Gardener takes action against greedy rabbits in Colchester

Gazette: Fighting back against the bunnies Fighting back against the bunnies

AS a gardener, Steve Woods is used to overcoming challenges ranging from floods to droughts and storms to insects.
But Steve has a whole other problem in the grounds of the Old Rectory care home in Lexden - rabbits.
Over the years, he has planted out hundreds of plants, carefully grown from seed, only to have them decimated by the greedy bunnies within 24 hours.
After trying a range of unsuccessful deterrents, he is now trying a new eco-friendly idea - human hair.
Rabbits, allegedly, are deterred by the smell so Steve is giving it a go.
He said: “We have beautiful gardens here, really lovely grounds which are an acre large.
“It is really tucked away, you think you are in the countryside.
“I have worked here since November 2010 and the gardens were a bit forlorn then.
“We are trying to help them recover but we have a problem with some long-term tenants - the rabbits.
“We have put in different plants but whenever you do, the rabbits think it’s meal time.
“I grew more than 200 marigolds from seed and they made a lovely show in the beds.
“I spent a whole day planting them out. By the next day the rabbits had eaten the lot.
“I think they text their mates when I put a new load in.”
Steve got the garden prestine for the Colchester in Bloom competition - only for the rabbits to sabotage his entry.
He said: “I put the plants in a few days before; they cost about £300. Within 24 hours, the whole lot had gone.
“I got up at 5am the morning of the competition to put in what I had left but I was embarrassed.
“All my best stuff had been eaten by the rabbits.”
Mr Woods’ tactics to beat the bunnies have included sprinkling fragrant soap over the plants but it washed away in the rain.
The new suggestion came via Colchester in Bloom chairwoman Pam Schomberg.
She had been discussing Mr Woods’ dilemma with her hairdresser, Angela Mitchell, who runs Alter Ego hair salon in North Hill, Colchester.
Angela is from Minnesota in the US where hair is commonly used as a garden deterent.
She said: “Back home, we put hair around the plant and vegetable beds to keep the rabbits and deer out of the garden.
“We have collected about 15 rubbish sacks of hair from the salon and the smell from it makes the rabbits thinks humans are there.
“It is a friendly way of deterring them.”

Comments (3)

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9:42am Thu 21 Nov 13

Hamiltonandy says...

I remember innovative gardeners trying out lion dung to keep deer out. Extremely frustrating when lovingly cultivated seedlings get munched by greedy pests.
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I get great pleasure in crunching the invading snails and this year especially the slugs. Proper mesh fencing should keep rabbits out. If I fstill aced a rabbit invasion there would be lots of traps to permanently sort out the problem
I remember innovative gardeners trying out lion dung to keep deer out. Extremely frustrating when lovingly cultivated seedlings get munched by greedy pests. . I get great pleasure in crunching the invading snails and this year especially the slugs. Proper mesh fencing should keep rabbits out. If I fstill aced a rabbit invasion there would be lots of traps to permanently sort out the problem Hamiltonandy
  • Score: -1

12:24pm Thu 21 Nov 13

concernedrefuture says...

"If I still faced a rabbit invasion there would be lots of traps to permanently sort out the problem"

The problem with traps is that most are indiscriminate AND they need looking at twice a day. There is only one way to deal with rabbits and that is to ferret all the nearby sources and then erect a proper rabbit proof fence.
Of course 'lead poisoning' is an alternative and the result is delicious in a pie!
"If I still faced a rabbit invasion there would be lots of traps to permanently sort out the problem" The problem with traps is that most are indiscriminate AND they need looking at twice a day. There is only one way to deal with rabbits and that is to ferret all the nearby sources and then erect a proper rabbit proof fence. Of course 'lead poisoning' is an alternative and the result is delicious in a pie! concernedrefuture
  • Score: 0

4:13pm Thu 21 Nov 13

Hamiltonandy says...

Regretfully I am a rotten shot. Contrast that with my brother in law who is a such a good shot with his .22 pneumatic air rifle, even at dusk, that he rarely uses his shot gun.
Regretfully I am a rotten shot. Contrast that with my brother in law who is a such a good shot with his .22 pneumatic air rifle, even at dusk, that he rarely uses his shot gun. Hamiltonandy
  • Score: 0

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