra long season as well. For sheer number of flowers in a season, there’s no beating Orkney Cherry.
To give Sweet Heidy its due, the flower colour is its remarkable (and unique) merit. The flowers emerge a sort of cream colour with infusions of pink, which darkens as they mature. Finally they acquire blue edges, whilst keeping the pink further in, and the cream around the base. It’s the only hardy Geranium I know with this multi-ringed look. I hesitate to call it tri-coloured because all the shades aren’t present throughout the life of the bloom, but it is really distinctive and rather amazing.