First Came The Hard Sell, Then Came …

First Came The Hard Sell, Then Came …

…. The Hard Shell!!

As a bush or a mound of bushes it looks fairly innocent doesn’t it? Except, it is NOT innocent, it harbours a deadly secret! A nasty lurks within or as Teresa from The Haunted Wordsmith asked of us today in Fibbing Friday “What Lurks in your Backyard?” However l had to lie on that, although l joked and said ‘snails’, but that’s the truth – what lurks in my backyard is a snail bush, or is it snail mound although to be more precise, in my backyard in the middle of the garden there does so lurk an army of hard shells!

The mound is a breeding ground for snails and yet to look at it during the day you would not suspect a thing! I took some before photos to prove my point!

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Completely sweet looking …..

….. right?

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Innocent, pretty, and colourful, what harm could this little bushy wushy tushy do to our garden?

Allow me to digress … so far this week, well from Sunday night to Friday night [just got back in from my search and secure sorte] l have collected a total of  247 snails of assorted sizes lingering, lurking and loitering with intent in our garden! This season, Suze and l made a pact we would not let the slippery sods gain  a heel hold on our greenery! We wouldn’t kill them, because as much l hate slugs and snails, the former especially can make me throw up in my own mouth if l touch them, because l can suffer from hand to mouth  transference – meaning if l touch certain things l can taste them in my mouth, sadly my two biggest culprits for this are slugs and lemons!

However, this season, these slimey’s would not muller our hard labours, well Suzes!

We have tried everything to rid them, from vaseline to eggshells and nothing works and the only other method we have at our availability is to collect them by hand! I have even tried to find a use for them! Are snails useful to the garden in any way, shape or form?????

Well, in a hard shell …. no. They serve more of a purpose if you have a pond.

So with all methods of prevention failing, we only could respond hands on. Snails are more active at night, the air and temperature is cooler and they are more active and more so after or during rains [There we are Ribana, that’s why night time]. So with a flashlight in hand and a small container you set off on your snail ‘swah-RAY’ soiree!  I just didn’t fancy beer or sugar traps, because a tub ful of slime would just look too much like a tub filled with nose snot! I couldn’t squish them, although it would be most beneficial if you had a family of hedgehogs living in your garden, but for our quantities we would need at least a dozen of the spiky brutes working flat out, or at least a troop of 50 toads might do it also. Whilst we do have Maggies frequent the garden alongside some Jays and Thrushes, they are not usually around at night when we are out with our flashlights and are usually brilliant at clearing up the slow snails before they reach cover in the dawn!

Do snails serve a garden any purpose what so ever? At alllllllllll beyond a pond?? Yes and no. they do and they don’t, but mostly sadly … they bloody well don’t! But if you have a compost heap you could drop them from the garden into the heap as they WILL aid in the decomposition process. So tonight’s 35 gathered in 15 minutes have been dumped under the cover on our compost heap, there is enough in there to keep them occupied. But there is also toads and visiting hedgehogs and occasionally newts, and l do usually have visiting slow worms at this time of the year onwards and all eat snails and slugs!!

So as long as the snails don’t leave the compost heap we might be able to reach a compromise. However tonight l went out with my torch and my camera and took some photos for you. I don’t know about the quality of the images, but my flash is only so good…. but without further ado – here we go!

This would be an adventurous Strawberry plant Snail

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Whilst this one contemplates jumping across the gap to the Runner Beans bed, crafty hard shelled slug!

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This one is pretending to be a pebble!

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This one pretending to be minding his own business and yet, do you recognise that thing he is on? Yes it is one of the curb stones to the mound!!

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So the images that follow are in fact taken of the so called innocent bush. When l took the photos earlier this afternoon [well it was 5pm] not a single snail could be seen, however at midnight, a completely different story. All the snails in the pot in the last images were only taken off the lawn, but there must have been close to 200 snails in the bush! Mostly they will stay in the mound, but not always!

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Above 1 snail

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Everything that you think is a snail above is a snail! In the picture above there are 7 snails of all sizes!!

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Above are 8 snails!

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3 Snails

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3 snails

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Believe it or not in this image above there are actually 15 assorted sized snails although l think you’ll see only 7, the rest were just in the darkness, where you see the bits of yellow are the shells emerging into the night air.

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35 snails, tonights haul!

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Are we making a dent in our snail population? Yeah, by around perhaps 1% a night!! The innocent breeding bush is our biggest problem, l could spend an hour picking off snails of all sizes but as said if they remain on the bush and eat the bush our garden is safe as much as they are, but if they venture on the lawn, then we all have a problem!

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