THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Mar23

Rabbits: Rabbit Proof Planting

One Way to Deal with Rabbits in the Garden

When planting new borders at Waltham Place, the wonderful gardener Henk Gerritsen did this to stop rabbits from eating the new plants…

“It is a well known fact that once a perennial plant border has established itself, it becomes far less appealing for grazing animals, as young plants are much tastier.

In order to protect the new plantings, it was decided to scatter large quantities of seed of fast growing biennials, such as hemlock and woolly burdock. The first plant is so poisonous no animal would dare eat it…”

 

Poisoning with hemlock? The way they disposed of Socrates? That is one novel way of dealing with rabbits!

 

What do Rabbits Eat?

 

As Henk says above, mature plants are off the menu – although we have regularly seen bark nibbled at the base of trees! Most of the green vegetables in your raised beds will go, as might your tulips. We read somewhere a rabbit is partial to plants from the rose family – whether that be trees or shrubs, so you may want to steer clear of those unless fencing them off. We know deer love nibbling in your garden during winter and early spring, so can imagine that is the same for rabbits – rabbits basically may end up eating anything that looks green, fresh and palatable.

 

What can we do about that? Keep reading below for the best suggestions for rabbit proof planting we can find…

 

Rabbit Proof Planting
If you don’t want to poison the rabbit population who are eating your plants (and we really don’t recommend planting hemlock in the garden) you can try some of this vegetation to make your borders a little less like a free buffet to the bucks and does with their floppy, cute ears…

 

Rabbit Resistant Shrubs:

 

  • Buddleja
  • Cornus
  • Cotoneaster
  • Dogwood
  • Escallonia
  • Euonymus
  • Ilex
  • Laurel
  • Laurus
  • Philadelphus
  • Pieris
  • Rosemary
  • Taxus

 
Perennials Rabbits May Not Eat:

  • Aconitum
  • Alchemilla
  • Bergenia
  • Crocosmia
  • Epimedium
  • Euphorbia
  • Ferns
  • Forget-me-not
  • Foxgloves
  • Hellebore
  • Hemerocallis
  • Iris
  • Libertia
  • Peony
  • Persicaria
  • Sedum
  • Trillium
  • Verbena

For a really great and far more comprehensive list, please try Spring Reach Nursery – rabbit proof plants.

Where does this leave us then?

Rabbit Proof Gardening

Members of the Iridaceae and Buttercup family are seemingly less tasty or poisonous, so you may want to fill your garden with them. If a plant is aromatic or exudes a milky sap, this may also help deter a rabbit. The list above proves there is still lots of great garden plants available to use, but we speak with this caveat – a rabbit may eat your plants even if they supposedly dislike it, because when hunger strikes…

The only 100% way to stop a rabbit eating the plants in your garden is to add a fence or get a border terrier. Or maybe try this Saluki?

 

Good luck defending your garden from rabbits!

Mar19

Wasting Water

Well worth a read in the BBC today – a note on how wasting water in the UK “as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby.” Read the report here. I have written a talk about how we use water in the  garden. It was written when I moved from Hampshire to Essex and found out for myself just how dry this area of the UK is. It completely changed the way I garden. The lack of such a precious resource as water made me question what we can do to save it, store it and …

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Mar14

The Foie Gras That Tastes Like Nature

Ethical Foie Gras? Is That A Real Thing?   Foie gras – can it be ‘grown’ ethically? The video showing how this farmer works suggests it can… We first read about this in a book called The Third Plate by Dan Barber. I loved it and I love how Eduardo the farmer, who farms on the Dehesa in Spain, has a ‘take half leave half rule’. When talking about how the geese eat his olives… “They’re always quite fair. If you make sure the geese are relaxed and happy, you’ll be rewarded with the gift of fatty livers. That is God’s …

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Mar04

Hardy Orchids Via James Wong

Hardy orchids – here is a subject I would love to know more about – so lo and behold, James Wong has written about it in the Guardian! Read the article about hardy orchids here. I love having orchids in the house, just your usual run of the mill buy them in any shop orchids, but it is a pleasure to read about the plants that will grow outside and cope with this weather. (This insane weather! From the hottest days of February on record to Storm Freya, all within a week. Weather is always such a factor in gardening, but …

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