Celandine is appearing everywhere, despite all my efforts to eradicate it, the various red, blue and mauve primulas I planted around the garden are hiding while yellow ones appear in beds and borders as well as in the lawns where they fight for the title of most yellow flower with the dandelions that have suddenly sprung up. In the pond the marsh marigolds have started to flower in their usual brilliant (you guessed it) yellow. Higher up, the forsythia is also flowering in its appointed yellow. The middle level is populated by daffodils; I would say “narcissi” except that every one of a so-called mix has turned out to be uniformly yellow with not even an orange trumpet to break the monotony.
It’s yellow again; that season before multi-coloured summer kicks in.
So far this year, the slugs and snails haven’t put in an appearance and neither have the lily beetles (which appeared last year in January!). But that does not mean I have been pest free!
In addition to birds eating me out of house and home, squirrels have been visiting in growing numbers, the highest simultaneous total so far being six. In an effort to stop them stripping the bird table bare on a single visit I’ve been putting out so-called squirrel food. They have taken to that. They visit the bird-proof squirrel feeder, remove all the large nuts and carry them off somewhere before returning to strip the bird table bare.
I tried some squirrel-proof hanging feeders but they also turned out to be bird-proof so I’ve ended up adapting some seed feeders to deliver ground peanuts as well as sunflower hearts to the birds. The small apertures on these have so far defeated the best efforts of the tree rats who then vented their spleen by digging up all the lily bulbs I’d planted in containers. They didn’t eat the bulbs or damage them noticeably; they just dug them up and laid them in a row on the ground beside each container.
But all this is of minor significance compared to a single vandal that visited the garden. Initially I thought it was a fox though I’ve never known foxes to do damage here (and they’re regular visitors). But then I discovered the hole dug under the fence and a gravel board that had been chewed or clawed in half (if you’ve ever tried to saw through a gravel board you’ll know they’re dense!). Yep, a badger. And this badger was bad! If he’d been a goodger I wouldn’t have minded and would probably have added to my wildlife conservation costs by feeding him.
But what I was advised was a single male who was getting on a bit and had been ejected from the sett by a younger usurper, was going to make life hell for me.The picture above shows a single night’s damage covering an area of about 25 square feet.
Priority was to block this hole before badger got used to it. But everything I tried proved futile and each night he got past my barrier and destroyed another area of lawn. So desperate measures were called for in the shape of chain-link fencing, metal posts, concrete and kerb stones.
I dug a trench along the outside of the fence about a foot and a half deep and wide. Metal posts were driven into the ground along the “inside” of the trench and the chain-link fencing attached to those with its bottom in the trench. The trench was then filled with concrete. Along the outside of the concrete there are kerbstones laid in a slanting sort of herringbone pattern. If badger tries to dig under those , they are designed to slide down into the hole and, even if he gets past the first line, he’s got a lot of concrete and metal to get past before encountering the original wood fence. And I can’t see this aberration of metal as it’s behind the fence in “no man’s land”.
So far so good. All I have to do now is repair the lawn!