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Calendula ‘Art Shades’

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Slug Wars: The Farce Awakens

 

Slug.

Gastropida; Stylommatophora; Arionidae; Arion.

Flash name for a blob of gunge that maintains an annual all out assault of mass destruction on us.

Yes, dear gardeners. This is a member of the dark side. The dark destroyer. The dark lord. The… ok, you get where I am coming from.

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Never seen slugs with light sabres before?

The reason for my winging? Hostas. Since having a garden of my own for some years now I have always had Hostas. Lush, green, glossy. A super addition to shady parts of the garden until Darth Vader of the horticultural world sweeps in on his Tie Fighter and decimates said green gloss to a pitiful skeletal pile of green bones. *sigh*

I’m trying hard not to turn to the slug pellets so as to protect the wildlife we have here but when it comes to hostas I have felt pretty defeated. I have read up. I have consulted Jedi Don and Jedi Titchmarsh as well as the countless padawans on t’internet. Until I saw a tweet by, oh, who was it? (I’ll find the tweet and let you know), but they were using wool pellets and were having some success.

Then I had a brainwave.

The Trug household have been ordering up meal packages from a certain company. Not my usual thing but they have been a god send when long hours at work ruin our healthy eating habits. Back to the point, the items which need to be kept cold until we get the package are wrapped in ice and thick wool blankets.

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Me being as eco friendly as I can, I won’t throw them away. Some sheep and farmers went to a lot of effort to make that. Inside the plastic cover is a thick wad of natural fleece. They’ve been piling up in the garage while Mr Trug gives me withering looks of ‘why are we keeping these?’ until I thought of the slugs.

The hostas were in their early stages of popping the surface of the cold ground with early shoots so now was my chance.

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I cut up the fleece. Fluffed it up a bit and pegged it around the hostas as best I could.

I know the leaves will touch other plants and the slugs in their evil Tough Mudder style gymnastics will navigate these mini bridges but it’s worth a shot I reckoned.

May…                                                      Early June…

Not bad but….

May…                                                   Early  June…

Hmmm, not so good. But I think this is because they are touching so many other plants creating the slug bridge highways. Annoying. That said, they are better than last year. I had remnants left by now.

Conclusions? It’s not foolproof but I think the fleece has helped. I’ll revisit the Hostas in a few weeks and see if the dark side is winning. If any of you have better ideas then please do let me know otherwise hosta heaven will remain but a dream for me. I’ll update later in the season to see how they are doing.

May the force be with you fellow slug fighters.

Flippin’ Fritillaries Innit…

Where have I been hiding? Well, you know how it is. I’d much rather be home and pootling in the garden but life just gets in the way. Usually ‘work’. The unpleasant kind. It is an on going distraction more and more from where I really want to be. The lottery ticket plan isn’t working just yet, but we can but hope. However, time I shook off those winter blues and work black dogs and shared the good stuff with you. Six months is ridiculous but I’m here now.

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My best buddies in the garden. Not quite this clean now.

One of the real pleasures of the garden this year has been the Fritillaries. When we moved in mid May last year they had just finished and we were left with the nodding seed heads. This year we revelled in their slow appearance. They were stunning hence they have now appeared in the header. They are so exotic, not only do they not seem natural to our English country gardens, they give the suggestion of trickiness to grow. I’ve seen them in the gardens of the national trust and similar such country piles and envied their scatterings of Fritillaries here and there. What is the secret to growing such a thing? I reflected with awe and wonder.

Nope, they are a cinch it appears. Whack them in and away they go. For us of course they are well established.

 

At one point in February I did worry. A never ending pool appeared at the base of the apple trees where I knew the Fritillaries lay sleeping.

Visions of the dainty little bulbs rotting away floated in my mind. The pool remained for weeks and finally ebbed away by April when very slowly the Frits began to appear poking up through the goo. By mid April, they were flooding the place themselves. Beautiful in the spring light.

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Thailand? Japan? Madgasca?…. Nope, back yard in Blighty.

I know so many have said it before, but the chequer board patterns are just stunning aren’t they. How can something so sophisticated be not only in our garden but also be so prolific?

Here comes the ‘multi photo saturation’ part of this blog.

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Gorgeous!

Last year I collected seed. I have a trial seed tray on the go sown last weekend. We will have to see if they are viable. This year the seed heads are being left to do their thing and scatter themselves around the orchard.

Frit seed head

I suspect the previous owners might have mown during late May and at this stage the seed heads are still green. As we are allowing some areas of the orchard to become meadow *cough*cough* I am hoping the ripe seed heads are then able to disperse seed more successfully and we will eventually have a greater spread of Frits through the whole area.