April 4, 2009

Cute, But Not the Easter Bunny!

Why are some garden pests so darn cute? When this baby bunny ventured out from under the shrub cover, I didn't chase her away. No, I grabbed my camera to take photos of this cute little critter.

I guess I'm a soft touch in spite of the battle over rabbit damage in my cottage garden all winter. The rabbit that was digging a shallow burrow in the cottage garden must have moved over to the waterfall garden for a safe place to have babies. I don't know how many "kits" were born as only one ventured out while I was watching.

Since I started using a rabbit repellant (I Must Garden), I've not had any damage to the treated perennials. I'm now on my second purchase of the repellant, trying to spray whenever foliage grows another 2 inches or so. I don't like the expense of using repellants, but I don't want to lose what is already growing in my garden.

After years of researching deer resistant perennials, I am now moving on to research rabbit resistant perennials. You'd think that bunnies and deer would hate the same plants. No, the bunnies aren't as choosy as hungry deer.

The razor-sharp rabbit teeth make a clean cut on a plant. Deer are like cows and have no upper teeth, so they make a ragged cut as they rip leaves and flowers off of plants.

So far, the rabbits have been munching on these perennials:

Dutch irises

I've been spraying the garden phlox foliage as it emerges, so they haven't gotten to those plants. I've started spraying the rudbeckia and echinacea, too. During my seed buying spree (before rabbits were a problem), I bought packets of zinnias and cosmos. Well, those are on the bunny's menu! I will sow the seeds anyway and do my best to protect them this year. I just won't repeat the planting of bunny food again unless I use containers that are out of reach. The cleome and ageratum are on the rabbit resistant list. The larkspur will be okay. I don't know about the poppies, but they've not touched the foliage so far.

Deer and rabbit resistant plants in my garden:

asclepias (milkweed)
delosperma cooperii (ice plant)
perennial verbena
perennial heliotrope
perennial ageratum
ornamental grasses and sedges (acorus, carex, miscanthus, muhly)
herbs (bronze fennel, rosemary, lavender, thyme, oregano)

Story and photo by Freda Cameron
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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