No sooner had we got the fruit harvests netted against blackbirds than pests started appearing on other fronts.
But this is part and parcel of summer, as you strive to protect edible and ornamental produce.
Best way to maintain sanity throughout is accept the inevitable; local wildlife will have a share in the end, and you’re doing your bit for conservation.
Rabbits, pollen beetles, wasps, slugs and snails have figured strongly in conversations with fellow gardeners recently.
The turn-out fields our horses use are alive with bunnies of all sizes and there are more popping in and out of gardens down the lane.
A small one appears on the front lawn, which suggests siblings and parents exist.
I see no damage in the borders but hope he/she does not decide to explore the back garden.
They’ve found cabbages planted by friend Ron a few doors away and he’s not amused.
Nor was Rita, who lives within five miles of us. They’ve been eating her ornamental plants and she asked for a list of species they dont eat.
This is fraught with difficulty because a severe winter will drive wild animals, rabbits especially, to eat almost anything for survival.
However, in normal circumstances, I’ve never known them eat any of the lavender, hellebore or euphorbia plants we grow.
They’ve never touched onions on the vegetable patch, nor their relatives, several varieties of showy alliums in a mixed border.
This is not to say plants that are strongly pungent will deter them from eating their favourites nearby.
The RHS lists several ornamental plants worth trying where there is a rabbit problem and as we have regular visits from the little furry creatures, I can certainly agree with some of those highlighted.
Bergenia has decorative leaves and flowers, and ajuga (bugle) is an attractive ground cover plant.
Alchemilla (lady’s mantle), anaphalis (silvery grey leaves, white flowers) and catananche (Cupid’s darts – blue), share the same border and are never troubled by bunnies.
Periwinkle, aster, astilbe and lily-of-the-valley, similarly, appear to be rabbit-proof.
They have never nibbled the irises, lilies, catmint, oregano nor Solomon’s seal and I’d certainly remember being upset if they’d eaten the sedum spectabile (ice plant).
It is the star of late summer when covered in glorious bloom, peacocks, red admirals, tortoiseshells and bumblebees.