Woman vs. Rodent Round… ?

Where are we up to? I don’t know. I forget how many rounds.

First, the strategy was to keep planting bulbs. Maybe it was a particularly cold, wet winter that led to their failure. But other people in Devon manage to grow bulbs. And the observable evidence was pretty damning..

 
 

 
 

Then came trapping. Live catch and release. But the mice, well they had that one figured out pretty smartish didn’t they. Remember Houdini (here)? We’ll swiftly pass over Mike’s attempts at mouse control which focused less specifically on the ‘live’.

 
 

 
 

Fortunately I managed to divert his industry into more positive pursuits. We (I) would plant all our bulbs encased in his individually constructed wire mesh cages. The workshop turned into a full time production line. Surely the mice wouldn’t be able to chew through these.

 
 

 
 

It worked for a while. But then, once again, the bulbs failed to reappear. Excavation of one, then several of the cages all produced the same result: an absence of bulb and a hole gnawed through the bottom of the mesh. Last year I didn’t plant any bulbs at all. What was the point?

The trouble is I miss them. Bulbs are the mainstay of the early Spring garden. And it got me thinking. It can’t always have been this way because there are bulbs here. Daffodils, snowdrops, bluebells, drifts of all of them planted long before my time. The established bulbs don’t seem to suffer from rodent attack. No, it’s anything new. Then I read somewhere that bulbs planted out in their active growing stage stand a better chance if you have mice or voles in your garden. Apparently it is the dormant, plump, energy rich little packages that are Sticky Toffee Pudding with Caramel Sauce to a mouse.

 
 

 
 

So this year I’m trying again. In the first instance the bulbs have gone into pots, protected overnight in the cold frame. Apodemus is at his most dastardly under cover of darkness.

If nothing else the exercise should bolster my own winter survival strategy. Crocus and Iris reticulata. Something new popping up just at the point when the dreariness seems to be going on forever. And then, as the blooms start to fade, the bulbs will get planted out into the garden. If they manage to stay under the radar long enough to get established perhaps, just perhaps, they might make it into a second year. And even beyond.

 
 

 

Fritillaria meleagris, Muscari latifolium, Tulip ‘Little Beauty’, Camassia leichtlinii. Nothing expensive. Not for experimental purposes.

 

What do you think. Could it possibly work?