Tuesday, June 5, 2012


The Tale of Peter Rabbit
     Sitting down for a late breakfast of tea and toast one morning, gazing out the window as usual, I saw a small bunny hop into the shade garden beneath the maple tree. Out into the yard I went like old Mr. McGregor after Peter Rabbit.

     “Don’t you even think about nibbling my spotted dead nettle for elevenses,” I said to the young rascal who was poised to do just that, “if you’re hungry, go eat the bleedin’ heart.” I guess I made “bleedin’ heart” sound too much like swearing; off he scooted without even a backward glance. I’m not worried about offending him, it isn’t the first time I have had to shoo him or his relatives out of my garden.

     I thought we had compromised on just eating the lovely pink blooms off the dead nettle and leaving the lovely green foliage alone. I thought it was understood that the hosta at the end of the row next to the burning bush was available for grazing if anyone was hankering for greens—there is still some left over from last summer. And if I have to sacrifice my bleeding heart, so be it. Most years it begins to look shabby by early summer so I don't mind replacing it.

     I used fox urine as a deterrent last summer, but try leaving your windows open on a curtain-blowing day with fox urine in the garden. Unpleasant. I put chicken wire around the three burning bushes on the north side of the house to give them a chance to recuperate from last year’s devastation. Effective but Unsightly. Some folks down the road have stuffed old clothes to look like a man and woman and set them side-by-side under a tree in the front yard. Creepy. Still, I am thinking of doing the same to see if it will give the greedy critters pause before bellying up to the buffet.

     Even so, I hope the coyotes we’ve seen running through the neighborhood leave the bunnies under my deck alone. They’ve been living alongside us for twenty years now, and I’ve grown fond of them. They must be the great grandchildren of the originals, but I call them all Shadow, Whisper or Twitchet because there is no telling them apart. And thank Providence for small blessings; they leave my favorite flower, the dwarf blue columbine, alone. They must sense that messing with it would bring out the McGregor in me.

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