Wednesday, June 7th, 2017...7:33 am

J’acuse the squirrels

There is something in TheGardenLady’s garden that does not like the garden decorations.

As my garden is being filled with plants, this garden lady has turned to putting decorations in the garden where no plants will grow. I try to get decorations that serve a dual purpose. By that I mean I have been buying birdhouses to decorate tree branches and to serve as places for the birds to nest. I bought a mechanical owl to make a natural looking environment as well as to, hopefully, deter some creatures who want to eat my plants. And I have two wind spinners that are decorative that I hope will work like the old fashioned scarecrow. (Though I think wild animals are too sophisticated to be scared by these whirling decorations)

But, as I said in my title – there is something living in my garden-rent and tax free, I might add, that does not like my decorations.This critter is ungrateful enough to even destroy the decorations that I place in my garden.

Let me explain.

I bought a mechanical owl for my garden and placed it in various locations on the ground or on the ladder where I grow my Major Wheeler honeysuckle vine. Wherever I place this owl, I come out the next day and discover that the owl has been knocked over.

I have hanging in my trees 6 birdhouses. A seventh and fancier birdhouse I placed on the railing of my deck. This was a cutesy birdhouse made to look like a country store with a bale of hay and a bench on the front porch and tiny signs advertising sale items in the “store.” I put this birdhouse on the railing of my deck instead of a pedestal so that I would be able to watch from a kitchen window when birds moved in. The next morning I didn’t see my country store birdhouse. Did someone steal it in the middle of the night? I went out and there it was at the bottom of the deck. I thought, could the wind have blown it down? I returned it to the spot where I had put it originally. The next day, it was back on the ground. I moved it to another location- and it was gone the next day. This happened so often that I knew some culprit did not like it. And the last time I picked it up, the birdhouse was smashed.

I had a charming mobile of hummingbirds and red flowers hanging on my cercis/ Eastern redbud tree. The mobile had a solar cell so that it was lit at night turning red and green. I liked it. The mobile lasted about a year.until my culprit started chewing it down- piece by piece – until now all that is left is one small plastic hummingbird.

My sister-in-law bought me a present of the cutest straw birdhouse. Well, that did not last on the branch I hung it for more than one day. When I came out the next morning I found it on the ground because the straw loop holding it on the tree branch was chewed through.

I could go on to talk about the half dozen wooden birdhouses nailed on trees had been chewed on, etc.

I blame the squirrels for this damage. I have not seen them do this mischief. So I may be falsely accusing the critters. But I have read about nasty things those cute little rodents can do. So without a judge and without a jury, I am declaring at least one of my squirrels – Guilty!

For example, I do not hang food for the birds. Not because the squirrels eat the seeds but because squirrels seem to attack and kill the birds that do. I had a feeder up and one day I cam home and found dead baby birds about 6 ft from that feeder. I have even found a dead bird under one of my birdhouses. I have read that these rodents eat chicks, eggs and sometimes adult birds, but I have seen just the dead chicks and birds that seemed to be killed because of some mean spirit rather than hunger.

There are ways of getting rid of squirrels, but I believe it is difficult because others will return in their place especially if, this Gardenlady has, there are lots of nut trees on the property. And by the way, the critters have been planting acorns from my oak trees and walnuts from my wild black walnut trees like crazy, especially in the soft garden soil where I plant my plants. So this property will have a never ending supply of nut trees to feed more generations of squirrels.

I enjoy seeing the squirrels and wouldn’t want to harm them; they are cute as they run around the property. But I do wish I could teach them to live and let live.

People have some benign ways of keeping squirrels out of their gardens. Whether these methods work or not is questionable. From the Huffington Post comes this natural recipe to keep cats and squirrels away from your property: First mix 1/3 cup flour, 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper, and 2 tablespoons powdered mustard. Then use the mixture to sprinkle around the perimeter of your yard. Or, mix it with 4 cups of water and 4 cups vinegar to make a spray.” Or watch the YouTube video on the top of this post.

I have been buying bottled hot sauce to pour over some of my plants to try to deter their being eaten.

If squirrels are a problem in your garden, read more about getting rid
of them in the Old Farmers’ Almanac.

Do readers of TheGardenLady have any great suggestions that work in keeping squirrels and chipmunks away from their gardens? Let TheGardenLady readers know what you do to prevent squirrel damage.

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