home bookshop feed the hungry   earthly pursuits logo
what's new old book library safe seed pledge  
contact about books about food & recipes  
links I  II   garden tips  
search flower language blether  
  alphabetized flowers     flowers by meaning companion planting  
    click here to make a
"free" contribution to earthly pursuits

April 2002 Blether:
© 2002 Patrick Vickery

'A Hare Blether'

'Blether' is a Scottish word meaning a good chat (a good blether), often a long and lazy relaxed chat at that, and sometimes over a dram or two of whisky!

e-mail Patrick at: aldieburnplants@aol.com

Patrick Vickery lives in the Scottish Highlands with his wife, three children, two dogs, two goats and an assortment of smaller animals. They live in a two acre wood in a wonderful part of the world.

Patrick runs a small Garden Nursery (part-time), is a Garden Writer (part-time) with a particular interest in the humourous side of things (especially the things that go wrong!), and works part-time as a Special Needs Teacher.

Patrick's first gardening book  In Pursuit Of Perennial Profit - The Pot Of Gold At The Bottom Of The Garden. ISBN: 186163148 has recently been published. A 'how-to' book - a book that shows how to make your garden productive in a variety of ways, for both expert and gardening novice alike, at minimum cost and in an innovative and self-financing way, using a raised bed system of propagation, and concentrating primarily on hardy perennial plants that can be raised and grown outdoors without the aid of a polytunnel or greenhouse.

Available direct from the Publisher at: Capall Bann Publishing, UK; from bookshops; or from Amazon.co.uk via the Internet.

     There's a hare in my garden and he's systematically eating my plants, not
whole plants of course, bits of them, a munch here, a munch there - munch,
munch, munch - as if attending a finger buffet.
     I spotted him through the kitchen window one morning.  He sat in the flower
bed grinning inanely at me through a mouthful of Oriental Poppy, so I banged
on the window in a most vigorous way.  We can't be having this sort of
behaviour in the garden, now can we? 
     He looked across at me, spat out the Oriental Poppy, then moved on to my
prized Lupin (Russell Mixed), unfazed by the violent hammering on the kitchen
window.  He bit off the stem too - chewed the flowers to a pulp.
     Now I was fond of that Lupin, a fine upstanding perennial it was, and one
that had given me many weeks of bright colours on dreary summer days.  What a
way to go?  Having survived slug attacks, strong winds and occasional
battering from the family dog, only to be scoffed by a 'ruddy' hare.  I was
enraged, hopping mad in fact, and so - in a 'hopping mad' sort of way - I
continued with my frenzied banging on the glass.
     He cocked his head to one side, however, unconcerned, more amused than
anything else, quite clearly a hare without a care in the world. 
     Then I let the dog out.  This should have done the trick, only it didn't,
for the dog was clearly in no mood to tangle with a visiting hare of a
comparable size and ran off to find his squeaky ball instead.  Useless,
completely useless.  So I rushed outside myself, charged straight at him in
fact, 'no messing',  at which point he took off sedately in the direction of
the goat house.
     This wasn't the end of it either, oh no, because he returns on a regular
basis to haunt me and to taunt me. 
     Now - as you know - there's very little that a hare won't eat from your
garden, for despite the fact that many leaflets and books have been written
about the culinary preferences of hares (and rabbits for that matter) - what
they will and will not eat - and some by eminent specialists in the field,
they'll actually taste everything. It's simple really. Until you've tasted
something, you don't know whether you like it or whether you don't, and each
individual hare will have its own particular favourites (much like you or I)
which is a factor often over-looked by the pest control experts.  I don't
like curry, my wife does.  I enjoy 'dollops' of tomato sauce, my wife
doesn't. This holds true for a hare when it comes to plants.  They don't like
Buddleias, I discovered, and they don't like potato leaves either, but if
enough hares take a single bite before making that decision then your plants
and your vegetables are in deep trouble.
     My hare (and thank goodness there's only one at the moment) has eaten
Brocolli, Cauliflower, Carrot Tops, Parsley (that was a surprise), Fennel
(even more of a surprise), Mints, Lupins, Geums, Cerastiums, Pinks….. in fact
the list is endless.  But he hasn't touched the Fuchsias or the Hostas yet. 
Why not?  Saving them for June or July, I expect, by which time I shall be
fenced off.  An expensive business - this fencing off business - a nuisance
too, but worth it in the long run, particularly if a laid-back hare without a
care multiplies over time into more of the same.
     Now I must check through the window and see what he's up to.

(copy write 2002 Patrick Vickery