Rats With Tails? Not in My Yard!

Anyone who knows me knows that I refer to myself as “friend to all wildlife.” I do it in conversation, I’ve talked about it here, even with the deer were ravaging the vegetable garden (by the way, the “Deerstopper” tape seems to be keeping them at bay–I do currently have nice pole beans and some green tomatoes), and I do it in all my lectures.

When folks refer to squirrels as “rats with tails” I will often say that I find them far more clever than I am. After all, they are mammals just like we are so they are warm blooded. And if I had to find a way to stay warm and find food outdoors in my climate in the winter, I wouldn’t last 3 days–if I’d last that long!

So I have a great respect for the critters that come romping through my backyard, even as they are ravaging it. That’s why I was so pleased to find that I wasn’t the only nutty gardener on the planet and that someone else shared my sentiments.

Last week or so, Michele Owens, one of the “Ranters” of Garden Rant, posted about squirrels, calling them the “Assistants.” You can read her post, which is quite clever, here.

The upshot of her post was that squirrels had planted many things in her yard for her. And while it wasn’t necessarily all to her design taste, she liked it.

I feel the same way. And I’m blessed to have a number of “wildlife designers.”

Chipmunks eat my alpine strawberries and plant them in cracks and crevices I could never get to with any tool. So creative!

Ants, one of the most useful of the garden designers, have filled my lawn with grape hyacinths (muscari). When the bulbs goes to seed (because who deadheads grape hyacinths–with the minor bulbs it is actually discouraged) the ants actually transport those seeds some distance. They will take them down into their ant hills and the next year I’ll have grape hyacinths–or snowdrops–or scilla–in a spot where I hadn’t planted it.

Squirrels seem to be the least creative wildlife designers in my yard–perhaps because of the deer problem. But that’s okay. They can stay anyway.

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