Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pool Shark School of Surprise Attack

I have a sneaky suspicion that my garden is not all it appears to be. To the untrained eye it's a colorful jumble of flowers, shrubs, and short fat dogs. But to the warren of rabbits snug in their earthen burrows beneath my neighbors foundation, it is the feast that fuels midnight parties, where I suspect the horny hares are quite busy going at it like, well... rabbits. I'm starting to worry that the main thing growing in my garden is simply more rabbits. I don't like this. I don't like this at all.


Do you see the huge swath of bright yellow heliopsis behind the purple monarda? Yeah, me neither. What I do see are a few flowers to the left and right while the middle remains woefully empty. Why is that? Bunnies!


The entire middle of this patch of heliopsis was devoured by the fat bastards. Apparently, my metal butterfly wasn't fierce enough to scare them away. 
Note to Self: buy scarier garden art.


Please tell me that's all they ate!


When not busy devouring unsuspecting gardens or canoodling in the dark, those ravenous rabbits have been attending the Pool Shark School of Surprise Attack. Heliopsis? Mostly devoured but will be back to finish the job. Dalea? Delicious. Malva 'Zebrina'? C'est Magnifique! Cypress vine? Pole Beans? Excellent with a splash of lemon, please.


But it is the demise of the asters that has me the angriest. How dare they eat my asters after I worked so hard to stuff them into plant supports? You can kiss my asster, you fuzzy,  garden-munching, furball screwing, 'Hey, look how cute I am' pests! Out, out, out of my garden!


The neighborhood rabbits have eaten so much of my garden I doubt they even look like bunnies anymore. I should probably be on the lookout for a herd of hippos instead.

59 comments:

  1. Rabbits can be a nuisance but you should allow the funny bunnies to have a snack in your garden, hahaha. You should buy a gun.

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    1. I'd probably just end up shooting myself in the foot. :o)

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  2. Takich odwiedzin też bym nie chciała mieć w ogródku. Przykro jak ktoś zjada Twoja pracę. Pozdrawiam.
    Such visits also would not like to have in the garden. Sorry someone eats your work. Yours.

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  3. How irritating to have them there destroying all your hard work. I would have to start working on their riddance.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. If they would just eat the grass, I'd be thrilled. :o)

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  4. I feel you pain; have the same problem here. Really pisses me off.

    S
    xo

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    1. They really need to just focus on the dandelions!

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  5. Well you've give me a laugh from your frustration, anyway! HAHA Hippo rabbits! The ravenous garden critters are one reason I love houseplants. I can control what goes on inside a little better.

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    1. A rabbit would have to be highly motivated to eat a houseplant. :o)

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  6. Oh, how I sympathize with you! They look so cute and cuddly in photos but are monsters in the garden. Thanks for the laugh this morning. Maybe they will soon be to fat to move.

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    1. At this point they should be so fat that I can just pick them up and carry them around unless all the baby-bunny making is burning off the calories.

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  7. A funny post, but not an amusing problem. The rabbits here are out of control too. Populations ebb and flow as all wildlife does from year to year, but this wet rainy year they are crazy everywhere, although mine don't look like hippos (yet)!

    They ate a young baptisia down to the ground (nothing has ever touched baptisia before). They are practically underfoot in the yard when I am out there. Aarrrgh.

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    1. My husband had one shoot right past him the other day. It had been hiding behind a watering can - very Beatrix Potter!

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  8. Oh can I relate to this. I gave up on Heliopsis after one year, thanks to the bunnies. They even eat allium. It's insane. If you are dead set against Liquid Fence, it may be time to invest in some coyote urine. I hear it works for deer, so why not rabbits?

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    1. Because my neighbors are about an inch away, I'm trying to stay away from anything stinky. Plus, I heard the coyotes are kept in cages and their pee collected from trays under the bottom so I don't want to support that. So far, the plants that have been surrounded by my jerry-rigged bird netting fences have been mostly untouched so I've made a few more of those. I'm sure they'll just move on to something else.

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  9. A couple of years ago I could not grow an Echinacea, Aster, Heuchera or Rudbekia to save my life. Rabbits were everywhere. Granular Plantskyd worked but it's blood based so repelled the rabbits but attracted the dog. I got sick of wiping what looked like bloody pepper off of his face a couple of time a day.

    Then the flea bag cat moved in...no more spraying or sprinkling required and no more rabbits in my garden. Now if I could only train him to take down deer...

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    1. Dried blood would probably send my dogs into a frenzy. We used to have feral cats around but I haven't seen them in a while which could explain the explosion in the bunny population. Only one of my dogs is a hunter and after eating a bunny last year and then getting very sick, she avoids them. Sigh....

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  10. I am laughing my aster off. Well, bunnies are only funny when they are in Mr Mc Gregor' s garden. We have bunnies here, so so far they have left the gardens alone. The dog chased them off, bit he is gone now. We also have a fox family and hawks that keep the population in control. Your readers have left you some very good suggestions.

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    1. I would love a fox family! The hawks we have tend to be smaller so the bigger bunnies would be too heavy for them, especially the ones in my garden. I think my dogs are pacifists and have probably engaged in peace talks with the bunnies. They probably all smoked a little weed and listened to some Grateful Dead or Dylan when they were done.

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  11. Oh my Tammy, even though I feel your pain, I couldn't help but laughing at the way you wrote this post.
    Can you set some net traps for them? I can't believe that they're not afraid of the dogs.
    I would set up a small tent outside one night and wait for those varmits to appear, and deal with them.

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    1. I think they've worked out a deal with the dogs. See my comment above. :o)

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  12. Oh my goodness...lovin' that hippo at the salad bar!

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  13. Oh Tammy, it is so frustrating to have those damn rabbits in a garden. I scrolled through your previous posts....looks like they have been chowing down for a while now. How kind of you to offer such a variety for them to snack upon. Love the Pool Shark.

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    1. I need the Pool Shark to munch some bunnies!

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  14. Your garden is scrumptious! A fine example of a beautiful edible garden! We don't have a bunny problem but we do have coyotes in the hood which seems unusual for an urban area. Maybe you'd like to borrow some to clear up your problem?

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    1. If the coyotes will clear up the bunny problem, I will gladly keep the dogs inside!

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  15. This is the 1st year I planted vegetables out front where I mostly get the sun. This is the 1st year I have seen a rabbit! Haven't seen him in my garden yet, but close by. I put fresh moth balls out there this morning. They keep pests out of trailers and such in the winter, and they kept the skunks out of my yard last year, so hope it keeps critters away from my garden! You may want to try throwing some out in your garden. It's cheap.

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    1. Mothballs are actually highly toxic and are a registered pesticide. Plus, they really stink. I'd probably repel my neighbors more than the bunnies!

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  16. I can sympathize with your problem and with your frustration. I had rabbits and groundhogs in a previous garden, and they used to devour so many things. Now I have a fenced garden, but unfortunately, raccoons can climb the fence. They don't eat much, but they destroy a lot just by being playful.

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    1. I've heard raccoons can shred a garden within hours. If I had to pick, I'd take the bunnies! They're not as smart as a raccoon.

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  17. Hi Tammy, I feel for you since I have experienced myself how devastating the visits of rabbits can be for the garden. My solution for the backyard is to completely fence it in with chicken wire, in the parts where we have metal fence, where they easily could come through. Sometimes they still dig underneath the chicken wire or the wood part of the fence, but if I see rabbit damage in the garden I check the fences for holes and put big stones where they have been digging through and that kept them out for a couple of weeks. Just talking about it I realized that we haven't had any rabbit damage in the garden this year!
    In the front yard, which is completely open to them I have had good experience to spray "Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent" (it works by repelling them with sent and is completely OK for the environment). I had to spray it regularly, but the rabbits indeed passed my front yard and went to the neighbors! I am surprised though that you have that many rabbits because you have the dogs. Since my neighbors have a black Labrador there have been no rabbits dug under the fence from their side. Hope you find a solution to deal with these cute but destructive furry little guys.
    Christina

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    1. I am definitely using chicken wire next year. I'll be able to install it this fall once the plants go dormant. My garden is big enough and the dogs dumb enough that the bunnies have lots of places to hide. Plus, they do most of their damage early in the morning while we're all still asleep.

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  18. Hey, I thought you had dogs.

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    1. Me, too!! After my hunter ate a bunny and then got sick last year, she's been avoiding them. She prefers her food straight outta the bag. I think the bunny raids are happening when we're asleep. Sneaky little critters!

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  19. Dried blood is what my reference book advises. It does not say how one gets it. I'm sure you will think of something.

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    1. Dried bunny blood would be my first choice!

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  20. Yeah, that's right--you have dogs! You're not supposed to have this problem. (Don't tell my husband, because this was one of my arguments for getting a dog.) ;-) Boy, do I hear you about this issue. The mean, long-eared plant killers have destroyed many of my dear lovelies. I almost gave up on re-establishing Clematises, until I put triple fencing around them! Christina is right--chicken wire or very small-gauge fencing is the only thing that can guarantee your plants' protection. And that means burying it a couple of inches into the ground, too. If hungry enough, rabbits even eat plants (like my Lilacs) that are supposed to be repellent to them! But rabbit-repellent plants do seem to help. Argh. I feel your pain!

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    1. My dogs are total dopes! I am building chicken wire fences this fall and am using my wacky bird netting fences to get me through the summer. Those seem to be working well.

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  21. Tammy, you write with humor but it's not funny. The rabbits ate your work, you grow the flower and they grow their fat.
    It's pity!

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    1. I'm growing a buffet for them. What an easy life!

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  22. It's funny how fast "cute" gets old when our garden (and all our hard work) disappears. What are you going to do? I spent an entire two weeks caging in my WHOLE vegetable garden because I'm tired of "sharing" everything I plant with every creature who wants it as much as I do. Unfortunately that won't help you with your flower garden. Wishing you a quick solution.

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    1. My garden will look like a prison yard by next summer. :o)

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  23. Oh no, that's awful! I've never had to deal with bunnies here, just squirrels and they're only after my nuts, they seem to leave everything else alone. You'll have to get the roll of chicken wire out. I don't suppose you could train the dogs for night watch?

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    1. You crack me up!! My dogs are deep asleep at night and would be horrified at the idea of spending their night " at work" instead of passed out on a comfy bed or couch.

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  24. So, a few thoughts. First, yes, I thought my Short's asters were indestructible but about a third of them in the back were chewed down to the ground. The rabbits have not come after my Heliopsis, but they love my Virginia Wild Rye and have developed a taste for Japanese forest grass with a splash of soy sauce. Second, that is the first time I have seen rabbits referred to as "fat bastards". Well said. Third, sorry this is not on point, but what are those tall gorgeous lilies in the first picture?

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    1. Your bunnies have much more refined taste than mine do! :o) The lilies are white trumpet lilies. I think they're common 'Casa Blanca' lilies. Mine are over 5 feet tall and are highly fragrant.

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  25. I'll have to look for some scary garden art for you! ;)

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    1. Maybe a bunny eating zombie is in order! :o)

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  26. You tell em lady! Maybe scary garden art is the key!!!?!?! You have now answered a long running question I have had pertaining to scary serpents and gargoyles in peoples gardens..makes sense now after reading your post! I'm sorry that they were invaded! Oh poop..aren't they just annoying!?! I took the time to plant a flat of petunias that my mom had left over...I don't have much free time but I hated to see them go to waste..well now they're gone which explains why most of my garden is wrapped with chicken wire. You take care!!!

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  27. Hi Tammy, thanks for the mention in 'Garden Love'. You are quite right of course. Should I be fortunate enough to be blessed with a bunch of bunnies hopping around my patio yard then I would embrace them like some gentle Buddha and welcome them into my wildlife sanctuary. I would probably start bringing them dandelion heads and making little warm beds of hay for snuggle time. I watched all the snails and slugs have a walloping great feast on my new bee friendly plants the other night, but hey ho, we all need to eat. I must truly be a saint. Sorry, I missed what you said there....

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  28. You don't eat rabbits in your part of the world, do you? It's very tasty...
    (you had me at 'kiss my asster' by the way...)

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  29. I'm sorry to hear that you've been plagued by a horde of hungry rabbits! It sounds as though they're even worse than my rampaging raccoons, at least in terms of the breadth of their destructive reach. If the dogs won't chase them off, maybe you should adopt/rent a cat (although finding "gifts" of dead creatures on your doorstep isn't pleasant either). The repellant granules are working for me with the raccoons so maybe you could give something like that a try too - it's non-toxic (made of things like putrescent egg solids!) and, while I admit it smells unpleasant up-close, it's not so god-awful as to drive you out of your own garden.

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  30. I mean this in the kindest, most sympathetic way: the photos of your gorgeous garden, gnawed upon by the wildlife... well... it normalizes my own gardening experience. So thank you for sharing your catastrophes as well as your successes. It makes my catastrophes seem so much less catastrophic!

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  31. Grrrrr if rabbits could read, they would be quaking in their warrens. Sadly they can't - I know this because over the years I have planted rabbit resistant plants which I have researched thoroughly and have seen confirmed IN WRITING to be abhorrent to rabbits and every last one of these so-called rabbit resistant plants has, at some time or another, been devoured by Peter Rabbit and his friends. For this reason, last year's gardening budget was blown on rabbit fencing. Not pretty; but so far, it has kept the plants safe. Good luck, my friend. You have my deepest sympathy.

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  32. Rabbits can be so frustrating, and you sound like you have lots of them. The only sure cure I know of is to get a fox in the neighborhood. Besides that, your only option is fencing.

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  33. How frustrating for you. They may look cute but they can't half do a lot of damage. I wish I had some answers for you.

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  34. One of the few benefits of the road construction at our intersection ( noise, dirt, rumbling and loud noises) has been the lack of bunnies this summer. Well, no more! The construction moved a bit up the street and the little fur balls took no time to move back in. I noticed the damage immediately- parsley- almost all gone- chewed to nubs! And I sure there is more of the same to come. Love those trumpet lilies by the way.

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