Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Pacific Northwest
March, 2007
Regional Report

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This honeybee is one of the most welcome visitors to my garden.

Unusual Garden Visitors

I love the spring garden; I can hardly wait for new sprouts to emerge from my barren beds; I delight in the drama of watching new leaves unfurl and fattened flower buds show tinges of color. As the garden comes to life I feel a sense of victory. The plants, and I, have survived yet another dull, dreary Pacific Northwest winter, and we're ready to begin anew.

Wildlife Friends in the Garden
But spring brings activity from the local wildlife, too. Everyone seems to be looking for something to eat. I start inspecting plants early, trying to thwart our ever-present battalion of slugs. I use bird netting on special plants to foil the deer. When raccoons peel back the lawn in search of grubs, I move quickly to reposition the sod and tamp it down so the grass can start growing again.

Learning from Pests
Learning to cope with the damage and sometimes outwit the perpetrators has been a challenge and an education. I'm awed by pest's determination to eat, no matter how many fences are erected, and annoyed that they choose my garden for dinner. I've learned to be tolerant. Deer, raccoons, and even cats, are creatures of habit. Now that I'm a seasoned gardener, I can predict their patterns and recognize who did what in the garden overnight.

A New Foe
This spring, however, there's a new presence in the garden, and it had me baffled for quite a while. What would nibble on primrose leaves but leave the flower clusters intact? Not deer, they mow small plants down to ground level. What would feed on the lower leaves of my lettuce, but not touch the tops? Savor the newest dandelion leaves, but not the older ones? And, why would anything chomp a tulip leaf off at the base and leave it the garden?

I didn't have a clue, and it was only by chance that I solved the mystery of our newest garden visitor. I was up early one morning, absentmindedly gazing out the window. I saw a small silhouette near the heather bed. When it moved it was with an unmistakable hop. I wonder if the Easter Bunny made an early visit to my garden and left a few of her offspring behind? Now that I know my foe, I'm on a quest to outwit him or her, and I promise to share my findings with you.

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