Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Those pesky varmints ...

Winter's chill is just a fading memory, the slow start to Spring is behind us now, so we can begin to look forward to summer without a care in the world . That's what I thought. Until today.

Yesterday plants were putting on new lush, tender growth and making up for a sulky start to the season. New foliage was just perfect, growing strongly and making up for lost time. I was gazing fondly at all this perfection around me...

Then ...


As of one, all the pesky varmints came out of hibernation or hatched or were spawned from Hades, and I swear they did it in unison! Slugs, snails and the dreaded Lily Beetle have all made it their duty to decimate my lovely new foliage.

My pride and joy, the Fritillaria has literally been ruined overnight. The culprit is the bright red Lily Beetle, which I keep an eagle out for at all times. You can't miss it. It's bright red! It wasn't there yesterday, I swear, but I counted six in one place today. I don't like to use chemicals in my garden and prefer the age old tradition of squishing culprits underfoot or with my fingers. These Lily Beetles have such a hard carapace that they are very difficult to squish. They also show great cunning, as they immediately flip onto their backs when you try to catch them,so that they blend in with the soil. They can make themselves as invisible as Harry Potter.

Check them out in their unadulterated state on my post 'I'm feeling plant envy ...'  only a couple of days ago.

I hadn't seen a single Lily Beetle in my garden until 2 years ago, when only a week after being warned about them by a friend, they arrived en masse and made themselves right at home.

This is a leaf from my Angelica. It is about a metre high already and was looking very statuesque, but it has been badly nibbled by a snail or a slug. We do try to be organic, and try to keep pests down by natural methods (squishing). Slug pellets do not really fit in with our ethos in the  garden, and also, can be harmful if eaten by Fantail Doves who know no better, or dogs, who just hoover up anything which is not attached. We will be trying traditional methods to keep the snugs (collective noun for snails and slugs!) at bay. The beer trap, the egg shell barrier, grit , the greasy band, squishing fingers ... all will be employed.

The emerging leaves of this Ligularia have been spoiled before they have even unfurled completely.

There are four large Gunneras in the garden and every leaf is pristine ! Go on varmints, I dare you, take a chunk out of that bad boy !


  1. Eugh, I hate lily beetles, and have completely given up on growing lilies as a result, too much heartbreak. I'd forgotten they go for frits too. I was planing to grow frits. Maybe there are no lily beetles on Anglesey?!

    1. Make sure you keep Anglesey Beetle free ! Full scale searches of people, plants and cars on entry ! They are horrible and they LOVE frits. They were positively queuing for their turn , Janet !

  2. Oh, too bad! Your fritillaria was so pretty, too! I had no idea the lily beetle would turn over and disguise themselves! It's so frustrating to see new sprouts or blooms only to notice that something else noticed them before you!

    1. They were so pretty, I am so sad :-( and Lily Beetles are sooo cunning ! Experts of disguise !


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