Just When I Thought I Was Out of the Woods

I set a goal this year, that if I were still living in the same house as I have for the past fifteen years that I would plant an award winning garden, I neglected the Monet Vision for two years and have been paying the price in tired muscles, weary joints and the latest, cellulitis. What I forgot over those twenty four months was that the same plot is loaded with sleeper cells that get angry when I don’t provide them with luscious annuals to feed on.

This year’s trip to the nursery to buy flowers was a joy, but very short. The instant I walked through the door into the green house I spotted a flash of color at the furthest point away from where I stood. It was the color I wanted in the Monet Vision. Before I knew what the flower was I saw the theme for a picture outside my kitchen window. The two colors were a flashy bright golden orange and a very deep bright sunny yellow, and they were marigolds. I will suffer looking at yellow just to deter the rabbits, I thought to myself. There is nothing I hate more than declaring war on rabbits. Rabbits look upon my annual plantings like I do looking at a box of Fannie May chocolate cremes.

To add spice to our lives, my beautiful wife planted a large pot with a spike, encircled by yellow marigolds encircled by moss roses. It sits boldly on our front porch next to our front door. A couple of nights ago, she called me out to see something. “Look,” she said, “what is digging in my pot?” I wanted to laugh, but knew better. What I saw was a trail of rich black dirt scattered all about the porch leading to a very round and pronounced hole at the base of our spike. “This not a rabbit,” I said, “it looks more like the work of a ground squirrel.”

“We have to put something around it,” we meaning me, she said. I took the watering can from her hand and poured the entire two gallons down the hole. Nothing came out. I expected to see a drowning stripped squirrel come out gasping for air. Nothing happened.

A couple of days have passed during which time I spotted a rabbit in the middle of the Monet Vision. I jumped out of my easy chair and chased him out of the yard. Upon returning from the chase I saw what he was coming for. I planted a single Black Eyed Susan almost ready to bloom next to our new rose bush. I had pictured this one plant seeding into a large mass of yellow with dark brown centers backing up my Stella Dora lilly patch. This is not to be because the mature plant had become a stub poking out of the ground. Now I am mad, I said to myself. I have two different adversaries to fight at the same time, as well as a very unhappy wife.

In past years I posted a series of garden stories titled “Wabbit Wars.” In these stories I picture myself as Elmer Fudd of long ago cartoon days. Elmer constantly battled with Bugs Bunny who raided his carrot patch often. Elmer had a lisp and couldn’t say “rabbit”, he said “wabbit.” Therein the title “Wabbit Wars”. I try to use my wits to outsmart the rabbits, while Elmer used his shotgun, but he always missed the mark.

My mind will go crazy in the next few weeks as I begin the battle on two fronts. One against Osama Bin Wabbit, and the other against Mohammad Squirelsalam. Two sleeper cells who have been awakened to the odor of newly planted fresh delicious cuisine that I have named squirrel-rabbit food.

It is not fair that I should finally open my wallet to a rush of moths flying out to pay for plant materials that are the dashes of color on my garden palette to form the “2021 Monet Vision- Durango Gold,” only to find rabbit scat in place of my beautiful Black Eyed Susan. Perhaps if I catch and kill these terrorists and place their heads on a spike at the entrance to my yard they will hop around the perimeter and not invade the heart of the scene.

Wabbit Wars: Attack on Sum and Substance

The cell has been in deep sleep for the past three years. There was not a single thread of visibility during that time, and the gardener wondered what had happened. Had he finally succeeded in destroying them? The question circled through his mind all summer long as he continued to surveil the garden for signs of weird plant damage. Nothing, until this week. The gardener had transplanted some Hosta plants to revise his yearly scheme for the Monet Vision (his garden). He didn’t have a theme for 2020 but since he was about to sell his house and garden to move into a retirement community he thought it best make it a lower maintenance scene.

Instead of planting succulent annual flowers like petunias he would just rearrange the perennials which were over grown. The Wabbits love petunias and leave the perennials alone he thought. “I will kill two birds with one stone”, he said to himself, “lower maintenance and less expense of buying flashy annuals.” There will be less color, but if done properly the design and layout will compensate for the lack of color. Besides, I’ll add some annuals as a little splash of pizzazz.

Time passed after the transplant and the Gardener began to see some strange effects on the smaller Hosta plants. He noticed that they were weak in appearance, and by now they should have begun to flourish. Hmmnn, strange that these usually hardy plants look so feeble here in the new spot. Could it be they are getting too much sun? Another week passes and he sees the foliage on his miniature Hosta’s become even worse. “I may have to replant these he thought.”

What a Sum and Substance Hosta Should Look Like
What a Wabbit Terror Attack Does To A Healthy Sum and Substance

Then, this morning when the gardener raised the window shade overlooking the garden, he saw it. An invasion in progress. The Wabbit sat at the edge of his Sum and Substance with a giant bright green leave bobbing in his mouth as he chewed. Instinctively, the gardener snapped the lock on the sliding glass door to make a loud cracking noise. The Wabbit leaped, took one bound and disappeared. The Terror Cell is alive and exposed he thought.

Let the war begin. What devious means will I use to get him to leave the yard? He thought he had outwitted him by moving a plant they never touch, but to his surprise, the Rabbit decided it was just what he needed to please his palate.

There are two things I can do, thought the gardener. One, I can let the river run again. He had stopped the flow of water from the waterfall for stream-bed maintenance, and forcing the Wabbit to cross a water barrier will make it harder. Second a mesh of poultry-barrier across another entrance to this bed will also make it harder for him to invade.

There is one thing the gardener will not stand for in his yard, i.e terrorism by any intruder, be it an invasive species like thistle or dandelion, or rabbit. Garden terrorism is a costly detriment to the appearance of the Monet Vision, it must be stopped.

to be continued. . . .

Terrorists Strike a Frankfort Home

Late last evening Akkmed Wabbit and his young son Osama bin Wabbit were seen high tailing it out of the garden. This morning Grumpa Joe discovered the attack  while he strolled the Monet Vision with his coffee in hand. “The little bastards just took out sixty dollars worth of petunias. I hope they get indigestion,” he said out loud. He then went inside to plot his revenge.

He should have known better than to plant Petunias, but Joe felt secure after not having seen a Wabbit for several months. Last year the marigolds kept them out. He started to research methods for eliminating Wabbits from gardens. Here is the list of ways he is considering:

  1. DeCon, poison

2  Live trap

3. Rat traps

4. Shotgun

5. Import a coyote

6. Hire a Hawk

7. Plant Marigolds

8. Fence off the flower beds

9. Hire a 24 hour armed guard to chase them away

10. Buy a Beagle and let him patrol the garden.

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Monet Vision-Patriot’s Dream on June 3, 2016

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Monet Vision-Patriot’s Dream eaten by Wabbits, June 11, 2016

A surprise retaliation awaits you little bastards.

 

 

 

THE WAR BEGINS!

This evening my war with thistle began. I’m finished with pulling and digging the darn things out of the ground. The weed propagates via runners. Pulling on them just breaks the vertical shoot and leaves the runner below to sprout again.

The evening is incredibly warm for April, and the wind died down. There is very little vegetation showing except the dreaded thistle. It is the perfect night to spray. This time the assault emulated Sadam Hussein’s, and Bashar al-Assad’s attack on their own people, chemical weapons. Earlier in the month I met the scourge head on with a biodegradable chemical know as vinegar. Vinegar  had little to no effect on these vermin. Tonight I bumped up the game to full strength Round Up. Certainly this will put the running bastards down for good. I can only hope.

After last summer’s dreadful lack of attention to my garden I have promised myself that this is the year of the Monet Vision-abcdefg, The second name will come later after I have planted and know what the color scheme will be. One thing for sure, it will not be orange or yellow. The Monet Vision-Golden Glow will be hard to beat.

Most likely, I will be stupid enough to plant flowers that the Wabbits love. After two years of a very sparing Wabbit population, I have evidence to believe they are back. The evidence being visual sightings of as many as three Wabbits in the yard at one time. This would be the year to plant Wabbit repelling Marigolds, except they only come in yellow, and orange with some brown.

A New Union of Terrorists

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Boko Leporidae, Leader of the ICWIS

Boko Leporidae hopped into the assembly of terror cells in Grumpa Joe’s garden. Boko did not look like any of the Wabbits living in the garden, he was fluffier and more like the Easter Bunny. His shorter ears stood erect on his head, and his fur was white with splotches of black.  “We have to unite, or die, said Boko.”

100618-WabbitWar0031

Hunched down low in the first row in front of Boko were Aga Bam-bi, and Ali Bug-Bunee. Aga munched on a clover flower while Ali nervously scanned the garden for signs of Grumpa Joe. Ali twisted and twitched his ears in all directions. His eyes open wide scanning the garden for movement while his nose was a constant twitch.  Both Aga, and Ali suffered a devastating winter living in dire conditions of deep snow and brutal cold. As leaders of terror cells their focus shifted to survival, and not in terrorizing the garden. Little did they know that in their quest for food that had stripped the young bark off the Viburnum and the Willow shrubs causing them great stress. Missing from the meeting were the squirrels. “They took a terrible beating from the hawks,” said Aga.

Behind Aga and Ali sat Slimy the Slug, a new member of the organization. Slimy sat nervously hoping the meeting would end quickly. He needed darkness to carry out his work, and this meeting cut into his feeding time. Unlike the Wabbits, Slugs can not work in sunshine. The sun quickly dehydrates their vital fluids and kills them.

Wild_Rabbits_at_Edinburgh_Zoo

Aga Bam-bi and Ali Bug-Bunee at the union meeting

 

“Without a united front, we will all perish and Grumpa Joe will win. He will succeed in driving us out of his garden.”

“He hasn’t planted any Petunias yet this year,” said Ali.

“The tulips are all bloomed out so there is little left for us to raid,” spoke Aga.

“Fear not,” said Boko. “With a united effort, no matter what he plants we will take him down. Are we going to stand together, or will we go down?”

“We will stand together,” they answered in unison.

“Good. As soon as we know what his Monet Vision looks like we will strike terror into the old man’s life.

Grumpa Joe and Peggy spent the winter in the Valley of the Sun enjoying the warmth away from the deep snow that blanketed the garden. All winter Grumpa Joe envisioned the 2014 Monet Vision. “I’m going to call it Golden Glow,” he told Peggy. This year I will outsmart the Wabbits by planting flowers they can’t stand.”

“That’s a good idea,” said Peggy.

“There is only one problem?”

“What is that,” she asked?

“The flowers they hate are not available in the colors you like, you won’t have any pinks, or blues, or reds to enjoy. I can see it in my mind and it will be the most beautiful garden we have ever had.”

“What ever you say Dear.”

Grumpa Joe got a very late start on planting because of all the travel he and Peggy did. First, they had to return from the Valley and then they had to go half way back across the country to attend the graduation ceremony of  Grumpa Joe’s grand-daughter. Before they left, he spent most of his time pulling weeds and preparing the flower beds.

When GJ returned home and walked around his garden he spotted Aga Bug-Bunee chewing peacefully on clover flowers. Eat all of that you want he said to himself, but stay away from my annuals.

After the graduation, Grumpa went on a flower buying spree. He bought a variety of Marigolds in yellow, orange, and mixed. This will fix them he thought. Those fuzzy Wabbits will stay away. I think it is the smell that does it.

In his day dreaming he envisioned a garden of yellows and golds of many sizes shapes and textures. Right after he planted his first batch of marigolds, he went on a second flower safari and bought more marigolds but also daisies, zinnias, some low growing Lysimachia,  a full flat of tall skinny Celosia, and a spicy orange Asiatic Lily. He plunked a few pots of  yellow Lantana into the mix and hoped he wasn’t buying very expensive Wabbit food.

A week after he planted the marigolds he noticed a few plants doing poorly. He got on his knees to get close to the ground. The foliage on the plant was gone. All that remained were the stems. Hmmnn! Where have I seen that before? Oh Yes, in my very first garden on Keeler Avenue I planted a line of Marigolds and they looked the same as this one. It took me a lot of research to find the culprit of that mystery, and when I did, I didn’t want to believe it. The garden has many critters, he thought. For every plant I buy a specific bug or predator exists to take it out. Now a new battle begins, and I’m afraid it involves chemical warfare for this terrorist. I can have no mercy on this tribe. I must annihilate them in order for the garden to live on. The formula for this new weapon resides in my study, I must find it quickly.

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Slimy the Slug

The Union of Wabbits and Slugs met in the garden late at night after all the house-lights were out. Boko Leporidae, asked for reports on activity in the yard. Aga spoke first. “The Old Man planted Marigolds, I hate them and won’t go near them.”

“Anyone else?”

Slimy spoke up, “I ate a very delicious Marigold this week, and I can’t wait to get back for some more.”

Boko asked,” What are we going to do? There are many rabbits who will not eat Marigolds, but only one slug that will.”

Slimy answered, “I’ll begin recruiting as many of my friends as possible. Once they know there are Marigolds, they will drop the Hostas and come slithering over.”

“Do you think you can get enough help to do the job?”

“Oh yes, but it will take a few weeks to get their attention.” We have so much to eat in this yard it doesn’t pay to move around too much. We’ll just have to multiply in droves to make it happen.”

“Keep up the good work,” said Boko. “Stay observant and explore the yard for species you love and take them down as soon as you can. This guy is an infidel and needs to be taught a lesson. The early chapters of our holy book demands that Infidels be terrorized. While you are doing that I will contact the NSA (Nature Spy Alliance) for more intelligence and search for new members.”

“Hey Chief, what will we call our new union,” asked Ali Bug-Bunee?

How about the Illinois Coalition of Wabbits, Insects, and  Slugs, or “ICWIS” pronounced Icy-Whiz?

“Yeah that sounds catchy.”

 

. . . .to be continued

 

 

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