“That’s it! I’ve just about had it up to here with you mangy, flea-bitten marauders!”
With these few well-chosen words the annual gardener-versus-rabbit war begins anew. You may have read earlier posts regarding my love-hate relationship with the local rabbits in which case you will not be surprised to learn of this resumption of hostilities between self and those burglarious bunnies.
Some of my favorite flowers are gladiolas and earlier this spring I had strategically planted a couple of dozen corms, spreading them around the flower beds in the hopes that at least some of them would escape the notice of any passing rabbit. Hah! What was I thinking! Nothing gets past those furry felons.
They had already nibbled my oriental lilies down to the nubs and as I gazed out of the window the other morning I was horrified yet somehow not surprised to see that every one of the so-recently up-thrusting gladiola shoots had been reduced to the tattered remnants of half-eaten leaves.
The culprit eyed me boldly as I burst out of the front door and strode down the path towards it. As I’ve mentioned before, these rabbits have no fear, or shame for that matter, and this one stood his ground as I approached muttering dark oaths. When I got to within a few feet of it I stopped, arms akimbo.
“Well? What have you got to say for yourself?”
The rabbit, who had just finished rolling in a patch of newly-sown grass seed, twisted itself at an impossible angle and fastidiously dislodged some of the tender young blades of grass that had clung to its back.
“Morning, sunbeam,” it replied as it righted itself, its carefree affability aimed at disarming me from the get-go, but I wasn’t having any of it. I wasn’t falling for that old soft soap this time!
“My gladiolas!” I pointed an accusatory finger at the remaining shreds.
“Yes. Very nice….” The rabbit paused to give a slight cough, clearing a hair, or was it a hare, from its throat. “Much better than last year’s.”
“I didn’t plant any last year,” I riposted, feeling that I’d outscored him with that one.
“True, but her down the road, the one with the statue of a kid peeing into her koi pool – very classy I don’t think – had some glads that made us sick for a week.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. I hate to see an animal suffer,” I commiserated.
“Well, you know how it is,” he said scratching at some hidden irritation. “I told the Mrs, ‘You can’t beat the stuff down at number 22,’ but she would insist. Gave me the trots like you wouldn’t believe and her fur fell out something awful.”
“Good Lord! Let’s hope nothing like that happens here. I try not to use any harmful pesticides,” I added, somewhat self-righteously.
“And we certainly appreciate it,” the rabbit replied, hopping over to the one surviving gladiola shoot and devouring it with evident satisfaction. “It’s a pleasure to eat here, really.”
“Oh, I say! Thank you. That’s very nice of you!”
“No problem. It’s a treat to get some decent grub. We can always rely on you to provide a good blow-out.”
“Oh, well…. anytime,” I said, retreating back down the path. “Always happy to oblige.”
Back inside I lifted the curtain and watched as the rabbit moved on to some freshly sprouting dahlias.