Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Lily Sod House Emptied
This morning found two red squirrels and two rabbits in the garden. Confronting a red squirrel is an interesting experience. Despite my tremendous size advantage, there is always a long moment when the squirrel gives me a chance to turn and run away. I really expect an attack at any time. Having logged thirty-four years teaching eighth graders, I am slow to run. So far it has been the squirrel that turned tail.
Two days ago a nipped lily was spotted in the sod house. Deer were incorrectly identified as the culprit and the entrance was blocked with wire cages. Today I spotted many more damaged stems. The slanted cut on the stem led me to incorrectly identify rabbits as the lily destroyers. I began to move the potted lilies out of their sod house.
The extent of the damage was quickly discovered. Long sought after Lovely Girls now had cut stems. When the Pandoras in the corner were pulled, a nest of stems fell into the hole. A large rodent tried to escape but fell into one of the holes left by a pulled pot. During the short time that the rodent remained trapped in the hole, I saw its beautiful gray fur and pointed snout. This nesting mother-to- be was the stem biter. Knowing that there is no match for a soon to be mother, I knew that all of the lilies had to be moved.
Many of these lilies will produce no flowers this year. They may regrow enough leaves to nourish the bulb for next year. In any event the expectation of lily flowers everywhere this summer has been dashed. Some stems remain intact so there is still a chance for some flowers.
It is unclear what future use the sod house will see. I thought that all of the sod regrowth was a neat plus. New roots would knit the blocks together making the walls stronger. Covered passageways were also created. When that rodent pulled itself up out of the pot hole, it disappeared from sight as soon as it got behind the grass curtain.
The basic concept of a massive heat retaining structure to shade the lilies delaying their emergence and then providing warmth on frosty nights is sound. This lily house did protect its occupants well on several bitter cold nights. Perhaps a dry stone wall, well filled with sand, will solve the rodent problem.