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Mice in the garden

I have a terrible set of pests in my garden. I try to keep vine weevil under control with nematodes (with reasonable success, though I can't easily grow heucheras). I keep the snails at bay with regular raids and clear-outs of their lairs. But the mice! The mice are eating the hundreds of buds on my mature hellebores, which were really beautiful. Apparently hellebore buds aren't toxic.

Before you ask, I can't get a cat as I am terribly allergic. And my dog isn't interested in mice. Is there any reasonably simple deterrent that people can suggest?

Thank you.


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,049
    if there's "food" in the garden, they'll come for it.
    Short of suggesting poison, I'm not sure what the answer is.
  • Live traps work really well. 
    They love peanut butter...better than cheese as bait.
    However to stop them returning to the same place you will need to let them free many miles away..
    Not sure if it is legal to do this????

    the old fashioned mouse trap that kills...again use peanut butter as bait.
    Instant kill.
    PLEASE put it inside a drain pipe or similar small tube to stop other critters getting harmed by accident.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,052
    @Cambridgerose12- do you feed the birds in your garden? 
    The mice here like to share the food, so I've never had a problem with them elsewhere.

    I took a video of him yesterday, but I can't put it on here as it want resize small enough.

    I've certainly not heard of them eating hellebore buds - are you positive it's mice doing it?

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • LynLyn Posts: 21,882
    I love that little mouse @Fairygirl,  mice I don’t mind, rats have to go. 
    I don’t know the answer,  it’s their garden as well I suppose.
     On our other site if you want to put a video on you have to put it on YouTube then post from there, I assume this site would be the same. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,052
    edited December 2019
    Ah - I've no idea how to do that @Lyn :)
    I love watching them. That pic wasn't great as it was taken through my dirty bedroom window  :(
    I've never had them come into this house, or the one round the corner. Plenty of good places for them to live/shelter outdoors. Maybe I've just been lucky. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • I'd never heard of mice eating hellebore buds either, but there's nothing else that frequents my garden. They're not holes and trails of the mollusc variety, but tiny fragments of chewed petals and stamens, very similar to the damage they inflict on other plants. I think they are encouraged by the fact that my neighbour likes feeding them! So the population has boomed.

    Thanks for all your suggestions and especially the peanut butter/live traps idea, Silversurfer. I can probably manage that. I don't mind the other things they eat so I was also wondering about a physical barrier of some kind, if there's anything that can deter mice...
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,160
    The only thing I can think of are the plastic dome cloches, which are held down with thin metal pegs (usually sold with them). It depends on how many hellebores you have and if there's space around each one. I did think of a barrier of chicken wire, but it would probably have to be buried in the ground. The mice in our garden haven't eaten my hellebore buds yet - but they did get into the cold frame somehow after my potted tulips bulbs.  Do you also have squirrels? They do eat some buds.
    Personally I think you will have to go for killer bait as they will only breed more and more until you're overrun and they start getting into your house or shed.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • Mice can get through a pencil-width hole, so they're hard to exclude from your plants without making your garden look ugly...  are you sure they're mice though?  In our previous abode, bank voles used to eat the snowdrop buds.  Flowers which are frost-proof are high in sugars, apparently, which act as anti-freeze, so I suppose it's not surprising they're attractive to rodents.   :)

    I suppose you could dig a pond, with an island in the middle on which you grew your hellebores... unless mice can swim...   ;)

    I'd go with live traps too.  In an old farmhouse in Northumberland we had lots of mice scurrying through the pipework.  We baited our live trap with chocolate, which seemed to be their favourite foodstuff, collected the mouse family together one at a time into a "holding cage" we happened to have, and then re-homed them about half a mile away, on some common land.  Then we got a couple of cats... but I realise that's not an option for you.
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
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