A Rabbit Rant

I had really planned to put up a different post tonight, all about gardening with children featuring my two year old daughter. Unfortunately that post will have to wait for tomorrow since I’m still seething over tonight’s discovery, a rabbit attack. This wasn’t some killer attack rabbit from Monty Python. On second thought maybe it was but plants, not people, were its prey. The rabbits didn’t attack the vegetable garden. All the vegetables in the vegetable garden are safe and secure behind the rabbit fencing. The birdbath garden wasn’t ravaged either. It was my newly planted shade garden. The one with the hostas and Japanese Painted Ferns. The garden with the heucheras and an oak leaf hydrangea. It was also the garden where I acclimate my cuttings to the hot weather…all my cuttings…

Bugs and his buddies took it upon themselves to feast on my Japanese painted ferns. They aren’t dead yet but they were ravaged pretty good. Hopefully they will bounce back. I had a little hosta in a pot hiding amongst it’s larger kin and it was swallowed as an appetizer. Several of the other hostas were nibbled and gnawed and one small heuchera was snipped. What I am the most angry about was my cuttings. Eighteen chrysanthemums are no more. Eighteen! I can make more but these were several weeks old. A tray of Russian sage is now a tray of dirt filled pots, devoid of vegetation. One salvia was in that tray as well and it’s gone also. A salvia lyrata that I was bringing back to life had its new growth unceremoniously snipped. It wasn’t even eaten, just snipped. If Elmer Fudd were wandering this way I would gladly lend him a hand. Of course he never did seem to have much luck.

After these discoveries I went inside and grabbed the cayenne pepper and dried red pepper from the spice rack and sprinkled it all over the plants. Maybe if the rabbit thought his feast was fulfilling he might return and find someone has flavored his buffet. Tomorrow I’ll make a concoction of pepper spray to periodically add as a salad dressing for the rabbits.

I did learn something though that may be very valuable for selecting rabbit proof plants. Small plants no matter what they are are good game for the rabbits. They will try them even if they don’t like them and leave the unwanted remains behind. This is what happened to the Russian sage cuttings and the salvia lyrata. The rabbits don’t seem to have much interest in heucheras which is another great reason to plant more. They didn’t do anything to the oak leaf hydrangea or the Soloman’s seal. The hostas and Japanese Ferns seemed to be the primary targets of the attack.

There was a cat hanging around the last couple weeks and maybe he was keeping the rabbits at bay. He hasn’t been around the last few days but I’d like him to come back, I would even start feeding him…do you think he would like rabbit?

I can really identify with Elmer Fudd right now…wascally wabbit. You want war wabbit, I mean rabbit, I’ll give you war!

Dave

Dave has written GrowingTheHomeGarden.com since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 4 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave has a side business growing and selling heirloom vegetables and herb plants through Blue Shed Gardens and works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. The cat would keep them away. Mine does a fabulous job. I attracted my cat by putting out food. She was already domesticated and has been fabulous. I saw a baby bunny across the street yesterday, the first time I have seen a rabbit in years. Hope he doesn’t visit.

  2. So sorry for your loss Dave. I feel your pain…
    The hosta is there favorite meal in our yard too! I found several bags (On Sale) of Rabbit repellant at Tractor supply and bought them all. I sprinkle it around the hosta and other yummy stuff to bunny and deer and so far, it is working. But I must not let my guard down. I saw 3 rabbits in the yard a few mornings ago and the one bunny that likes us, comes out each evening and observes us as we trot along our merry way watering! Just lays there and watches us, I am guessing waiting for the right moment to munch or getting use to the smell of the yucky stuff so as to jump on it at some point… LOL…

    Deer got 3 of our 15 Ivy Slips we put out. Knew they were placed in the deer area but had no idea they would eat it. Was in place for at least a month and they never touched it until now. Think by us watering and keeping it green, with the drought they are eating it for the moisture content…

    The squirrels keep digging and lying around all the moist plants especially the newly planted azaleas! Argggg, gardening with wildlife can be a challenge.

    Wouldn’t your girls like a cat? Cat would do the trick with bunny and squirrels. But then you may have to deal with kitty using a freshly mulched garden as a liter box… Gee, whats a gardener to do…

  3. I can’t have cats since my husband is allergic, but my dog does a good job of keeping the rabbits at bay most years.

  4. Tina,

    I think that’s probably why the rabbits didn’t attack earlier, the cat kept them at bay. I wish I knew where he went.

    Skeeter,

    You’re right wildlife can be challenging to the garden. We haven’t had any deer this year but the rabbits have made up for them. I’ll have to get some repellent. The girls love our house cat. We don’t let her outside though.

    Daphne,

    I’d love to have a dog but our cat would have a fit. Maybe someday! Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  5. Oh no Dave!! Terrible and I am so sorry. If you would love a dog, that sure would help and I have always found that cats may not like a dog at first but they get used to each other and actually become friends so go for it. Look forward to the post on gardening with your 2 year old.

  6. We have some very destructive squirrels and chipmunks but all the wild cats are gone…we won’t speak of why…(coyotes). Anyway, because of said coyotes we keep our cat inside.

    Bad news: a friend says the deer are coming out of the woods in my neighborhood.

    Gail

  7. Dave forgot to mention that another reason we don’t have a dog is because Jenny doesn’t want one. 🙂

  8. Cats do eat baby bunnies, so he should keep the rabbits away. So sorry about the plants. It is the most frustrating thing.~~Dee

  9. I can imagine how discouraging that is. Have you tried the deodorant soap tied in net bags? They say the bunnies don’t like it.

    Of course they make you angry, but I suppose they’re just doing what comes naturally to bunnies — as my father says to my mother when the squirrels empty their bird feeders! 😉

  10. I sympathize with you. It wouldn’t be quite as irritating if they actually ate what they bite off. I’ve been using spray rabbit & deer repellent & it’s been working pretty well. The problem is with all this rain, things have grown so much & it hadn’t been dry enough to spray. Tomorrow. BTW – my squirrels attack my Solomon’s Seal every year just before the buds come out on the tall stalks. Grr. Maybe you should get a small dog crate & put the cuttings in there in the garden.

  11. It has been several years since I have had any problems with rabbits ( I have a cat now), but I am fighting a battle with the armadillos. They are digging up newly planted toad lilies, daylilies, etc. It seems like one pest leaves, and another one takes it place. I feel your pain.

    Jan
    Always Growing

  12. I feel for you Dave. Squirrels are public enemy #1 in our garden, with rabbits a close 2nd, and slugs not far behind in 3rd place.

    The squirrels like to dig up every new thing I plant. What the squirrels don’t do in, the rabbits obligingly destroy.

    Liquid Fence works well for the rabbits, not as effective for the squirrels. Coyote urine works reasonably well too, but then your garden stinks like. . . well, you know. Liquid fence is my repellent of choice.

  13. So sorry to hear about your loss, Dave. I feel for you! Since I’ve only recently moved into my place (a gardening disaster from the previous tenants), all of my gardening is relatively new. The major predators I’ve encountered thus far are squirrels and ants (several large varieties). I’ve found that my cat is an excellent deterrent. He’s an indoor resident but is trained to a harness and leash, so I regularly take him outdoors when I’m working and let him sniff around. He gets an outing and the squirrels get a warning! I’d recommend a visit to your local shelter to adopt your own feline varmint hunter.

  14. Hello Dave,

    i am part of the blog team at CalFinder and we recently featured your Home Garden blog as one of our 29 Unique Gardening Blogs: http://www.calfinder.com/blog/landscaping/29-unique-gardening-blogs/

    I especially enjoyed your blog because it is thorough and very helpful when it come to issues in the garden. You also have some great pictures that catch the readers attention.

    I would love some feedback on our blog. Is there anything that could make our blog more appealing to your readers? Would you consider linking to our blog?

    Best Wishes,
    Meredith
    meredith@calfinder.com

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