Experiments in the search for peaceful coexistence

Not long ago, I took a walk through my garden in the not-terribly-early morning and came across a couple of possums.

possum profile

VP wondered whether they might do as much damage in a garden as badgers do in the UK. I thought perhaps not, based on my limited observation of a couple of shallow holes in the mulch of one bed.

I am rethinking my position.

possum hole 3

I am trying to round out the planting of my rain garden, and my mother generously dropped off a few hosta transplants–basketball-sized clumps of what I expect is ‘Sum and Substance.’ I planted one at the base of the middle Osmanthus and intermixed it with daffodil and Hyacinthoides hispanica bulbs. I tucked it in and watered well.

Two days later, on a stroll through the garden I spied a hole so huge I thought, “Surely I wouldn’t have been so absent-minded as to leave the hosta only half-planted.” No, I was not, and I did not. This is the work of marauding wildlife.

Mr. Possum, consider yourself a person of interest in this case.

possum hole depth

This is not inconsequential work, and while I’m willing to tolerate small holes here and there for the sake of being a human who tries to live peacefully among all creatures (more or less), I can’t have holes of this size turning up everywhere. Someone will sprain an ankle. (The varmints also unearthed a smaller hosta transplant, leaving it fully intact.)

Because the plant roots don’t look munched, I believe they are going after moles. I know I have moles; I have seen their tunnels puffing up the ground. Now that I’ve made my soil so delectably fluffy and full of earthworms, the moles have confused my garden with a Denny’s all-you-can-eat special. I see where all this is headed.

possum hole 1

I’m not the sort of person who would cope well with traps (either for moles or for possums). My present objective is to rid the garden of moles, and hope that the possums will look elsewhere for their snacks. I did a bit of searching online and found a home-remedy formula for a mole repellant that mixes castor oil and dish soap diluted with water.  Of course, one can easily find as many people who say such a method doesn’t work as will say it does. I am giving it a go; the castor oil only cost me about $1.50 and we can see what becomes of it.