By Victoria Plum
Another fascinating talk at the Reepham & District Gardening Club in July, this time all about moles. The humorous and informative talk was by Louise Chapman, the lady mole catcher, who has found her perfect niche in life.
Moles are considered a pest. I have trapped them from my fields in the past because the turned-up soil makes a perfect seedbed for weeds to grow and spoil the grassy sward for my horses.
Interestingly, the current thinking about horses is that they are browsers, so that perfect green field we used to aim for does not provide the perfect diet for equines. The variety of herbage thus encouraged could now be considered desirable.
If moles were in my garden I might feel differently, but my attitude now is very much live and let live. I have even stopped treading on snails: I only water the garden when really necessary, so slugs and snails, though present, are not there in nuisance proportions.
Lily beetle is, however, a problem, as left to their own devices all leaves will be stripped and a vile mess ensues. To negotiate this I have purposely positioned lilies to grow where I frequently walk past, so as the beetles are conveniently bright red I just cast my eye over the plants, and then squash or slice them with my specially sharpened finger nails. There is some damage, but it is minimal. I don’t wish to stop growing my gorgeous lilies just because some leaves get holes.
I have Japanese knotweed. I had to attack the clumps with an axe when first at this garden, and whatever I do or did some shoots still come up, but I just pull them up and it does not spread now. I cannot eradicate it, but it is under control.
Bindweed (pictured below) thrives in one corner of my garden; the roots are like spaghetti. I have tried to dig it out – no chance! I have tried using nasty chemicals, resulting in only a temporary respite, not a permanent solution. In fact it looks gorgeous rambling over the fence and provides an extremely rich insect habitat, and pretty white flowers.
Bindweed is not a real nuisance; I just pull it away from vulnerable plants. And the truth is that although it thrives in that one corner of the garden, like the Japanese knotweed, it has not spread, so why worry and stress about it?
When bindweed dies off in the autumn it looks ghastly so I pull it off and clear the binds. It seems that many people have a “blind spot” and real unwarranted hatred when it comes to certain pests, and are keen to reach for an drastic solution, just out of habit.
I prefer to be resigned to what I really can do little to change, and to negotiate with all the users of my garden.
My gardening club fuchsia, though not big, is covered with flowers. Bring yours to the summer show on Tuesday 20 August, details on the website. I wonder if there will be a quiz?