May 13, 2006

Yes, but is it art?

Protecting lillies from squirelsWhat do you think of my low-budget garden art? Yes, I share your opinion. I don't think the gardening magazine people will be beating a path to my door any time soon.

The pop bottles are obviously there not for esthetics but for a practical purpose: protection from squirrels. Although lilies are notoriously toxic for cats, the adorable but frustrating tree rodents consider newly emerging shoots to be a gourmet treat. I learned this the hard way when I first moved into a squirrel-infested neighbourhood a number of years ago, and had all my lilies chewed off to soil level within three days of breaking ground. The next year I devised my pop bottle cloche technique and have only lost one in the intervening years. As soon as the lily emerges, I pop on one of these cloches (sorry, couldn't resist), and remove it when the lily plant is butting against the top of it. At this point, the squirrels will almost always leave them alone. The cloche is made by simply cutting off the bottom of a 2L bottle. It's important to remove the cap to allow for some air circulation.

Pop quiz question (I am on a roll today): why is the soil covered with large pine cones?


Anonymous said...

To add to the art.

Janet said...

The pine cones are actually there to keep cats out. Especially mine. She spends half her summer in the back yard, and tries to use the flower beds as a litter box every time I turn my back. Tightly packed pine cones are an effective way of keeping her and her feline friends out. They do have to be tightly packed though, or she'll pick her way through.

Kate said...

This is brilliant ... I would have guessed that you had put the pine cones there as a mulch. It's hard to outwit a cat ... and I think your cloches are great.