Tough day in the garden today...

harmonypMarch 31, 2012

I'm used to the garden being the place where all my troubles go away. But today was a tough day. First, I have an area where the mid section is all roses, with holly hocks in the back for height. For the past 2 years, the holly hocks have to fight through being chewed to bits from snails - but they do finally make it through. Today I finally saw the snails!!! I was weeding and intermixed around the weeds at ground level were so many families of snails - all different sizes. Not knowing what to do, and refusing to put out anything poisonous - I proceeded to crush them with my hands. Every one I could find. ICK. Then I started wondering if they had little snail brains, and I was committing genocide on an intelligent species, and started feeling really guilty.

Then, I have learned patience with the roses. I have not shovel pruned a single one, and it seems I keep getting rewarded for either moving them, or just waiting on them. But those danged gardenias. I LOVE gardenias. I so want to grow them. I have had 3 veichii's, and last year bought a mystery and augusta for god only knows what reason. I have no idea why I waste my time - gardenias hate me, hate my climate, and hate my soil. And today - looking at a veichii that I've pampered for 3 years stareing pathetically back at me with its sparse, burned, chlorotic leaves - I yanked it out of the ground. So, another thing I killed today.

When the very needed rain subsides today, I think I need to go stare at the rose buds, and I'm sure I'll feel better.

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jerijen(Zone 10)

Are your conditions alkaline? Gardenias hate that.

I had this argument with a landscape architect, who was recommending gardenias (a whole row of 'em!) For a local historic site. I interrupted his annoying patter, and asked if had in mind some new gardenia that tolerated alkaline conditions.

He said: 'Oh, they don't grow here, either??'


For the snails, try SLUGGO. Non-toxic. kills snails. great stuff!


    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 3:43PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Oh, harmony, don't feel bad. Believe me the snail species will go on...and on...and on! They like to chew up my hollyhocks too. As for the gardenia, it was probably grateful to be put out of it's (and your) misery. Go talk to your roses and feel better!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 4:36PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

In my garden, hollyhocks (perennial kind) ate the roses.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 4:57PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I remember the license plate frame that read, "The worst day fishing is better than the best day working". Gardening is something like that, no?

I was told by a horticulturalist at Monrovia that the problem with Gardenias is not our soil or water, it is that the roots of Gardenias are very prone to all sorts of viral/fungal/bacterial problems, and that the thing to do is to buy a grafted one on a rootstock that is not vulnerable to that viral/fungal/bacterial stuff. Monrovia gardenias are grafted.

That may be completely marketing hype, or it may be true. Just something I heard. I've always been a bit curious to see if a grafted one would do. The horticulture guy has his planted in full sun in Fullerton, I believe, which gets quite hot in summer (though it is not the Mojave), and said they were thriving...

There is something you can be happy about: if you have lots of snails, it means you don't have rats.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 6:55PM
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Fellow snail hunter here: if you don't like crushing them (and who does?) a somewhat better solution is to bring out a plastic bag with you into the garden and once you fill it with as many snails as you can get tie it up tight and toss it into the trash. The trash company will crush them for you. You can also put them into the freezer for a bit which will make them hibernate first and then you don't have to worry that they might feel pain. However you do have to explain to everyone else in the house why there's a bag of snails in the freezer.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 8:24PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

Chickens will also cure your snail problem....and give you eggs in return.

Not so sure you will have roses with leaves in the chickens reach though...but still testing our chickens to see if roses are not on their menu.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 8:31PM
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alameda/zone 8

If they are the slimy snails, you can sprinkle salt on them. Kills them dead in no time. Have also heard you can put out a dish of beer for them - never tried that, am sure my dogs would lap it up and dont need drunk dogs.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 3:48AM
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Campanula UK Z8

oh harmony - i was an avid snail killer for years until one fateful day as I picked one up, about to toss it into the air and whack it with a cricket bat (yeah, I know, sadistic too) I swear I felt it fizz with life. Unfirtunately, since that day, I have been unable to cold-bloodedly kill another mollusc - I put them in pots and tenderly carry them to a local park.
By the way, sorry about hijacking Ken n gata's bodybags post but it is something I feel very strongly about - the damage that supermarkets are doing to ALL independent retailers.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 6:48AM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

When I was a child I had an uncle who always had little turtles in his garden to eat the snails, but his garden was a courtyard surrounded by walls so they couldn't get out. I think that's probably the most interesting snail control method I've seen. And a bottle of beer (with only the last sip or so) set on it's side in the garden will attract and kill slugs, possibly snails small enough to fit through the opening too.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 11:14AM
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altoraMA(5/6 MA)

I think that Diatomaceous Earth (sp?) takes care of slugs. And it's non-toxic.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 11:44AM
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The saucer of beer was just too gross, so I started circling susceptible plants with a halo of golden retriever hair (which we have in abundance, with 2 big males). Works for quite awhile before the rain beats it down.

A circle of sharp sand is said to work as well, their soft little bodies just can't navigate it.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 12:10PM
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flaurabunda(6a, Central IL)

Snails or slugs? While I find snails lovely with some garlic, butter, and wine sauce I haven't yet been able to stomach the thought of eating slugs.

Amazing how I can trick myself into thinking that one of them is a delicacy and the other is simply gross.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 10:03AM
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seil zone 6b MI

Escargot! It's all in the name, Flaura, lol!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 3:37PM
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