Little helpers play part to restrict pests

A Song Thrush enjoys the cooling water in the garden bath.
A Song Thrush enjoys the cooling water in the garden bath.

Garden pests come in all shapes and sizes at the height of summer. Colonies of aphids in green, black and grey are suddenly discovered in the tips of roses, broad beans and certain brassicas.

We gardeners deal with them in a variety of ways, depending on our persuasion – chemicals, soft soap spray – safe in the knowledge that we have a constant stream of little helpers toiling away in the background.

Members of the tit family, also robin and wren, are always in high profile with our Brussels sprouts on their daily inspection routine.

A song thrush that serenades us from the crack of dawn to late evening is always welcome.

A scattering of snail shells on a favoured stone step used as an anvil highlights a further practical aspect of its presence.

So we are pleased to see it using the bathing facility on offer. Resident frogs from the pond, and toads, feast on slugs, while ladybird and hover fly larvae are partial to aphids wherever they exist in the garden.

Now that the main soft fruit crops are ready, in the absence of a permanent cage, there should be temporary netting in place to protect against blackbirds.

But oh that every pest attack could be resolved so easily.

Some plant destroyers play on circumstances and our sense of fair play.

Take the two rabbits that look so innocent, grazing on the front lawn every morning and in the evening light.

Their presence was acceptable when confined to nibbling grass, but when ornamental plants became part of the menu action was required, but what?

A collection of garden pinks were just starting to flower.

Within two days they had been nibbled to stumps.

Shooting and poisoning are out, and it seems that no effective, reasonable control measure exists to stop them.

The pinks were all dug up, re-potted and sent back to the greenhouse (hospital) for recuperation.

On recovery they were transferred to containers and placed in an elevated position where they now thrive. Meanwhile, the sweet little bunnies run free.