Monday, January 15, 2007

Mondays, Manure, and Getting Rid of Unwanted Guests

I have always liked Mondays, even when life was too hard to contemplate getting up in the morning. Perhaps this is an incurable optimism, some limbic system quirk that kicks in no matter what, to tell me “hey, new beginnings. A chance to start over.”

At heart, I’m one of those people looking for the horse because I found the manure pile. Not that I want the bother of caring for a horse, mind you, but wow!... all that manure, man. What a goldmine for my garden. On the other hand, a few years ago, a friend let me come and take all the aged manure from her piles of llama and horse effluvia. It was like found money…until the following year, when I realized that I had also carried home a great colony of Japanese beetle grubs. To thoroughly mix my metaphors, what a Trojan horse that pile of doo doo turned out to be.

Japanese beetle grubsAnd drat, the skunk population seems to be down because there are no dug up spots in the yard - an indication they’ve been feasting from the underground. Fortunately, we have moles…yes, fortunately: they love Japanese beetle grubs. And unlike voles, they don’t eat bulbs. I don’t mind putting up with their mole runs; our yard is big enough to share with such helpers.

Supposedly Bon Ami cleansing powder, sprinkled into the tulip bulb hole, will prevent the voles from wanting to chomp. I tried it this year; we’ll see. So far, though, they’ve eliminated liatris, poppies, lilies, and tulips. ThankyouGod, they don’t like hostas or anything in the daffodil and iris families.

I haven’t given up yet. I’m still working on ways to foil them. But I buy cheap bulbs while I work on my master plan. I am considering getting large Sam’s Club-sized hot pepper sauce and cayenne and thoroughly mixing that in with the bulb soil. I wonder if that would deter them?

Meanwhile, it’s Monday and my paperwhite Narcissus has just started blooming in a north window. And the shamrock I brought back from the dead is taking over the pot and putting out lots of airy-fairy blossoms.

Wax plantNow if I could just figure out a way to get that wax plant to bloom. Five years and some of the vines are six feet long. Lovely leaves, but NO blooms. Maybe I should talk to it more, show it pictures of other, nice obedient wax plants that put forth floriferously. Or maybe threats…I looked online but all I saw were stories about other people's wonderfully prolific wax plants. I took the cutting from a large, ever blooming plant that was at least fifty years old. But this one, its offspring doesn't seem to respond to anything, not even flowering plant food. Grows like crazy, though.

Meanwhile, there are definitely worse days than Monday.


At 10:19 PM, Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

At our little weekend place out of town, my unwanted guests tend to be cottonmouths, who are seen off with the rifle when they get too close to the house.

Getting on towards snake season. . .


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