Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Slugs and snails

Yesterday we had a month's (normal June) rainfall in 24 hours, with resulting flash flooding all over the area. The rivers Thames, Loddon, and Kennet all overflowed their banks, so that Berkshire and Oxfordshire were once more busy with sandbag barriers and mopping up operations - with Oxfordshire bearing the brunt of it. I am safe from flooding here because my house and garden are on the side of a steep hill.

So, with all that rain, apart from a quick trip into town in the afternoon, I didn't go out, and I certainly didn't go out to inspect the garden. When I did so today I was in for a shock! I had been given some beautiful dahlia corms and was eagerly watching them grow their early foliage in their tubs on my patio, in anticipation of the wonderful blooms I'd been promised. This morning, when the sun shone, I found that the foliage on one had completely disappeared and in its place was a very ugly fat slug. The other dahlias had been bitten and looked very ragged but still had visible foliage.

Then I had another shock. Last year I grew carrots in a large pot on my patio with wonderful results over a long period, so I did a repeat pot sowing this year. The leaves are quite decorative and a couple of days ago I was admiring them and thinking I must thin them out a bit, but today only one tiny leaf remains! There is a mass of green stalks, but only one tiny leaf is left! On inspection I found three black slugs who had obviously made a meal of the rest.

I'm very sorry, God. I know you created slugs and snails for food for the birds but I can never bring myself to sing that line of the hymn that says 'Thank you God for slugs and snails'. I would prefer to be an organic gardener, but today I've put slug pellets in all my pots on the patio, to prevent the slugs doing any more damage. I'm very cross!

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