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!

Sep29

New Topiary In South London Out Of Yew

Making a new topiary out of the large, dull facade of a Taxus blob… My work was to change it up from a ‘jelly drop’ shape and give it texture, open it out and let the light through, and make it a sculptural feature in the background of the garden in summer… yet a major part of the garden in winter. A few more years before it becomes something special, but there was far more leaf and growth inside the plant than I thought and so it will not take too long for it to gain in character and become …

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Sep27

Topiary Teacher – Put on The Spot!

topiary teacher

Two weeks ago I was invited to teach topiary at the garden of Griselda Kerr, the author of The Apprehensive Gardener. I love teaching and sharing skills, but I was placed on the spot in the afternoon and asked to show how I would make a new topiary from an existing shrub. So below is a speeded-up video of me creating a cloud-pruned topiary from an old boxwood tree. I particularly love the ending when the class get involved….! See the video here. One hour was all it took, and though it needed a little tidying-up, it was made by …

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Sep27

Book Yourself A Topiary Workshop 2022

organic topiary snow

Charlotte Molesworth, my topiary mentor, and I are running our popular topiary workshop again in 2022. You can email me for details – or go here for information, your ticket and to find out about dates. Book A Spot On A Topiary Workshop, September 2022