The Great Garden Stand Off


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Stories and Tales

June 2018

The Great Garden Stand Off


The Great Garden Stand Off

Well, what can l say? I have had to battle off both Suze and Scrappy for bids on this particular post – so settled the conflict on opinions on who should write it up by deciding to place it into the Doin’ The Dirt … Eh series and combine all of our thoughts and suggestions.

Scrappy wanted to include it in her 4 Paws Diary episode and l have told her that by all means she can, so you may find her mentioning her ‘great work’ sometime in the future. Meanwhile l have had to sate my lovely partner by saying that YES l would attend to this matter. Bless her,

Originally l was going to entitle this post “What Grows Off YOUR Garden Then?” But Suze insisted that l write it differently before she goes nuts!

“We have had some good fun gardening over the last few days …!”

Did l say that with the right amount of empathy? I’ll try again,

“We have some superb fun gardening this last few days, oh yeah, huah huah!”

Did that read any more scintillating than the first line?

It matters not in truth, due to the fact that we are currently at war with our neighbours … no, not our human neighbours, they are fine and quite possibly fighting their own wars with their own neighbours!

The weather has not been great for gardening this year, it’s that simple. We have NOT had the start to the year this year as we did last. 2016/2017 saw a mild winter, followed by a nice warm spring and a gloriously warm summer, followed by a shitty autumn and horrendous and confusing winter.

We had snows, warm, mild, heavy rains, snows and the list went on. The spring so far as been a wasted space and the summer unless something perks up, looks like it is going to be nothing more than a stage setting for John Carpenter’s remake [again] of The Fog. Even as l write, yesterday we had a beautifully warm sunny day, but this afternoon and the sun has disappeared behind yet another veil of foggy mist.


We live on the coast, so with weather like now, every five minutes all l am hearing is the distinct if not marginally distant ‘”hooooooooooooooooonkh!” of another ferry fog horn bleating its way forwards across the channel.

Suze who this year opted for the green fingering part of the gardening and leaving me to the brown fingers side, has become quite upset with things so far. She is annoyed that as she has a busy schedule and now having started a full time job which just adds to her already hectic schedule is fast becoming disillusioned with the green fingering side to life. Seeds she spent hours on planting in little cells 6 weeks ago, and kept watered in the greenhouse have not yielded to her the 100% seedling plants she was hoping for and to date we perhaps have only awarded her maybe 45% return. So yesterday she had to spend even more time sowing seeds again.

For some l have simply said ‘”Listen babes, let’s just plant direct into the soil, ok?” However this was met with a stern look of resignation. I can understand how she feels about such things, gardening can be a toughie to break through especially when the weather changes constantly fight against you and more so when you are looking to plant ,crop and harvest for the table.

“Do you think it’s your compost that did this?” She asked.

“Oh right, so instead of looking at everything else, let’s just blame the brown fingering guy!”

“No, no, is it the seeds then?”

“It might be anything or a combination of things.” I answered calmly. “Rome wasn’t built in a day either, and this garden has always been hard work.”

So, Suze has to contend with this, whilst Scrappy and l must contend with everything else.

In Scrappy’s world she is having to put up with her 2 leggeds, thinking she has maybe lost the plot, as she has been acting kind of strange of late and none stranger than only the other night, when both Suze and l thought, “Yep, she is in her own little world again!”

Scrappy on Saturday just gone, had taken to running around the house snout to the ground and making strange oinky noises like a pig and then start snapping at the floor? More oinky shuffling noises and more snaps and then sitting down and growling at the carpets!

“Come on , what would y’all be thinking? If not the same as Suze and l exchanging looks … WTF is she doing Rory?”

I have never been too sure of why people ask me a question, like l should have some magical answer, but l did my best ….”Lost the plot!” was my professional opinion.

Suze just gave me one of those burning glares that Mother’s give their children when they have said something stupid and walked over to Scrappy, started petting her and suddenly exclaimed “Oh Scrappy, such a clever girl – well done!!”


It turns out that our Scrappy is now to have the official title of Ant Buster added to her already long list of accreditations. Scrappy had found ants in the house on the carpet, obviously when she first discovered this, she had been lying down asleep [normal behaviour for 12 hours a day] and they must have crept into places they were not welcome, l can only surmise.

So for the next hour, countless hoovering, boiling water [no l don’t like killing them either, but they have the world at their disposal, and decided to set up camp in this house, is not the answer to their population problems], and being on hands and knees trying to assess where the nest is and why they were looking to decamp from it to settle their colony with us.

All the time this was on going, Scrappy would casually stroll up, snarl at a chosen spot, sit and look at me as if to say “Lost the plot eh Pops??”

So now, Scrappy is official known as Scrappy Doodlepip the Ant Buster!


However, now that we have that under control, and thinking we were safe and sound, last night l witnessed my lovely Suze losing the plot – officially.  But, yes BuuuT she made me become paranoid in the process and so last night after her initial storm into the office wearing cut off denim shorts, bra and Wellington boots [don’t ask] demanding to have an organisation established that enabled frustrated gardeners to be able to call the NSPCS aka National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Snails! Yes folks, that is exactly what l wrote.


Well apart from my smile at that lovely sight, which l hasten to add was quickly wiped off my face when l saw she was serious. “Who do l call? I want to report these lousy snail adults who think it’s perfectly okay to have all these snailey slugs and then abandon them in my garden?” If this was not humorous enough, she then stormed off again and l found her outside suggesting to Mr/Mrs/Miss Frog that she would be willing to pay him/her if he/she/they could hurry up and eat a few more! She suggested paying them commission in snails if he/she would speak to all his/her buddies.


“Darling what are you doing speaking to the frog?”

“No snails, no garden strategy!!”

“He’s a frog, he, she, they and them will attend to it when they are ready, how come he has 7 snails in front of him??”

“Creating the desire. No snails, no garden l keep telling him!”

So, for the next 2 hours, whilst Suze was ranting about snails chomping their way through the garden, l was out every fifteen minutes removing snails from the sides of pots, raised beds, the gravel and in fact you name it, anything – for two hours l was in and out under the guise of paranoia snail hunting! Whilst she was going outside and making pretty witches circles with salt!

The garden standoff had to come to an end when l simply gave up on this pointless exercise! For every snail l removed, two had taken its place on the next shift out! To be replaced with an intensive Google search on eliminating snails from your garden.

When Suze goes to bed and if l am outside, the garden is filled with snails, frogs, a few slugs and worms coming up to lay on the ground. She would be l feel mortified to learn of just how many snails our garden actually has within. It is bad this year, far worse than last year. Because at around 10 and with all the misty weather conditions of late meaning the snails are over populating and were over wintering before, the back lawn is pockmarked with snails, hundreds of snails………… yes hundreds!!!

The war on snails has begun l feel, to find organic and nontoxic methods of discouraging them from our garden – mulches, garlic sprays and so on are to be tried this year whereas last year, copper wire, eggshells and so on and such didn’t work. Neither of us fancy the flat beer trick, for many reasons, but mostly because Scrappy has a hankering for flat beer, and l would hate to think of a beer snail bucket being guzzled by her!! That just wouldn’t be right for the infamous Ant Buster!

More soon ….

A Snail’s Haven I Feel!!!




Although that lot above is our Mint Patch – apparently snails don’t like smelling fresh!



5 thoughts on “The Great Garden Stand Off

  1. You remind me why i love our farmer’s market and the egg/goat milk lady across the street from our new home, come June 22! Bless you both for putting up with this …. and i gladly pass my green over to the farmers, with a fervent prayer for their sanity! 🙏🏼🐝💜j

  2. Growing organic in your back yard/garden is definitely an exercise in frustration! We KNEW we’d lose part of our harvest to insects and critters but the gallant battle was still fought. Good luck to you two Noble Knights and the fabulous ant buster!! 😂😂

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