I may or may not have mentioned this in the past but I am waging a war against the slugs in the garden. The first shots were fired back in the springtime when I noticed that the Daffodils were going MIA. Stupidly, I assumed that the deer I see around the house from time to time were to blame.
“Or maybe it was a badger?” I remember asking Waffle one morning when I noticed more of the yellow flowers had disappeared. “Do badgers eat Daffodils?”
I still don’t know if a brock is partial to Narcissus but I know what is: Slugs.
Some days later, me and the Waff were outside enjoying the comfort of a fiery sunset when I happened to glance at the remnants of the Daffodil patch.
“What the actual…”
Each of the few remaining flower heads had a gang of black, slimy buggers slithering all over them. I counted 17 – SEVENTEEN – on one flower alone.
And Jesus wept.
Remembering that Waffle had recently chewed up a swingball bat, I set off in search of the impromptu weapon. Moments later, I was back at the slugfest laying into the shell-less, terrestrial gastropod molluscs like a man possessed. Had anyone deigned to amble past at that moment, they might have considered me under the influence of more than shandy. I was, admittedly, mentally addled because by the time I’d finished, there were neither slugs nor flowers left in the once vibrant Daffodil patch.
Did you know that the collective noun for a gang of slugs is a ‘cornucopia’. It is. However, I feel that this term is wholly inadequate. Perhaps a better suited noun is ‘a hatefulness.’ Or better still, ‘a nightmare’. Actually, no. From now on I will only refer to ‘an arse’ of slugs.
Anyway, in the days following the Daffodil massacre, I sought a goodly supply of slug pellets. The Daffodils had been annihilated but I was dang sure the arse of black, slimy buggers weren’t going to munch on my wildflowers.
At some point in early April, when I had adjudged there wouldn’t be any more nights of frost, I raked up a patch of ground under the Alders out front of the house. Onto this soil, I sprinkled a whole box – a cornflakes box sized box – of wildflower seeds. These were raked in and watered and I sat back and waited.
I didn’t know what was coming but even as a novice gardener who can hardly grow grass I was sure of two things: a). A whole box of wildflower seeds would at least throw up a couple of flowers and b). The slugs weren’t going to dine out on my generosity.
In the weeks that followed, me and the Waff guarded that patch of cool ground underneath the Alders like it was an egg. It was fretted over, guarded and analysed (Waffle was even so good as to NOT water it) and every morning I checked to see if there would be any new shoots.
April came and went and just when I was about to give up on the stupid cornflakes box sized box of useless seeds, the first greener-than-green shoot broke through.
“Hallelujah – praise the Lord!” I informed Waffle whose wide-eyed visage seemed to agree with my declaration.
From that moment onwards, the patch of cool ground underneath the Alders was under martial law. Slug pellets were deployed on a regular basis, coffee grounds were scattered along the perimeter and most disgustingly of all, I embarked on night-time raids to catch any marauding arse (of slugs).
It turned out that there were a great many casualties of this war, although Waffle and I thankfully completed our tour of duty without injury (even when the former forgot himself and cocked his leg on a leafy green stem one Sunday morning. ‘Hallelujah’ was not the word uttered on that particular Sabbath, I can tell you that for nothing).
All in all though, the waging of the war had swung firmly in our favour and the slugs were in retreat. And then the flowers started disappearing again.
I knew this to be the case because, as is the way with this wildflower garden, the flowers are blooming at different times.
Most of the time, I don’t know what individual flowers are called but some weeks ago a magnificent red Poppy appeared – I could recognise that much at least. After admiring the flower’s delicate, red majesty, I returned the following day for another bout of admiration. But it had gone.
“Lieutenant Waffle. Bring out the big guns.”
More slug pellets were deployed, I started drinking coffee again around the clock and the night-time raids resumed. But the best of if was: I couldn’t find a single slug, never mind an arse (of slugs).
“Hmmmm. Curious and curiouser. My flowers are disappearing. But I can’t find any slugs. I wonder who it could be.”
You can probably guess where this is going, dear reader and yes, that guess would be correct. And here was me – the fool – thinking that he was only going out for a widdle in the evenings.
The flower in the photo lasted for only one day. The very day I saw that it had erupted in paper-thin pinkness, I took that picture so I could send it to Herself. It was mere blind luck that Hisself is also in the pic.
The evening that the flower appeared, I was abroad once more, enjoying the comfort of another fiery sunset and then it happened. He didn’t even have the decency to wait for the unobtrusive cover of nightfall although to be honest, I was glad it worked out the way it did. At least now I know.
Seemingly uninterested walking past the bloom, Waffle plucked the flower from its stem in one fluid bite and then continued on his way, like the shoplifter he is.
Mentally slapping my forehead with the palm of my hand, I immediately set off in hot pursuit.
Did you know that the collective noun for a group of dogs is a pack?
A quare pack. Although I’m pretty sure I could think of something more suiting.
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