They win again | For Animal Lovers

Flowers at lower right were eaten to the ground!

As background, I live on the edge of a city of 118,000. I don’t live in a rural area. About a half mile from me is a protected wildlife area. I thought it would really be wonderful to be close to nature and it kind of is. Sorta. Maybe.

All the critters who live there have heard about what a great gardening cook I am. They come from all over for brunch, dinner, midnight snacks – you name the eating event and they are there. “They” are deer – lots of deer, groundhogs – some as big as a small pony, coyotes although not too much, turkeys along with their cousins the turkey vultures, opossum and the “adorables.” “Adorables” are the little bunnies (yes, the ones who nibble all your baby plants), squirrels, chipmunks and field mice.

For the most part, I really believe we can live in harmony. I enjoy them and they can have some of my stuff. That’s my price for the entertainment that they provide.

Last year we had a turkey who visited under our bird feeders almost every day at the same time. She ate the seeds that ended up on the ground and she also ate the hulls that the birds didn’t eat. I called her Georgia.

We had a picnic and I told everyone that Georgia was coming and she did! Everyone sat there with their mouth hanging open while this huge turkey walked through my backyard and cleaned up under my feeders totally oblivious to the twenty-five or so people gawking at her from twenty feet away. You can’t buy this kind of entertainment. Maybe not as exciting as the Chippendales but close!

Fast forward to this year – it’s been particularly troubling because the groundhog population has exploded. For the first time in the nine years that we have been here, they have eaten ALL my zinnias — first in the back, then around the pond.

My vegetable garden is safe because I enclosed it with a 6 foot tall dog enclosure. Not the most attractive feature in the yard but well worth the investment. (For more information on that, you can read my post $25 a pound for tomatoes, bargain or foolishness.) The groundhogs do climb trees to eat my peaches. I wouldn’t have believed it except I saw it with my own eyes. Sigh.

I went to the garden store and whined chatted with the staff. They convinced me that I really need to try this stinky stuff to spray on the zinnias. It’s guaranteed to deter deer and rabbits so it surely must work on groundhogs. After plunking $20 down, I took the stuff home.

OMG! It smelled so badly I thought I would barf big time. It was puke-city! Toss-your-cookies time! It was rotten eggs and garlic swooshed together. It smelled like there was also a dead fish and a homeless person included in the blender. I was convinced that NOTHING would eat my zinnias AND I may have to move.

Can you imagine accidentally spilling that in your garage? That would definitely require a move!

That evening as I sat in the screened porch, I swore I could smell it. The beloved husband couldn’t smell it but his sniffer isn’t near as good as mine. The very next morning I went to check on my zinnias and I couldn’t believe it. Something had eaten the plants with the stinky stuff on it. Twenty bucks down the drain, three dozen zinnias written off. Wildlife 1, Kate 0 and so it goes.

20 thoughts on “They win again | For Animal Lovers

  1. The smell sounds horrific, but your garden sounds great!! I’d love to have such a variety of animals visiting me. We just have all our areas cats come and visit, in my house we never turn away a hungry furry mouth (even if they’re just playing us and they’re off home to their mansion for a 5 course meal! You can never tell!)

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    • It wasn’t Liquid Fence but a similar preparation by a different company. Yuk! I have moved the zinnias and am trying coreopsis as a perennial they don’t eat in other spots in the yard. Hopefully, it will work.

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  2. Oh, my! Invading critters vs gardeners and landscape. It is a never ending battle. You don’t mind giving them a little – but really! Never had any luck with spray on stuff. Dog poo does seem to deter some. Someone said to try human hair in flowerbeds – or dog hair. But all I can say is – it’s a never ending battle….(But Georgia, the turkey, sound delightful!)

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  3. Fabulous post, Kate. I have been known to trap my share of those incorrigible groundhogs. They are the worst. What I know about deterring them is that they don’t like dog pooh in their dens. Problem is…they simply make new dens if you dispose of the pooh in their domain. Maybe it’s time to replace those zinnias with a plastic version!

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  4. Great post Kate! I totally relate to the contest between us humans and the visiting wildlife. We truly have had a harvest of only one peach in the last 10 years! The stinky stuff does work here if we remember to apply it (not on peaches of course). Ah well! At least we can share our problems in cyberspace. 🙂

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  5. That stuff is vile…no other word to describe it and once its in your nose..forget about it. My son opened a jar of it in a Sporting Goods Store, yes the one we are no longer welcome in. My goodness Kate you’re like Noah with all those animals seeking you out.

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    • If I would have opened it in the store, I doubt I would have bought it. It doesn’t smell for long but we spend a lot of time outside and I would have been afraid the whole yard would stink. You are right though. Once you get it in your nose, you never forget it.

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  6. That barf-a-licious stinky stuff sounds like no fun to me! Especially if it didn’t keep them away. I guess maybe spreading it around the area might be worth a try, if you can stop breathing long enough to spray it around. Ughghgh. But the zinnias are really pretty, so maybe they can still be saved, and you can even the score. Good luck. 🙂

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  7. We buy the same stinky stuff and you are correct “barf city”, however, it worked with our critters!! In addition to spraying in on the plants, we spray the ground around the plants. Give it another and try and good luck!

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