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"

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Still Here...

No I have not dropped off the face of the earth or even given up gardening.  After an abnormally cold spring and spending the month of May at our vacation home in the sunny south, we made the decision to do a bit of major work on the outside of the house.  That meant a lot of ripping out some of which is still in progress.  We are now in the progress of working on the front and side garden beds that were taken down to the bare earth.  The line locates have just been completed so we are ready to start actual construction this weekend.

Our house is in an urban subdivision.  There is a small piece of land behind our road that is owned by the municipality.  It is slated for subdivision development but is currently being farmed so we have farmland behind our property.  It really isn't much as we could easily walk from the back of our property to the edge of the houses on the other side of the field in 5 minutes or less.  On the far edge just before the houses are the railroad tracks so even with development which at this point looks rather unlikely, so there would always be a strip of land conducive to wildlife.  In all likelihood, if this land were ever developed, the larger portion of it to the west would have housing but the portion right behind us and our neighbours to the east would likely be turned into parkland as it is too narrow for housing plus access. 

garter snake making its way behind our siding trim at the front of our house
At any rate, this farmland brings a few wild critters with it.  About a week ago we noticed a rather large piece of snake skin while cutting the grass.  This morning my husband spotted a large garter snake directly in front of our road facing, lower level window.  His movement scared the snake which retreated into the space between the siding trim and the front step.  We were not impressed!  A quick  online search revealed that moth balls repel snakes so he bought two boxes and we tossed them around the foundation as a temporary measure.  I don't like using moth balls because they are toxic and generally are only effective as a short term measure.  We are laying the weed barrier and rock in that area on Saturday so hopefully the snake will move along before then.

I called our pest control service who had dealt with our rodent problem.  Rodents will always be a problem on our property due to the field but we have taken all the necessary steps to prevent them from getting indoors.  Our recent work outdoors has disturbed pretty much most of our property and it is only going to get worse over the next few weeks with the construction.  That means any wildlife habitat in our yard is going to be disturbed so we will be seeing a few more critters.  According to our pest control service most snakes in Ontario are protected so you can't harm or kill them.  He said the moth balls and ammonia, another popular repellant won't work.  He said to just wait until the snake comes out then caulk where it went up into the siding.  Garter snakes are fairly harmless, non-aggressive snakes that may bite if provoked but in all reality, this snake will really help keep rodents in check.  I just don't want him making his home behind our siding or worse getting into our home.

I found a good site with advice on getting rid of garter snakes.  Under the remove what they like, we basically have been doing that as far as the thick growth and tall grass.  We don't have any bird feeders, wood piles or ground level water.  The small east garden bed is volunteer poppies while the rest (front and west side) has been leveled to the bare ground and will be covered with rock this weekend with likely no plantings until fall if then.  Along the back fence became a bit over grown the past couple of weeks so we cleared most of that this morning.  The entire backyard when finished will be decking and pool with the exception of the raised beds for herbs and vegetables.  Those beds will take up a total of about 10' x 20' and consist of the beds with rock paths.  As a raised bed garden goes this will end up being one of my smallest gardens yet.  I do have big plans for container gardening on the decks and have already started along those lines.  In short, upon completion the entire property will not be very attractive to the rabbits and snakes. 

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:01 PM

    While I agree that rodents are not welcome inside, I am a bit surprised at your concern over the garter snakes present outside. I know that many people have an aversion to snakes of any kind any where, I personally feel that the non-poisonous ones are simply part of the nature that we want to preserve around us. I don't mean that we specifically WANT to attract them, just that they are part of the goings on there. I had a pet garter snake as a child, so I admit I have a different perspective. We played with it - handling it frequently - and it never even tried to bite. Just a thought.


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