Last year, we had almost no flowers in our garden. The squirrels are bad enough. They dig up everything. I planted some Assarum canadense because I’m trying to find a more ecologically sound ground cover to replace the english ivy I’ve been tearing up. As it happens, squirrels think wild ginger root is a tasty snack. Of course, I’m replacing the invasive plants with native plants specifically because they provide food and shelter. The problem lies in getting this stuff established in the first place. The loose soil around a new planting makes the new plant especially easy pickings. One of the things that makes invasives so invasive to begin with is that few things eat them.*
As bad as the squirrels are, they prefer a varied diet with a strong emphasis on nuts and berries. The bunnies on the other hand, are little eating machines. Who needs a lawn mower. Worse yet, I found that the bunnies have a special taste for flower buds. Last year, we had a blueberry bush that we were going to plant in a butterfly garden on the other side of town. After a few days, the bush started to look like a topiary. I said to my sister, can it be deer? The next day, I looked out the window and there was the world’s biggest bunny was up on his hind legs nipping off the last little flower bud clinging to the sad looking blueberry stick. I realized that while the rabbits sit around and eat the clover and the grass all day, they have some special love for flower buds.
“I’ll cook you with capers, you bud munching beast.”
Is that a face that says, “I know you’re bluffing bitch?”
Last year we found a Chimaphila maculata growing in the yard. I felt so lucky. I watched and watched hoping to get some good photos when it was blooming. Just when there was a little bud looking like it was a couple days away from opening, the bunny got it.
Fortunately, it’s a perennial and it spreads by rhizomes. The patch is bigger this year. Maybe one day I can show you a photo of something other than leaves and this.
The neighbor told us the she saw the rabbit’s babies earlier this year. I’m open to rabbit recipes.
* Whenever I’ve mentioned invasives on a forum on the internet I’ve gotten into some weird discussions. So, my definition of an invasive species comes from our state’s invasive species list. North America is a big place with very different ecological niches. What’s invasive here might not be invasive by you even if we’re on the same continent. I’m removing things in stages because, if I don’t have something to replace it with, I’ll just get erosion and another bunch weeds, perhaps the same ones, will appear in their place. Right now, my particular bêtes noires are English ivy, daylilies and garlic mustard. As I said, it’s not ideological. We have primroses, foxglove and others that are staying.