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!

Feb22

Guanock House – Trainee Topiary Artist Needed

guanock 1

Guanock House needs a trainee topiary artist! Some of you may know it as the first home and garden of designer Arne Maynard, but is now owned and maintained by Michael Coleman and his wife Michelle. They offer meditation workshops and retreats there and it is as beautiful a house and garden as you could wish to visit. They called me in last Autumn to help shape up some of the topiary as it was all getting out of hand, but what it really needs is someone with a steady hand and lots of patience to take over the clipping …

READ MORE

Feb09

Topiary In The Snow

Here are some photos of work I have been doing at the garden of Charlotte Molesworth in Kent. Snow and ice brings out the depth of the different planes and angles carved into the boxwood. A garden has to look beautiful in winter – and topiary (green architecture)  helps do that! For more topiary pictures, click here.

Feb05

New Talk: How To Use Topiary In The Garden

topiary cold

How To Use Topiary In The Garden is my new talk, which I first gave last year via Zoom for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society. Returning to Zoom again, there are two dates available to see and hear the talk: March 16th – Book your ticket here April 6th – Book your ticket here The talk is great fun, perfect for keen gardeners or people who want to know how to improve their garden with hedges and architectural plants. How To Use Topiary In The Garden looks at how to move away from the idea topiary is twee or old-fashioned, …

READ MORE