We went out yesterday. A need to source a suitable offering for Mothers’ Day for a start. And a bit of colour for the borders I had weeded would also be nice.

Mike carried the Stephanotis and decorative receptacle around the garden centre while I hunted for the outdoor plants. Primroses everywhere, but the garden already has plenty of those. The mice had devoured the miniature tulips I tried last year.  And something has even nobbled the daffs. It didn’t leave me much choice. I opted for Snakes Head Fritillary, but we’d need a few of the £4.99 pots to create an impactful display.


The welcome party had assembled on the top terrace back at home. Ptolemy, the pheasant, and Ptolemy Too. I can’t tell them apart unless they are standing together. They must have been watching as I put in the plants.. as I’d carefully excavated each hole and tucked up the soil to nestle them in. A good puddling from the watering can to make them feel at home.

It could only have been five minutes. I can’t even remember where it was I went.

I do remember exactly what confronted me upon my return.


Fritillary chewed 1 Wm


One of the plants with all its flowers nipped off.


Fritillary chewed 2 Wm


A second had not escaped unscathed.


Mesh 1 Wm


Mike has done his best, but it doesn’t look the same.



pin it?


2017-11-10T08:59:46+00:00March 7th, 2013|Tags: , |


  1. Countryside Tales March 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    Oh no! Naughty pheasants!! How dispiriting for you. I love snakeshead fritillaries too. Perhaps you can get a “pheasant scarer” – something pitched at exactly the right tone that only the pheasants can hear, like the ones used to disband unruly mobs of teenagers from hanging round shopping centres, or pirates trying to board rich yachts… CT x

    • Jessica March 7, 2013 at 4:53 pm - Reply

      Hmmm.. I shall have a peruse of farmers’ merchant sites and see what I can find. There may be something they use for keeping birds off seed. We passed a field when we were out over the weekend that had lots of plastic flags flapping in the wind.. the field was still full of pigeons and gulls!

  2. Em March 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    Those pesky pheasants are proving very expensive. Great look from Mike there; I recognise that subtle garden design from my own partner’s efforts in similar circumstances. I try to be polite but he knows really. I’m currently watching the blackbirds tossing all the mulch out of the border onto the path again. I really don’t know why I bother putting it back every day. My sympathies are with you Jess!

    • Jessica March 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm - Reply

      Blackbirds truly love mulch.. all those tasty grubs lurking underneath.

  3. haggiz March 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    God he is beautiful though isn’t he?! (Ptolomy, not Mike, although he may be, I haven’t seen a photo of him!) I think husbands are all the same as long as there isn’t a problem they don’t care what it looks like. We had a beautiful pond built in the garden but a heron took a liking to our fish so my husband has laced wire on poles all around and over it, it really doesn’t look as good anymore! Julie x

    • Jessica March 7, 2013 at 5:09 pm - Reply

      It’s difficult to make any bird deterrent look good. In our case ‘Mark II’ is under construction as we speak. Yesterday’s was a temporary barrier until we could get more chicken wire. It also needs to be bigger. Beaks can reach through..

  4. Cumbrian March 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    Still not fancy roast pheasant?

    • Jessica March 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      Our neighbour has offered a 12-bore.

  5. Sarah March 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    I LOVE to visit you and hear your tales of the critters who wander around there!!! It is always a wonderful way to start my day….although, I imagine they frustrate you from time to time. What do you do with a pheasant with an attitude?! I hope the fencing works around your new plants but that pheasants and his cohorts seem mighty determined. 🙂

    • Jessica March 7, 2013 at 5:14 pm - Reply

      They are as bad as the squirrels Sarah!

  6. Wendy March 7, 2013 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    It did make me smile to read that the pheasants were watching you. They must have thought you were generously planting a dinner for them. Because we have rabbit attacks like this; we also have to resort to protecting flowers at times – and so I never get the look I plan for.

    • Jessica March 7, 2013 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      I should have known. They were eyeing up the tray of pots before I even planted them out. Lucky I removed the Mothers Day plant..

  7. Sue March 7, 2013 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    A fantastic photo of him, but I guess you’re starting to think he would look good with a pastry lid !

    My veggie patch is swaddled in wire netting and plastic mesh to keep out those dratted deer, it looks a compltete eyesore. How I would love a tidy and organised veggie plot with row upon row of unnibbled veggies. We are going to try fencing round the entire plot but looking at how high they leap when being chased by Rosy the Jack Russell I think we may have to build Fort Knox.

    • Jessica March 7, 2013 at 5:36 pm - Reply

      No pastry lid!!
      I’m becoming increasingly convinced that rows of unnibbled veggies are a myth. Good luck with the fence!

  8. Denise March 7, 2013 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    Mrs Ambassador, with these fritillaries you are spoiling the pheasants too much!

    They’ll be phoning you up with requests next. Just don’t let my hens hear you are providing a gourmet delivery service! (They are already too partial to the new shoots coming off my hop plants.)

    • Jessica March 7, 2013 at 5:42 pm - Reply

      Last year I got sent some free seeds – pheasant berries. Adored by said bird apparently. Miraculously they germinated and I’ve planted them out all over the wood. What more can I do for them??

  9. steph March 7, 2013 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    my husband went to the same school of artistic design that yours did! so kind of you to provide dessert….I’m taking it that the tulips and daffs were the main course. Ptolemy… thankful for your good looks. I understand pheasant isn’t unheard of for an Easter meal.

    • Jessica March 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm - Reply

      The mice are in the frame for the tulips. Or the squirrels. But Ptolemy is definitely in the dock for the daffs!

  10. Jill Chandler March 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Along with the vast fortunes paid out for bird food we also feed about eleven pheasants! You could give it atry, well away from planted up garden, it works for us. Though I have to say we have more garden for the wild life than we do plants, but what we do have is left alone, apart from our cats, but thats another story.

    • Jessica March 7, 2013 at 5:52 pm - Reply

      It’s the bird table that attracts them. It’s nice to have the smaller birds come close to the kitchen window.
      I’d thought about having an autofeeder for the pheasants out in the woods. It would hopefully keep them out of range of next door’s shooting parties too.

  11. BadPenny March 7, 2013 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    Oh no …. come to think of it something has eaten mine ( and there was a pheasant strutting about yesterday ! )

    • Jessica March 7, 2013 at 6:03 pm - Reply

      Guilty as charged.

  12. Simone March 7, 2013 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    Do you think they could have been mistaken for real snakes heads and they gobbled them up to protect you? No. I don’t think so either!

    • Jessica March 7, 2013 at 6:07 pm - Reply

      I wonder if pheasants like slugs? The unopened flowers do look a bit like slugs..

  13. Anne March 7, 2013 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    How annoying! I love snake head fritillaries. I have some silk ones in a vase, that sits in the study windowsill. I had bought them for my Dad, not long before he died – and every time I visited him (twice a week) he would ask me what they were called!

    • Jessica March 7, 2013 at 9:03 pm - Reply

      They are lovely. I’d like to get some bulbs in the autumn and naturalise them in the woods.
      My mother is at that stage, bless them.

  14. Sarah March 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    Oh dear I think those pheasants think they own your garden. Have you recently seen the bad tempered one that gave you so much trouble?
    Sarah x

    • Jessica March 7, 2013 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      It’s calmed down a bit, thankfully. None of them have attacked us recently, or our visitors. They seem to have concentrated their anger on each other.. three of them were fighting on the steps yesterday.

  15. CherryPie March 7, 2013 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    I think those darned pheasants need a stiff talking too!!!

    • Jessica March 7, 2013 at 10:51 pm - Reply

      They need something..

  16. John March 7, 2013 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    That photo is a delight x

    • Jessica March 7, 2013 at 10:52 pm - Reply

      Caught in the act.. “Who, me?”

  17. Judith March 7, 2013 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Noooooo! The b……ds!!!!!!!! Time you got a dog…..or a shotgun! You’re right, it is the feeders that bring them in and keep them coming. I’m thinking of stopping feeding the birds after this next cold spell to see if I can discourage the pheasants too, although we have friends with dogs arriving very soon. I’ll keep you posted on how effective they are at reducing pheasant presence.

    • Jessica March 7, 2013 at 11:04 pm - Reply

      I love to have the birds around, including the pheasants. But how to have a garden too?
      It’s a good plan. Flowers in the summer. Birds in the winter.

  18. Viv March 7, 2013 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    I think he makes a good ‘pin up’ Ptolemy not Mike although he may well be a close second! I kind of like the wire netting meets nature look – sort of sculpture in the landscape and a bit Andy Goldsworthy.
    PS Have you tried hanging old DVD’s around in trees on fishing wire the shiny movement sometimes puts them off.

    • Jessica March 8, 2013 at 9:56 am - Reply

      I could get to like the wire when you put it like that.. the DVD’s may be less aesthetically pleasing!

  19. elaine March 8, 2013 at 9:29 am - Reply

    He looks so innocent – shame about the fritts

    • Jessica March 8, 2013 at 9:59 am - Reply

      He does. Now to protect what they have left me with. When Mike returns from an errand Mark II defence system is set to emerge from the shed..

  20. Rosie March 8, 2013 at 9:32 am - Reply

    Naughty Ptolemy! or his friend! or both! Isn’t is annoying when this happens? We had exactly the same scenario last year with white crocus and grey squirrels – I’ll say no more:)

    • Jessica March 8, 2013 at 10:07 am - Reply

      My study overlooks this bit of flower bed. Ptolemy is currently standing dead centre of it, on one leg head tucked under wing, no doubt waiting to see if any more tasty morsels materialise..

  21. Anny March 8, 2013 at 11:20 am - Reply

    Plastic flowers?

    • Jessica March 8, 2013 at 11:30 am - Reply

      No. But you have given me an idea… plastic pheasant??

  22. Jo March 8, 2013 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Such a shame. I love having wildlife around my garden, but they can certainly do a lot of damage. I love snakes head fritillaries, I have a few in the garden but not many.

    • Jessica March 8, 2013 at 6:59 pm - Reply

      The list of plants it seems I can have is dwindling! What eats weeds?

  23. Annie @ knitsofacto March 8, 2013 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    I’m beginning to think you’re a masochist … a pie would be such a simple solution. And it’s not as if you’d have to eat it, you could gift it to a deserving local pensioner or something. A good deed and a safe garden. Although the awful thought occurs that in the absence of Ptolemy 1 and Ptolemy 2, you might be visited by Ptolemy 3, 4, 5, 6 … how many hungry old folks do you have locally? 😉

    • Jessica March 8, 2013 at 7:07 pm - Reply

      This is exactly the problem with being surrounded on all sides by woodland. If I have a pie and therefore create an ‘open point’ in prime territory there will be at least six others fighting to take his place. Same applies to squirrels and mice..

  24. Viv March 8, 2013 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    I can tell you nothing eats the weeds… ever!! not even the runny babbits they always go for the lush vegetation of proper flowers. It has occurred to me having read about the suggestion of a plastic pheasant that you have hit on something here as what you do if you want to keep all your fish in a fish pond safe from the Herons is you place a plastic life size Heron by the pool…so all you need is a plastic life size Pheasant by your plants and it may work in the same way!

    • Jessica March 8, 2013 at 11:39 pm - Reply

      If nothing else it will be interesting to see what the Ptolemys make of it. I wonder if they are made strong enough to withstand pecking..

  25. Josephine March 8, 2013 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    Orf with their heads !
    The problem is, they think you have landed in their little plot, with the sole intention of making their pheasanty world a little more appealing. And it’s working !
    I admire your spirit…..

    • Jessica March 8, 2013 at 11:59 pm - Reply

      That is the problem, exactly. Their little plot. Their pheasanty world. I hope your wild turkeys are a little more accommodating!

  26. snowbird March 9, 2013 at 12:06 am - Reply

    Lol….I’m laughing my head off at the sight of the chicken wire around the fence!!! Pheasants!!!! I’m even more jealous now!!! What a stunning picture. It belongs on the cover of a magazine. I do wish you had a subscribe button….I really don’t want to miss any of your posts. They are simply wonderful!!!xxxxx

    • Jessica March 9, 2013 at 1:05 am - Reply

      Thanks. Sharing your life with wildlife can have its amusing moments?!
      If you scroll down below the comment box and click on ‘notify me of new posts by email’ I think that’s the same as subscribe.
      Or ‘like’ on Facebook.

  27. snowbird March 9, 2013 at 12:07 am - Reply

    Sorry….chicken wire around the plant….see??? that’s what making me laugh does!xxxxx

    • Jessica March 9, 2013 at 1:16 am - Reply

      The smaller birds have started using it as a staging post for the bird table. Be good fertiliser for the Fritillaries I suppose..

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