All Right, Who’s Been Chewing On Sally Holmes?
Now that the snow has finally melted and left us for the season (please, please, please), I’ve had a chance to inspect the winter damage inflicted on the garden by the neighborhood rodents. My investigation reveals that, once again, rodent enemy #1 is none other than:
Yes, the cloyingly cute bunny rabbit, known to his criminal friends as Petey “the Gnasher” Cottontail. How appropriate for Easter! And what has Peter done that I should indict him so? Well, I would show you except that the victims are a young Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) ‘Iroquois’ and a young witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), chewed down to within 3″ of the ground. Kind of hard to take a compelling photo of some 3″ sticks.
Petey also chewed on some dwarf grey dogwood (Cornus racemosa ‘Muskingam’), but the damage was not so extensive.
But how do I know that “the Gnasher” is guilty? Because his MO is unmistakable. I learned in my Plant Health class at the Chicago Botanic Garden that a rabbit’s bite is a sharp clean cut, like someone used a good pair of garden pruners.
In addition to rabbits, some violence against plants was committed by unknown assailants. Most disturbing is that someone has been gnawing on ‘Sally Holmes’, a favorite shrub rose. I put the evidence before you. (I also apologize for the quality of the photo, I took it with my phone – all the good pictures on this blog are taken by Judy). I’m guessing this was mice or voles, but I’m not sure.
And so you can understand why this upsets me, here is a picture of ‘Sally Holmes’ during happier days.
Hopefully she will make a full recovery.
Less upsetting but more mysterious is the damage to this shrub Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica). The surface of the stem has been almost shredded – you can see long woody shreds hanging from the stem.
At first I thought this looked like damage from young deer rubbing their antlers – but thankfully we have no deer in this area. I’ve also read that crows use shreds of grape bark to make nests, could something like that be happening? In any case, the more damage done the better. This Lonicera tatarica is an inherited plant and an invasive I’d love to remove. This could provide me with just the excuse I need, heh heh.
Fortunately, I did remember to protect most of my young shrubs with chicken wire over the winter, so the damage could have been much worse.
Have you had a chance to evaluate the winter rodent damage in your garden yet? Would you say it is felonious or just a misdemeanor?