Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Monday, June 05, 2006

Baby Birds & Bunnies

One of my first blog posts was about bunnies. We have a healthy and abundant jackrabbit population. From experience, the jackrabbit population is cyclic. Last year they never bothered with my vegetable garden or if they did, I never noticed. This year they like the garden and have quickly become a problem. Not so much "they" just one very persistant young one. Young rabbits are like teenagers - no fear and very defiant!


I left the greenhouse light on, left a radio playing and turned the motion activated spray to very sensitive. This little guy danced to the oldies while taking his shower and munching on salad! So I added bone/blood meal to the garden beds as apparently they don't like the smell. I can't really blame them! I also added a large plastic owl to the bed the rabbit seems to prefer.

Plastic Owl

So far so good in the vegetable garden. But yesterday I looked out and what did I see - the young one and either a friend or family member! They were "in" the window box planter on the ground planted with Martha Stewart geraniums.

Rabbit in Windowbox

Apparently they like safflower seed even though they aren't supposed to like it and they thought the window box was a perfect stool for them to sit on. I liberally applied cayenne/powdered pepper mix to which they thanked me and asked for more. My luck they will make friends with the owl and get him dancing to the oldies as well. Heaven help me if they discover the slugs' beer. I give up!

We are fencing the vegetable gardens keep the rabbits out. The original vegetable bed has a gravelled holding path and area for hardening off plants. The greenhouse is in the corner of this area followed by three raised beds perpendicular to the greenhouse and two raised beds perpendicular to the three beds forming a large rounded on one corner gardening area. I really like the design and flow of the garden. We decided to add three 4' x 4' beds that originally were going to sit along the side of the garage. Now, my husband thinks it would be best to align them along the holding path creating a regular path there and adding a new holding bed so the greenhouse will be sitting about a third of the way into the garden with raised beds on both sides. He thinks it will be easier to fence. The boxes have been constructed for awhile so it is only a matter of adding soil later today. We'll remove the border rocks then extend the paths to the west. I intend to put in a small gated arbour then 3'rabbit proof fencing along with a 8" wide raised bed running along the entire perimeter to be planted with marigolds. So another year of gardening additions begins!

During the spring I watched a pair of robbins build a nest in our maple tree so I wasn't surprised to see part of a robbin eggshell under the tree.

Robbin's egg

My husband had been planning to trim the tree but agreed to leave it be until the babies left the nest. I had the advantage of being able to view the nest from one of our front windows. Both parents were very agressive towards other birds to the point I had to stop feeding the bluejays peanuts.

Robbin on Nest

They even went after the squirrels! For some reason they didn't attack the sparrows likely because they didn't see them as threat. The male robbin likes to follow me around when I water the garden and he will let me get quite close to him. It is a rather funny sight so I've been told. He stays about four feet behind me the entire time I'm watering. Both robbin parents really appreciate the garden bird bath. They are regular visitors in the garden and despite other reports that robbins can do tomato damage, I have yet a problem with robbins.

Robbin in Birdbath

We have swallows on our dock. When they are nesting they create a real problem by swooping low towards your head usually three or four at a time. This basically makes the dock unusable for about a month so a lot of people use plastic owls to prevent them from building a nest in the first place. These staunch little birds stand guard allowing no one onto the dock or even near it. They will immediately take flight and swoop at your head as soon as you try to go onto the dock.


I tried to ward them off this year by putting that same plastic owl on the deck for a morning. The swallows were so distressed I just couldn't leave it out there as there were likely babies in the nest. A couple of days later I managed to get on the dock to see that there were a couple of babies. I'm so glad I removed the owl! My neighbour says a swallow's nest brings good luck and I can use all the good luck possible.

Yesterday, I noticed the robbin's nest was very quiet. By now it is apparent the babies have flown the coop. While I'm glad they are old enough to fly I was saddened that the nest was empty. Then this morning I noticed the swallows are no longer standing guard. Their offspring must have flown the coop too.

Happy Gardening

Garden Gnome


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