Last night, having collected a particularly impressive haul of slus, I decided to weigh them. I placed another ice cream box on top and tipped away the water.
I weighed the two bxes with slugs and without and the difference was a pound and a quarter. I’ve been collecting most nights since the Hostas started to sprout and have guessed at perhaps an average of eight ounces a night. This could mean I’ve destroyed over fifty pounds of slugs this year.
Despite collecting thousands of them I feel I still don’t understand slugs. There is a very large clump of Disporopsis pernyi and almost every night there are two or three large slugs in one small area of it feeding on its foliage, but not elsewhere in the plant. They have practically defoliated a Kirengeshoma plant in one spot and about twenty feet away another clump is almost untouched. I would love to know whether the ‘innocent’ orange slug feeding on pigeon or fox poo is the same species as the identical looking animals eating the Dahlias, Hostas etc.. Innocent or otherwise they have all met the same fate!
I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit fed up with this drought! The ‘experts’ never mention that gardeners wont have been using their hose pipes a great deal for the last five or six weeks, not to mention farmers, who wont have been irrigating anything. Also they have been saying the water will have been taken up by trees and not soaked in. Many trees have only just got leaves on them and wont have been taking up water. Surely the situation must be much better for water companies now!
What has been having a field day with all the rain are the molluscs. As someone who tries to protect their Hostas, Epimediums and other vulnerable plants without the use of too many toxic slug pellets, I use the capture and destroy method. I go out with a torch and collect a range of undesirable creatures. As well as slugs and snails you can catch Lily Beetles, Black Vine and other weevils and night caterpillars all about their destructive work, once it is dark. One does of course have to have a degree of determination to get out of
the arm chair and trudge round the garden stooping low in the rain. However, I am convinced I would have had considerably fewer Epimedium shoots and flowers and more holes in many plants had I not been so dedicated. The picture is one recent ice cream box of slugs, collected in the rain during a session of about an hour.
A few years ago I was very pleased to obtain a very small plant of Phyllostachys kwangsiensis. It sounded as though it was a very exciting addition to my bamboo collection, as it is said to have many of the desirable features of Phyllostachys edulis, but doing them much quicker in the UK climate. Indeed it had heavily pubescent culms when they appeared and small leaves in profusion.
However when it had reached about eight feet high it started to flower. I had been examining the flower heads over two summer periods, but was doubtful that there was any good seed being set.
Last month I sowed some small seed like material, I had collected in the autumn, with no great optimism. However a week or so ago it started to germinate, much to my excitement, and now there are around a dozen seedlings.
I have potted off my pan of open pollinated Epimedium seedlings and currently have just
over forty. I say currently because two have already been eaten despite the trays sitting on a dry polystyrene board which I thought would deter slugs and snails and having a generous sprinkling of slug pelets over them. After staring at the seedlings for some time I spotted one tiny green caterpiler around a centimeter long and a milimetre in diameter. I am hoping he may be the culpret, but wonder if there’s one there may be more.
We have continued the good work of Karen, our volunteer gardener with our potted Hosta collection.
We have carried on weeding, potting on as necessary and putting on slow release fertilizer and wool, anti mollusc pellets, over the Hosta pots. We have now run out of the latter and are debating whether to buy more, or leave the rest of our Hostas as a control, to see how effective the deterrent effect of wool actually is.
We are no Hyde Hall, but we can now boast a voluntary gardening team of two, who are willing to give occasional assistance in the garden. They require no more than a little bit of feeding and watering and small divisions of choice Hostas.
Both Denis and Karen are knowledgeable gardeners who have only small gardens of their own.
Today, Denis and I set up water pots with Waterlilies and Irises etc.
Meanwhile Karen was weeding Hosta pots and potting them on where necessary, and taking modest divisions from them for herself and Denis. She fed the refreshed and cleaned pots with a slow release fertiliser and then spread a thin layer of sheep’s’ wool pellets on top. She has found in her garden, this is effective at dissuading slugs and snails from going onto the compost and attacking the foliage. Time will tell how effective this will be here.
We don’t find slow worms as often as we used to, because a few years ago we had a cat
that would catch and kill them. However I found one in the compost bin this morning .It was a female who had lost her tail in the past and has started to grow a new one. Slow worms’ favourite food are the white slugs,which are so damaging to certain of our much loved plants.