Friday, 29 May 2015

Going Slug Pellet Free

Ask almost any gardener in Devon what their biggest gardening problem is and they will probably say 'slugs and snails'.  Well, that's what I would tell you.  I've abandoned all hope of hostas, despaired over the loss of delphiniums.  As for lettuces, let's not talk about that. It really is too depressing.


After years of struggling I've surrendered to the slugs.  I've let them eat the plants they love and decided to make a garden of what is left behind.  I am not telling you these plants are completely slug proof but they seem to have the ability to fight back...or maybe they outgrow the ravages of gastropod gang warfare.

  
Recently, the garden was visited by two hedgehogs.  Despite the fact they are noisy, flea-ridden, and poop all over the garden, I am determined to do everything I can to encourage them to visit us regularly.  This means the use of slug pellets is forbidden.  I decided to take an inventory of the surviving plants and found the list to be surprisingly long.

It included almost all spring bulbs and flowering shrubs.  You can plant as many fuchias, hydrangeas, and flowering quince as you like. The iris are not bothered, nor are the perennial geraniums and poppies



Most of the tougher herbs do well, too.  Things like lavender, chives, sage, cat mint, and salvias even seem to slightly repel the pests.


Ox Eye Daisies, Mountain Bluet, and Nigella are growing like weeds without giving a thought to the slugs. 


Roses may have other creepy crawlies, but they don't suffer with snails.


Heucheras, the Marmite of the plant world, you either love them or loathe them, are immune to molluscs.  (I love them)

So, here in no particular order, are some of the plants I've found to be slug-snail resistant:

Spring bulbs: daffs, tulips, etc.
Flowering shrubs
Perennial Geraniums
Aquilegias
Crososmia
Japanese Anemomes
Heucheras
Lavenders 
Sages and Salvias
Daisies: Ox Eye and Shasta (once established)
Penstemons
Iris
Poppies: all varieties so far
Pulmonaria
Lobelia
Nigella
Geums
Catnip: the Dust Bunny has his own patch
Black Eyed Susans
Campanula: the little one that grows on walls
Diascia
Dianthus
Daylilies
Valerian
Mountain Bluet 


I am sure I've missed listing something, but it is early in the growing season and later plants are sure to pop up as time goes by.   We still have all sorts of bugs nibbling on the flowers but that's just nature.  Fortunately we have ladybugs, birds and hopefully, hedgehogs to sort them out.  


8 comments:

  1. We have slugs and snails too, and all kind of other little critters, eating our plants. I gave up to destroy them with insecticides or other things. I am so glad we have many birds, toads, sometimes hedgehogs and ladybugs in the garden, that it seems that nature is in balance now, I hope so.

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    1. Your garden is a paradise! I think we are on our way to a natural balance but could use more natural predators. I hope they will find us eventually.

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  2. It is so demoralising when the slugs demolish everything, but that long list of plants they seem to avoid is very encouraging.

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    1. I must confess, I was surprised when I started writing it all down. Not just that the slugs didn't eat them but that I had so many different plants in such a small garden. : D

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  3. Hedgehogs love slugs & snails - put out a hedgehog feeding station (clear plastics with tape around the entrance & meal worms etc & they will help you to keep slugs & snail population down in exchange for regular mealworms. I also feed the birds & they seem to help too with the bugs so perhaps that is the way to go! Your garden looks lovely ….

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    1. Thanks, Dee. I'll give the meal worms a try. I suppose they must be like chocolate for hedgehogs. : )

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  4. I must say that your collection of blooms up there is amazing! You have so many stunning combinations! And though we don't have snails we have other things and I think it is fantastic to make a list of what works instead of forcing things that don't. I use a lot of garlic in my garden to keep the bunnies from eating everything. Loved your post here today friend! Nicole xo

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    1. I was always amazed at the English gardens when I first started visiting here decades ago. The truth is, we have the perfect weather for gardening..never too hot...never too cold. Of course, that's the perfect conditions for garden pests, too. : D

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