Exotic Gardening with Rare and Strange Plants

critters and animals

The other night while doing a long overdue fertilize of the garden, I found this little guy. While I know we’re supposed to be mortal enemies, snails and gardeners are rarely friends, I took a moment to get better aquainted. I plucked him off of my African Bulbine and placed him on the patio table. Within moment’s he relaxed, poked his head outside of his shell and became quite inquisitive. While I snapped photos he seemed intrigued in the large lens of my camera. Feeling a new-found connection with this gastropod I went and grabbed him a fresh leaf of lettuce. Without any hesitation at all he began to feast, and I filmed away. While I admit I’ve been upset in the past by slug/snail damage, a closer investigation reveals a gentle creature indeed. I find the odd slug but this is definetly the first snail I’ve found, and I haven’t spotted one this big since I was a kid. After the photoshoot, the light of the day had faded and not having the heart to destroy and/or relocate him I place him amongst a patch of sagina moss. I figure we’ve got an understanding now and he’ll stay away from the prized specimens, it’s not like their is a shortage of greenery in the back anyways. I’d like to see him again, so off he went, another nature moment in an urban garden.

I know what you’re thinking. “This is what I do on a Thursday night?”. I need to get a life… :)

Overtime Season: Day 7 – Two 11 hr shifts in a row, No. Big. Deal.

I know slugs are supposed to be a gardeners worst enemy, but they’ve never bothered me much. Slugs are the least of our pest problems at the greenhouse, and I rarely see damage caused by these small mollusk visitors. I do on occasion find them sleeping under flats, eying up tasty foliage or otherwise looming about. Still their impact on our crops is minimal and given the chance I try to relocate them to somewhere safe and out of the way. It doesn’t seem fair to squish them on sight, most of the time they’re lounging about looking quite relaxed. Here’s is what I believe to be a European black slug lounging about a sisyrinchium leaf. He doesn’t look so mean does he?


Overtime Season: Day 6So many fuschia baskets! WHEW!

As spring comes into season more everyday I begin to notice the wildlife in my backyard increase. Over the years my urban oasis seems to have become a place of refuge for local critters looking to enjoy a safe place to snack . There is a small flock of birds that lives in the tree next to my house & squirrels regularly pop by to eat the remains of their fallen lunch. Butterflies and hummingbirds, leaf cutter bees and field mice regularly saunter about the back yard, as if it were their grotto and not mine. With the mice, come the stray cats and there is a little calico that has taken up almost permanent residence where the mice are plentiful. There is the odd set of crows that swoop about and compete with the sea gulls, for any stray snacks we might have forgotten on a beered out BBQ. Where there is a garden, there is life, even in the middle of the city. I suppose there is something about the greenery that puts the animals at ease and makes them feel at home.

While re potting my Primula obconica I found this half asleep wasp sitting amongst the flowers. He was so docile that he let me pick him up on a butter knife and snap a couple photographs. After his photo shoot, he buzzed off into the garden.

I have 2 gray squirrels that live within a block of my house and they scamper  about and do whatever they like. Jumping from limb to limb in a nearby maple tree, they dig up tulip bulbs, snack on seeds and nuts, and hiss at my roommates dog. While they’re kind of pests at times, they’re also pretty cute, you just have to know how to deal with them.

I know as a gardener I’m instinctually supposed to hate slugs but I don’t. It’s no secret that plants are their favorite snack. Slugs roam ravenous and chlorophyll hungry these little gastropods can be a real nuisance. Still in moments of discovery I more often then not relocate then smoosh. I’d sooner spray a colony of aphids then hurt these rather peaceful creatures.

Last night as I was doing my daily rounds when I noticed this little guy taking recreation in one of my pregnant onion pots. I suppose he was taking a snooze, or hiding from the giant overlooking him either way he blending right into the soil, only making himself known by a trail of slime.  After taking a closer look and admiring his clever camouflage I picked him up and placed him on this pathos cutting for a photoshoot. I don’t know if it was the smell of fresh green leaf, or the friendly vibe I emitted but he perked right up and let me take a couple snap shots. After he was done, I place him outside and he was on his way, probably to raise a small family and devour someone’s poor cabbage patch.

I know lots of you want to give this guy the salt treatment, but check him out, he’s pretty cute!
Save a slug today!

Mr Nat. Gardener, Plant Nerd
Tips and tales about gardening in one of the most mild climates in Canada. Specializing in rare and strange plants from far out destinations, this is the story of an obsessed young gardener in Victoria B.C. Let's create more tropical gardens in the garden city on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.
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