Six on Saturday – Signs of desperate wildlife


While I can no longer go on about months without rain, because last Thursday we did in fact have steady rain for a few hours, we have not seen any since and the ground is still solid. There are plenty of signs that the local wildlife are taking advantage of any moisture and easy pickings to be found. For instance, I am continuing my daily task of re-seating various plants that are dug up by our visiting badger (looking for grubs etc in damp i.e. watered places). I also noticed that the squirrels have accelerated their consumption of the ripening walnuts (Juglans regia), to the point where I can’t actually see any left on the tree (in August!!). Normal autumnal sources of seeds (like teasel and arum) have been stripped by the birds already. And finally, our vegetable crop of courgettes and squash are getting badly nibbled by either squirrels or rats. I prefer to visualise squirrels chewing on them, obviously! In fact I am going to share the current state of my black pumpkins as my first of today’s Six.

1 Dental Records

Oh my, what big teeth you have! I certainly have a pretty clear dental records for the culprit, but which creature does it match exactly? I’ve never seen damage on Cucurbitas like this before. 😦

sos1 black futsu

The sad state of my Black Futsu pumpkin

2 Morning Glory ‘Split Personality’

This was billed as a new flower shape for an Ipomoea purpurea: perfect stars in magenta pink. I envisioned our long fence covered in masses of startling blooms. Well, I hate them. The flowers just look they’ve been randomly torn to pieces. A few of the flowers are split regularly and they do look quite nice and a bit like stars,

sos2 split personality

Ipomoea ‘Split Personality’

 but more often than not, it is just one or two tears in each flower, making them look dreadfully tatty.

sos2b split

3 Coleus Campfire

This cultivar feels like a big departure from those bright, rigid, high-contrast varieties you see used as bedding. Coleus ‘Campfire’ looks wonderful planted in containers on its own. I’ve placed several around the patio as bold focal points. Elsewhere I’ve planted them in combination with silver plectranthus and geraniums. They are not as rusty orange as I expected, but I still like the deeper red tones mine are showing. They really glow like little bonfires in the early evening sunlight.

sos3 coleus

Coleus ‘Campfire’

4 Agapanthus ‘Purple Emperor’

This was a recent birthday present from my sister. Thank you. I love it!

sos4 agapanthus

Agapanthus ‘Purple Emperor’

5 ‘Queen Victoria’ Lobelia and mildew resistant Busy Lizzies

Having seen that Busy Lizzies are now back on the market, resistant to downy mildew, I couldn’t resist buying a few for the first time in years. I chose cherry red to cheer up a north-facing narrow border that runs alongside the house. Then up popped the Lobelia cardinalis ‘Queen Victoria’ that I planted there last year for the same reason. Thankfully they don’t clash!

sos5 busylizzies

Lobelia cardinalis ‘Queen Victoria’ and cherry-coloured Busy Lizzies

6 Late summer vegetable sowing

I’ve been reading various posts from allotment holders who are getting organised with regard to sowing vegetables to take them through the winter. I’ve never bothered before, but with the way everything seems to be in short supply this year, I’ve decided to give it a go. So I bought seed last week from MoreVeg, who specialise in smaller (and cheaper) seed packets. I sowed kale, lettuce, mustard, endive, winter purslane and mizuna in modules last weekend and already I am seeing germination across the board. By the time these have grown their second or third set of leaves, there should be space ready for them on the plot (when the courgettes have been pulled).

sos6 winter veg

Late August sown vegetable seed for winter crops

Fingers-crossed that they are a success.

Six-on-Saturday is hosted by Jonathon, who is currently on a 3-day run around Anglesey. Hope it goes well! Meanwhile ‘Six’ contributors are carrying on as normal and you can check out their posts through this link.

Have a good weekend!


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
This entry was posted in Six on Saturday and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Six on Saturday – Signs of desperate wildlife

  1. At first glance I thought the Black Futsu pumpkin was a spotted squash until I realized those wee bites. Can you salvage what’s inside?

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    I’ve been concerned that it is going to be a lean winter for the wild ones as they are eating up the winter stores now, but other than offering seed and suet, there’s isn’t much else I can do. I guess lean years are to be expected. Nature isn’t always kind.
    I love your purple agapanthus… it is stunning!

  3. fredgardener says:

    The ‘Purple Emperor’ is really lovely! A colour you don’t usually see.
    About your pumpkin, the pests came in groups and must have attacked it at the same time…Snails or slugs to me : it’s really weird because usually there are one or two bigger holes. However, you can still eat it.

  4. shoreacres says:

    Your comment about your badgers grubbing around for grubs reminded me of a first sight after rains soften our earth; the ibis show up, sometimes in large groups, working over lawns, golf courses, and so on for the various insects that become available. If there’s enough rain, the crawdads become reachable, and those long ibis beaks become even muddier!

    It is interesting how rain rejuvenates. We’ve had frequent enough rains now that trees like crepe myrtle are putting on new blooms, and fungi are popping up all over. That should make the squirrels happy. I didn’t know until last year or so that they gather mushrooms and dry them in “pantries” for use during the winter.

  5. Nate says:

    Your pumpkin is looking like abstract art!

  6. I agree with you about the morning glory. Those grow wild here on the banks of the Indian River and are cobalt blue. You made me wonder what the squirrels are eating here. Wild grapes, I think. I am glad you finally got some rain. We did too. Good luck with the fall veg.

  7. Rosie Amber says:

    Fred beat me to it, I was going to suggest slug damage to your pumpkin. The slugs are delving into my squashes before they can mature. Perhaps it is because so much else had been crisp fried. I don’t think it has been a good year for the delicate Morning Glory, I had only one grow to any significance and that was in the shade.

    • Hope that your morning glory is looking better after all this rain. Mine definitely is. I was thinking that it is rodents eating the pumpkins as there are grooves in the bites and quite a lot are paired together.

  8. Cathy says:

    The Coleus are really pretty. We have got mice nibbling everything now, especially roots….

  9. Cathy says:

    What a well-nibbled pumpkin that is – most artistic! It’s hard to beat Busy Lizzies for staying power, whatever the weatherand

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s