elephants and other pests in gardens

John Grimshaw j.grimshaw@virgin.net
Thu, 22 Dec 2005 10:36:45 PST
As some of you will be aware, in a former existence I lived in Tanzania, in
a small house in the forest on Kilimanjaro. Large mammals were all around,
and my garden was raided by both elephants and African buffaloes. Both are
easily scared off with a shoo, but the result of a visitation is not pretty.
As I have recorded elsewhere, on one visit from a herd of buffalo about the
only untouched plants were clumps of Narcissus tazetta.

While on a visit home at that time, I was at a friend's snowdrop lunch and
doing the tour of the garden. Conversation turned to the damage done by
muntjac deer (a dog-sized beast now thoroughly naturalised southern England,
causing a lot of damage to woodland and gardens). Several people were
bemoaning their presence and activities, so I said quietly 'I had an
elephant in my garden last week.' The happiest memory is of an elderly
gentleman enquiring "Did you say an elephant...?"

Incidentally, I had no difficulties with rodents in that garden, although
there was an infinite variety of them. This was probably because I had two
cats and an eagle owl.

Here, also surrounded by woodland and fields, we are bothered by just about
every species of wildlife in the book, but there is little we can
realistically do about it, beyond protective cages for newly planted trees,
fencing to minimise badger incursions, and an occasional shot. We do poison
squirrels in spring, but I heard a salutary tale today in which a much-loved
dog had got to some squirrel bait and had very nearly died, so one really
does have to be very careful about using such things.

John Grimshaw

Dr John M. Grimshaw
Garden Manager, Colesbourne Gardens

Sycamore Cottage
Nr Cheltenham
Gloucestershire GL53 9NP

Website: http://www.colesbournegardens.org.uk/

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