We’ve hired a fellow to rid our attic of squirrels. The pesky tree rats have chewed through wires, destroyed a heat pump something-or-other, and are generally making a nuisance of themselves. Thus far, a skunk and possum have been captured in the live traps, but no squirrels.
There is plenty of space on this property for wildlife, but the house is off limits to all but the wife and I, perhaps a few dozen mice, and, oh my, not to forget the crickets. The gentleman asked if we wanted our skunk and possum back, and of course they are welcome to return.
I rarely see critters in the garden by daylight, though needless to say there are squirrels and possums, birds, rabbits, frogs and toads, an occasional small snake, dragonflies, a fox from time to time, and the groundhog who lived under the shed for a few years and ravaged the neighbor’s vegetable garden. I walked upon and startled him drinking from the ponds several times. You can’t imagine how quickly these portly little critters can move.
Our groundhog departed this Spring, but did no damage during his stay that I can see. The hole under the shed and another conveniently located several feet from the now abandoned vegetable garden were easily filled. No doubt my neighbor has a different attitude regarding his departure.
I rarely see the deer who bed down no more than twenty paces from the house in a thicket of willow and mulberry, but there are tracks in damp ground throughout the garden, and if I was not to remain vigilant in spraying the repellent there would be considerable evidence of injury to the hostas and hydrangeas.
In this early Autumn the small back lawn has been pockmarked with holes from an animal, I assume a raccoon, foraging for grubs, which I’m certain are plentiful. I suppose the culprit could be our captured skunk, also.
If our smelly little friend has been relocated far from home I’d be surprised if another doesn’t resume where he left off in destroying the lawn. Grubs or skunks, I don’t know which is better, or worse, though we see neither, and the lawn was no prize in any case.
A section of grass behind the swimming pond has been wrecked, worse than the rest. It looks like a herd of buffalo stampeded through, but I’m quite certain we have no buffalo.
The ground in this area stayed damp, perhaps a perfect habitat for grubs. I suppose the lawn will return in the Spring, though I’ve warned the wife that it would be a shame if it didn’t and must be converted to garden.
Fortunately, buffalo have steered clear of the garden!
With October frost the leaves are turning, others falling, the berries of hollies are beginning to redden, but an abundance of blooms remains.
The Joe Pye Weed ‘Chocolate’ (above) has been flowering for weeks. They are scattered through the garden, all grown from windblown seed. Many seedlings have been pulled as weeds when they sprouted in unwanted locations, but I’m happy to have the volunteers that have been allowed to stay. Chocolate is medium height and compact compared to other Joe Pye varieties that grow four feet or more, and the dark foliage makes the white blooms stand out.
The Japanese Windflowers (Anemone) continue to bloom, both the single pink ‘September Charm’, and the single and double whites ‘Whirlwind’ (above) and ‘Honorine Jobert’. With recent mild temperatures the remaining buds might flower several weeks longer.
The groundcover Sedum (above) with grayish rounded foliage is blooming now. This sedum was provided a most unfortunate spot between small boulders that border a stone patio. It seems the narrow garden bed between the patio and lawn is a perfect point to cut through, in particular when carrying sticks to the firepit, with the sedum too brittle to withstand this foot traffic. Beyond the stampeding of clumsy humans, the sedum is quite tough and dependable.
Today thunder and tropical rain are stripping trees bare in short order. Only a handful of days earlier the maples had little color, and only ash, birch, and a stray tree or two had dropped a significant number of leaves. I fear that I have delayed too long in putting the nets over the ponds, but the storms will have ended tomorrow, so they’ll go on nonetheless. We’ll cover this topic later in the week.