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Talkback: Bulbs under attack

a friend swears by soaking the bulbs in paraffin, while someone at the allotment says chili or tabasco sauce deters unwanted wildlife... never tried any of them myself.


  • The old trick of using a small domed cage from chicken mesh or smaller would help to deter the hungry pests and allow the bulbs to grow through them. If the rodents are then still eating the leaves and flower stalks then you will need to make wire cylinders instead but the foliage won't hide them. Usually it's the bulbs themselves that are eaten and a sheet of wire netting covered over with soil can be effective. It's probably field mice doing the mischief in the pots and cute little fellows they are too, much sweeter than house mice. Regarding the useless cats, they need keeping indoors to avoid upsetting neighbours with their unsavoury toiletry habits so train them to use the kid's computer game outfit you may have.........a virtual mouse hunt perhaps. ;-)
  • My problem is not with squirrels and mice, but our cat! She just loves the soft, pliable texture of the compost in the pots, and decides this is the perfect place to dig. I have been using the wire racks from an old fridge, propped up between two taller pots, to prevent this. The emerging shoots grow quite happily until the bulbs have grown large enough to deter her from digging.
  • I've been waging a losing battle with rabbits. They've even been wrecking plants that they're not supposed to find palatable. After 4 years of trying all sorts of barriers and 'dissuaders' (chilli flakes, pepper, mothballs, dog etc) I've gone for the ultimate deterrent and have been picking them off with an airgun. The buzzards and foxes have been appreciative of the addition to their diets and some plants are actually now managing to grow above ground level.
  • Last year squirrels ate most of my bulbs leaving the green tops... last November I got a small dog who became friendly with next ddor's cat who comes in to the garden to "play". I have now noticed ,that my bulbs appear to be intact obviously as a previous reader has pointed out about the prescence of the cat.... so far so good.....
  • Where can I purchase small quantities of chicken wire or similar to prevent pidgeons from pecking at my tub plants? Ruth
  • Well Pippa I never have trouble with rabbits but squirrels cats and rats and mice are the bain of my life the cats kill the birds and not the other pests and they also secrete all over my plants then dig them out when they are burying the droppings.
  • Moles, mice, rabbits, squirrels, pheasants, pigeons and our cat ALL think that I tend the garden and grow food for THEM!!
    I'm in despair.
    Is there anything that I can grow to eat that is pest-proof???
    Do I have to grow only flowers with thorns?
    Any tried and tested ideas to beat the pests would be MOST WELCOME.
  • The only things that eat my runner beans are deer. If you don't have deer perhaps you could try these and if you do have deer some wire netting protection until the shoots are above "deer height" does the trick
  • My husband loves crocuses so I planted 400 crocus bulbs, but very few of them are showing any evidence of coming up. However there is evidence of new shoots having been eaten. I suspect mice (we live next door to a field) and I suspect they are after the saffron in the crocuses. Any suggestions??
  • We now live in France and not only do we have the attacks by rabbits above the ground, but also have animals called "rat moles", which are under the ground and eat anything growing there as well. We have caught one of these such animals and can confirm that they are not just "moles" with a different name!

    Also on the subject of rabbits, I made myself a nice rockery on a bank outside our garden last year. Yes you guessed it, the rabbits were very pleased with their new larder!
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