Uh-oh. Look who’s coming to dinner!

– Posted in: Garden chores, Pests, Plagues, and Varmints

One of many holes in the birthday garden
This is one of the better reasons for trimming back all your perennials in the fall. Less hidey-holes for the resident rodents. There are probably half a dozen of these holes in the Birthday Garden alone, and there are plenty in my other garden beds, too.

Where’s a feral cat when you need one? Or an owl?

When I feel like torturing myself I think of all the delicacies the voles are feasting on. Expensive corydalis. The lilies I grew from seed that my grandmother had given me.

There are two holes near the base of the rose bush I planted this spring. Do voles like rose roots? Probably, as with deer, they’ll eat almost anything if there’s enough competition. And there does seem to be an awful lot of circumstantial evidence that there are more voles than usual. And why not? All that rain we had made for lush growth and plentiful seeds to support a bigger-than-average vole population–and hide it. And when (or should I say if?) it snows, the snow will hide them, too. So it’s now or never: come owl, come cat–and feast!

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

What differentiates a bulb from a perennial plant is that the nourishment for the flower is stored within the bulb itself.…There is something miraculous about the way that a little grenade of dried up tissue can explode into a complete flower.

~Monty Don in The Complete Gardener pp. 142

Comments on this entry are closed.

Chris Coyier July 27, 2007, 11:44 am

Moles, Voles, and Deer and be expensive problems indeed! I hope you got your wish and an owl saved the day. If you are still having problems, I’ve had good luck with Repellex Root Saver.

Kathy Purdy November 30, 2006, 7:41 am

Hi, Ki, good to hear from you. Checks and balances, that’s what it’s all about. If we could only train those voles to limit their diet to weed seeds and roots, we’d be all set.

Ki November 30, 2006, 6:50 am

We unfortunately went wild at the local composting center and put down a 3-4″ layer of wood chips in the planting berms. The rodents just love it with many tunnels bored through the chips. We’ve unknowingly built them a nice warm, dry home for them. Luckily we have a resident bad boy cat and a feral cat that we feed to somewhat keep the rodent population in check.

Kathy Purdy November 29, 2006, 10:30 pm

With all the fields around here there’s no chance of eliminating them for good. I’ve set out traps before, but that’s like emptying the ocean with a soup ladle. Basically like a lot of other natural cycles, they have good years and bad years, and this looks like one of the good years–for them. I’ll let you know in the spring what survived.

Carol November 29, 2006, 6:35 pm

Aack! I had problems with voles a few years back. It was awful. They even got into my garage! Yuck. I finally got rid of them or at least I’ve not seen any for awhile.