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!

May10

Transforming Topiary

topiary transforming

Transforming Topiary – a video made for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society by Charlotte Molesworth and I, in her garden. We take a dog topiary and work out how to update it, turning it into a bird. Worth a watch I think, and hopefully useful to you! You can see more of my clipping on the topiary page. Or read my Spring 2021 Topiary Provocation here.

Apr28

Phillyrea From 1682

Worlidge Phillyrea

Phillyrea is one of my favourite plants for topiary. I have been using it for quite a few years as a specimen shrub, mostly due to the fact it clips well and has a tough habit – all good characteristics for a topiary plant. It also has a  reputation for being an excellent nectar source for bees… Read more about Phillyrea here. Mentioning this to Malcolm Thicke, a market garden historian and writer, he sent me a some photos of topiary and phillyrea mentioned by John Worlidge in Systema Horticulturae from 1682…. incredible! He also mentioned to me that in …

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Apr27

Kites And Strings Podcast – Topiary In The Garden

kites and strings podcast

Kites and Strings is a podcast about creativity, hosted by US-based Stephen Ploum and Catherine Chinnock. Back in March they asked me to come onto their podcast and talk about topiary, my past writing plays, the stand-up I did and how creativity can fit into your life. The Kites and Strings podcast was great fun and Stephen and Catherine are fantastic hosts. Listening back today I am surprised by some of the ideas I talked about (somehow I even started to describe a future where I run a ‘School of Creativity’ by the sea…. where did that come from?!) but it …

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