OK, Slugs. Do I have to buy a BB gun?

New garden and home. Lots of hope for a new life. So slugs, when are you going to let something grow? I know it’s wet, but the ravages at the moment are destroying basil in the greenhouse, dahlias, and my second lot of runner beans. Torches, slug collections, copper tape, collars smeared in vaseline, nothing seems to work. I’m sure I can’t be the only one. So I’m frustrated enough to have remarked, while buying a white Agapanthus, that I was off to buy a BB gun. Do you blame me? Only joking of course, but really, wildlife should leave my runners alone. They can nibble at other things, but I need to eat, too!

Container with bee friendly plants. Marguerite, lobelia and verbena (still in bud)

Soooo, I’ve relented and used a FEW slug pellets in the greenhouse where I can gleefully collect dead bodies before hedgehogs get anywhere near them. Thankfully I’ve found frogs and toads in the garden, but even they couldn’t manage the slug I found earlier this week. It had a body the size of a mouse!

On the plus side, I’ve now got tomatoes ripening  and peppers growing quite strongly inside the greenhouse. I also had room for a couple of courgette plants in a grow bag, so I’ve kept them in there this year. Normally I’d expect to have them outside, but the weather or slugs would prevent a decent crop and I’m taking no chances.

Sweet Williams and Snapdragons in the new border

Containers on the patio are now starting to flower, I’ve had visits from bees and the new border is beginning to come to life. So despite the slugs, some progress is being made. We have three rain barrels up and running (overflowing this summer) so there’s been no need to run the tap for the greenhouse and I don’t have to carry heavy cans down to it. My partner did a nifty connection to the greenhouse barrel, as we couldn’t source the correct connection. He siliconed into the gutter a pipe which is fashioned to feed the water straight into the barrel, and overnight it was half full.

Herbs are doing well, too. I can now make a full bouquet garni fresh whenever I want one. Parsley, sage rosemary, thyme and bay are all growing strongly. Too tasty and astringent for slugs! I’ve added some wildflowers and good bee plants to the borders, including Jacob’s Ladder, doronicum and Welsh poppies. The bees seem to like the tiny flowers of my dark purple heuchera and the large-flowered blue clematis, too! I’ve spotted white-tailed bumble bees, honey bees, buff tailed bumblebees and a couple of other species I don’t know the names of. This summer, I’m glad to see them at all. Naturally, there haven’t been many butterflies around, but when I have seen any, they’ve been small common blues, a cabbage white and a fritillary. Birds have been grateful for feeding them, and have made extensive use of the food I put out, especially when the rain has been heavy.

Newly planted alpine trough

It’s not all about conservation. I’ve also been renovating my alpine sinks. I’ve turned old Belfast sinks and polystyrene boxes into troughs for them, as I’ve always adored them. Now I have space for more! There have to be some things in this garden that are just purely for pleasure, and these are one of my indulgencies. What do you indulge yourself with in the garden?

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