Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.

Rascally rabbits

Posted by: Martha Buns under Critters and pests, Perennials, Vegetables Updated: May 2, 2012 - 9:13 AM

It's one thing to strive to be the hostess with the mostest, but it's another thing to find yourself extending lavish hospitality in the form of a bunny buffet. These uninvited guests, who naturally think we're the interlopers in their territory, have been observing their usual spring rituals of razing my heucheras, like the one below, and treating the hosta bed like a salad bar. (Why is it they leave the generic hosta alone and go for the more expensive rarities?)

 

 

Yes, bunnies are very cute, with their long floppy ears and noses that wiggle as they gnosh. And I realize they have to eat something, but I confess I'm selfish enough to wish it was someone else's something. Rabbits are supposed to like clover, and some websites suggest including it in your lawn as a live-and-let-live strategy for dealing with nibbling rabbits. But sadly, while our yard contains way too much clover for my liking, the rabbits ignore it in favor of all the other delicacies at hand.

I've tried red pepper-based concoctions and other allegedly natural deterrents, but they don't seem to have much effect. And some of the remedies you can find mentioned online would deter me from enjoying my plants, too. Predator urine? Dried blood? I think I prefer the rabbits.

While there aren't many plants a really hungry rabbit won't eat, some of the plants they reportedly won't seek out first include columbine, coneflower, bleeding heart, artemesia, campanula, aster and foxglove, all of which I have in my garden. It's true those don't seem to be the rabbits' first pick, but I'm not willing to limit my garden selections to those plants.

So aside from afflicting my all-too-comfortable rabbits by shooing them off the premises temporarily when I see them, my line of defense is temporary fencing. Each spring I wrap a wire mesh barrier around the Asiatic lilies to deny the bunnies their prize. I've put hoop domes over the top of that poor coral bell and the badly stunted blueberry bush. Eventually these plants get mature enough to not seem so tempting, and I can remove the makeshift barriers that blot the landscape. By that time, the rabbits are more interested in trying to share my vegetable crops, but those barriers stay up all growing season. Every hostess has her limits.

 

What plants do your bunnies like best? What are your deterrent methods of choice? And yes, I count my blessings I don't have deer.

 

 

Rabbit photo by Dallas Morning News

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