Sunday, September 23, 2007


I have just sent off my autumn bulb order and instead of a feeling of excitement and anticipation I am somewhat depressed at the prospect of going to all the effort of planting them out, only for them to be gobbled up by the Porcupine. 'Istrice' are rather a menace in my garden. Last autumn I planted some fearfully expensive foxtail lilies only to find then dug up and eaten only days later. So what to do? Physical barriers such as fences (chain-link or electric) are a bit drastic if not costly: I don't want to make the garden like Colditz. Planting some bulbs in pots is a good start but what about those great drifts of daffodils and tulips we all dream about? I have read that you can put wire mesh just below the soil surface when the bulbs are planted so they can grow through it but the porcupine don't like catching their claws in it. I bit too clever for me. Putting lights near the bulbs has some deterrent effect: I put solar powered lamps all round the place. This summer one of the lamps got kicked over and that very night the animals destroyed the adjacent clump of variegated iris. If there is a clump of precious bulbs I try to put a large rock in front to stop the porcupine from digging. Trial and error has shown that the ideal weight of rock is about that of a bag of sugar - lighter than this and they just roll it away. Finally what about deterrent smells? I have heard of a special liquid that the hunters use round here for all sorts of animals - even wild boar. It sounds like the stuff called renadine used in England to repel foxes - I must try to get some. But a German artist I met recently put me on to moth balls: apparently the porcupine hates the smell of camphor. But it has to be the old fashioned type not the modern sachets. Don't they wash away in the rain? Put them in a plastic container. Where to buy them? Germany. Oh well.


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