For the past few years I haven’t seen too much evidence of my arch-enemy, the rabbit, in the garden. There was a time when, the moment a green shoot dared to show its head above ground, this voracious marauder would devour it without as much as a “thank-you.”
But looking out of the window this morning I saw not one but two of the furry little felons, furtively lurking about among the tulips, no doubt with the intention of robbing me of what little greenery has so far managed to emerge from its winter sleep.
Evidently the local coyote, fox, cat or whatever member of the animal kingdom that has kept these interlopers at bay for so long has fallen down on his job and the rabbits have moved back in. And where two reside can more be far behind?
As I approached, the larger of the two sat up on his haunches and greeted me, his nose twitching.
“Hello. Nice weather we’ve been having.”
“Hello,” I responded, the wind rather taken out of my sails. “Haven’t seen much of you lately. Where’ve you been?”
“Over on the other side of town. Me and the Mrs found a nice little bijou residence up by ‘The Frog & Trumpet,’ the one with roses round the door and a wisteria half way up the chimney.” The rabbit turned his head and nibbled at a nearby leaf. (I’d never put the missing oriental poppies down to him before but now I’d caught him red-handed, so to speak.)
“Oh yes?” For some unaccountable reason I felt slighted. I knew the place to which he was referring and it wasn’t small by any stretch of the imagination. It was a garden that could easily have featured in a glossy magazine and possibly had.
“And what have they got that I haven’t, apart from a Mercedes, a boat and a few prize-winning dahlias?”
“Lettuces like you wouldn’t believe! And carrot tops as big as trees!” his better half interjected excitedly.
Mrs Rabbit, her enthusiasm quelled, moved off and began digging a hole under the Russian sage.
“So why have you come back here?” I asked.
“Missed the weeds,” he replied laconically, scratching behind his ear. “You know how it is. Too much of a good thing and you get sick and tired of it. Besides, they’re digging up the rockery. Putting in a pool. So, needing some temporary accommodation, we thought well….. the old place wasn’t so bad. You do a nice selection of lilies here and these poppies aren’t half bad either.”