The Gardens of Serendipity Shore-Spring 2012-Uninvited Guests and Getting Them to Leave

Pic of Day-Video of Brave Dog

Early Spring 012 Gardens: Ferns Gone Wild; War Declared on Moles

There is spread throughout this post some pictures of my gardens. It is early spring 2012 and my gardens are just that, MY gardens.

They're not for everybody but there's a method to my madness, should anyone care.

First, the huge cinnamon ferns in that strip of dirt in front of my porch, well just goodness. Hey, Delaware IS a swamp and ferns like swamps. They are pretty but now standing almost five feet tall and spreading almost as wild around, I am considering a new placement for them. They are almost blocking the front porch and I don't want that.

There is the wall of bushes, all growing well and happy in the most perfect slight slope at the dirt area between the driveway and the lawn. I call it a living fence but I don't necessarily care if there's a "fence" of any sort alongside the driveway. But I can't just plant bushes, boom, all over the lawn to making mowing and sensible order a nightmare. So alongside a perfect slope strip of dirt between my driveway and the lawn, a line of bushes grows, the slope allowing the one behind to receive the same sun as the one in front, the slope delivering water efficiently to all roots in the downhill tilt of the incline.

Since my gardens reflect me, as all gardens should reflect those who tend, but of course there is a variety of bush type in my living fence that there is rampant bloom at all times of the year from spring through fall. Took some doing but it's looking good.

At the bottom of the slope, a Rose of Sharon, gets lots of shaded sun, perfect for most living plants. Then a rhododendron for spring. Then another Rose of Sharon, then a patch of swamp rose, natives to Delaware. On up we have a viburnum, don't know yet what it does, then a bush, forget name right now, blooms heaving in late July through August...CRAPE MYRTLE...that's it. Beyond the crape myrtle is a stand of hibiscus, a native Delaware plant, a bit of a pain in that the stalks of this bush don't start growing out until May, almost June. Kind of makes it look like there's a big hole in the "wall" because after the hibiscus the hedge rose threatens to take over the world.

The bird fellows love bushes and nest in them more often than you'll ever see a nest in a tree. Squirrel-rodents climb trees and would be robbing the nests or even the baby birdlings. Birds lik e to nest in some sort of bushy surround with leaves to help protect against rain and also hide the nest designed to look like part of the bush.

It is my intent to have my living fence host many bird nests as this year we had a pair of cardinals nested in my serviceberry my enormous delight. Two years in a row a pair of thrashers built a nest in that hedge rose, goodness there's a bush with nasty thorns all over the place and hardly any move to about with such a dense vine growth. I so enjoyed the thrashers, who sang the songs of many birds from the tops of my trees.

The moles did their best to kill my hedge rose.

Alas, it is time as I make a difficult but much needed gardening/backyard habitat gardening decision.

The moles, singular or plural, have to go.

Now I've known for a while that there was a mole around. Mole burrows are hard to miss, not to mention those times when a garden gaze captures a plant be tugged to death from something below. For the moles feast on the grubs that feast on the end of the plant and tree roots. Slugs like to attach their slimy selves to concrete and a special mole treat is a fat slug. So gardens sided by concrete of some sort are a magnet for moles and they'll tear down any roots in their way to the wet concrete below-the-dirt-line .

Early this spring the mole got all busy as the worms began their wiggle. My dog pulled a mole right out of the ground, yes she did, yanked its blind little body out of the earth, gave it a good shaking, made some absurd half-hearted attempt to eat the thing then walked away.

Fortunately she'd killed the thing because I had to take the pitchfork and throw it over the wall into the forest at the back. I'd hated to have been tossing a thrashing pain-filled mostly dead creature off to suffer and I'd hated thinking of some way to finish it off. Jo-Ann killed the mole swiftly and neatly, as is the wont of her breed.

Now this mole, now long dead, might have been the only mole killing my plants and making my front lawn into a weed yard, or it might have been one of many.

"Juicy Fruit," a lady in my Book Club told me confidently. I begged her pardon.

"They eat the Juicy Fruit gum and they cant get rid of it. Eventually they die."

Well I thought if that wasn't a tale to beat all tales but some later Internet research proves there are those who profess this always works.

I folded up a stick of Juicy Fruit and stuffed it into the holes in the dirt that were an end to a mole run.

For now, I don't know. I haven't seen a fresh burrow in over a month. I don't know if the Juicy Fruit killed a passel of them. I don't know if the mole didn't pack up and move next door to the nasty neighbor's yard because I told him there were slugs everywhere, even the human kind.

Every time I walk those gardens I am happy. It doesn't matter if my gardens are kind of rough around the edges. So am I. I like cute, quirky things, I like clever.

I say if the sight of your creation makes you smile, if you keep the "judges" at the bird and bug level as they use what you've planted for God's purpose, well this is good enough.

My gardens are good enough.

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