Monday, 21 May 2012


Rabbiting on


As a fully paid-up member of the ‘do as I say and not as I do’ brigade*, heeding my own advice is about as natural as the sweet heady scent of freshly mown astro turf. However, miracles can happen - even in twenty-first century Norfolk.


In all honesty, I would rather spend my garden budget on something exquisite which pleases as many of my senses as is physically possible, so anything humdrum and sensible, like rabbit fencing, is way down my list of desirable purchases. Or it was. I have been preaching to clients about correctly installed rabbit protection for years and I have finally heard my own message.

Of course, lists of rabbit-resistant plants are readily available, but Br'er, Peter, Roger and Buggs haven’t read any of them and will invariably munch their way through specimens which are, according to the experts, off the menu.

I love to grow my own food and if I eat the food, the chances are that the rabbits will too and I know who is more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning and will get to the crops first. So a considerable proportion of my garden budget will be blown on rabbit fencing which will, hopefully, keep the bunnies out. I like to think it will be a fine long-term investment for my plants and my sanity. After all, little is more disheartening than discovering that your garden is now the eatery of choice for the entire cast of Watership Down.


The photos above are of my auntie's travelling Geum. I took some from her Cambridgeshire garden, planted it in Essex, then moved a little of it with me to Norfolk. It's a spreader, so it travels within the garden too, although not in a pesky way - just enough to enable us to share it with others. It is Geum rivale. I think it is beautiful and even better, bees love it.

Our barn conversion continues apace. Tonnes of soil have been removed and the barn is still standing despite howling gales and hailstorms.


We have had many heaps of soil bigger than the one below (although this one is unusual in that it is basking in the sunlight). We have managed to reuse them all, so nothing has been disposed of off-site.


The dog enjoying his morning constitutional is Sprout. I can't believe how clean he looks in that photo!

This week it is Chelsea Flower Show, so my camera battery is recharging and I am getting all excited about catching up with old friends and meeting new plants. I can't wait!

* Please see the 'Chocolate and Cherries' post March 2012
 




24 comments:

  1. I have a rabbit warren in the garden, I inherited it from the previous owner ten years ago. They also come from miles around to feed at this gormet restaurant. We now live alongside each other. It has not been an easy journey....but I have at last learnt to accept them. I am selective in my planting and it does not always work out.

    Enjoy Chelsea.....and meeting your friends :)

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    1. I bet you are selective in your planting, Cheryl. Rabbits are so cute, yet so destructive.

      Thank you - I will enjoy Chelsea!

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  2. Rabbits burrow under the sheds where I can't get at them my kitchen garden is fenced off - double netting - but still the little varmints get in - as Cheryl says I've learned to live with them. Hope Chelsea lives up to expectations!

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    1. Hi Elaine, thanks!

      Have you buried about 15cm of fence - angling it towards the rabbits? That might stop subterranean invasions. Rabbits are remarkably persistent.

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  3. Have a wonderful time at the Chealsea Flower show...we have nothing that compares out here, but we can still live vicariously through you.

    Loved how you described the rabbits ravishing your garden, pretty much the nicest description of pests I have ever heard.

    Hope the fence holds.

    And that Geum...to sigh for. Lovely.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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    1. Thanks Jen - That's the joy of blogging. I feel like I've visited gardens all over the world since I entered the blogosphere!

      Yes the Geum is a little gem.

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  4. Great barn - what are you going to use it for?

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  5. Hope you have a great time at the Chelsea Flower Show. Oh, Sprout is adorable!

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    1. Thank Beth - I will!

      Sprout is cute but VERY naughty!

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  6. You are going to get great photos at the show. I always look forward to what they display and what bloggers post. I have no idea that rabbits can be dissuaded from any plant. Seems to me they eat just about anything they can reach, even if it is on the rabbit resistant list.

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  7. Hi - I hope the photos will be OK! I agree with you about rabbits - I have seen some very unpalatable plants devoured by them!

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  8. We have 3 pet mini-lop rabbits (Cal, Pete and Tinker!) who have the entire back garden as their playground/munching ground. I am learning quite quickly what survives and what they consider as lunch.
    Some rules are beginning to form:
    1) Anything too high is good as it is out of reach. Some of my less prickly roses that were not pruned hard are coping
    2) Prickly plants are less desirable
    3) Grey/silver leaves are less tasty
    4) Thick leaves are too tough
    5) Strong herby aromas put the little rascals off

    They haven't touched my peonies, buddleia, rhododendrons, lillies, gooseberries, raspberries, potatoes, rhubarb, asters, chives, garlic , alliums
    Hope this helps....
    Jealous about Chelsea... what a fabulous week they are having!

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    1. Hi Hampshire Old Boot, are Cal, Pete and Tinker aware that you have been observing their eating habits so closely?

      It's great to see a set of rules like this, rather than a list of plants - so much easier to remember. Thank you!

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  9. Oh goodness! After following the trials and tribulations which Cheryl has suffered over the years at the jaws of Rabbits I can sympathise with your problem. I hope the fencing helps, it is disheartening to lose plants to slugs and snails without having to contend with Rabbits as well!

    I like Geums but they always start well in my garden but fizzle out after a few years.

    I somehow missed your last post :-( but have just enjoyed catching up with it. Lovely to see the Cowslips, I have had them in my grass for many years. I say grass because although it started out as a lawn the word would imply something far more beautiful than the weedy expanse it has become ;-)

    I adore dogs so it was lovely to see Sprout!

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    1. Poor Cheryl - what a nightmare.

      You are right it is disheartening to lose plants and it is so easy to become discouraged about gardening when precious plants are decimated by pests.

      Sprout is becoming better behaved - it must be because he is nearly the grand old age of 2!

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  10. The nearest I've got to having rabbits in the garden was when a neighbour's pet rabbit escaped. When our garden backed onto a field, a family of foxes lived there, so rabbits have never had a desire to live around here.
    Hope the fencing works, and enjoy Chelsea, I'm sure you will.

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    1. Thank you Crystal. Chelsea was wonderful.

      I must confess that I prefer rabbits to foxes in our garden as I worry about the safety of our chickens.

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  11. Your geums are beautiful! I hope your rabbit fence works. Occasionally rabbits eat forbidden plants in my garden, but it hasn't been a big problem. My garden is so large that their choices are almost limitless, yet they seem to prefer the weeds! The occasional fox keeps their numbers low, so I am fortunate, except for the voles. And that is another story!

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    1. Thank you! I like your rabbits more than mine - if the ones here stuck to weeds, I would be spending my garden budget on something much more exciting than fencing!

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  12. Last year I grew vegetables for the local rabbits, not my family. This year I am going to install some kind of rabbit proof fence on all my raised beds. I agree that the materials needed for rabbit proofing are not a very glamourous purchase. I much rather by perennials, but if I hope to have any kind of harvest, it seems to be a necessary expense.
    P.S. Love the geum! I have never seen this variety before. Have fun at the Chelsea Flower Show and take lots of pictures please!

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    1. Hi Jennifer, I had a lovely time at Chelsea thank you and took hundreds of photos (many of them were of plant labels)!

      I hope your rabbit proof fence works this year and that your crops are thriving!

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  13. Nice you are back. You do have a lot on your plate. We got rabbits here too. Tough little buggers to live with.

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  14. Thank you! Rabbits are a challenge. I hope the fencing does its job. So long as everyone remembers to close the gates, we may stand a chance of keeping them out!

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