May 16, 2011
The rodent saga continues…I now have eyewitness confirmation that it was a squirrel chewing and tearing at the emerging leaves of my hosta. Can anyone corroborate this behavior? I do not believe he was actually eating the plant: I am sure he was punishing me because I have stopped filling the birdfeeder for the season.
On Friday, my Globemaster Alliums looked great, developing plump, promising buds. On Saturday, 3 of them were slumped over, with limp, pale foliage. Only one thing I know can cause such a swift and dramatic demise of a plant. Sure enough, when I gave a gentle tug on a sagging stalk, it came right out of the ground into my hand. No roots remained at the base. A vole, the first evidence I’ve had this year, had been to dinner.
This surprised me because Alliums are members of the garlic family and share that odor. Deer avoid them and I thought other critters would have a similar distaste. Not so the Vole.
Also on Saturday I discovered what the Woodchuck had been up to. Many of my lovely Virginia Bluebells were removed from their stalks—leaf and blossom--and one cluster was even crushed flat by his weight. As in past years, woodchucks love the bluebells as well as the pulmonaria (lungwort), Echinops ritro (globe thistle) and the echinacea (coneflowers). This is another example of nature’s perversity (or, depending on your perspective, balance). The lungwort have fuzz-covered leaves that would repel deer; the Echinops are covered with both fuzz and bristles; and the coneflowers are aromatic herbs, which deer also avoid. Not so the woodchuck! He loves what the deer leave behind.
I have sprinkled the targeted plants generously with Critter Ridder, a granular repellent made with hot pepper. Last year it worked beautifully to keep the woodchuck away. A sprinkling is effective for about 1 month, as directed on the package. I don’t know yet if it works with voles.Rodents!
Have you had similar problems? Do you have solutions? Please chime in!