Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sunshine, showers, snails and slugs

I keep forgetting that, when I post pictures, they come up in reverse order. I meant to start with the bottom one - simply to remind myself that the sun sometimes shines. Because this week, the weather hasn't been good: it's really quite cold (and it's nearly June!) and there's been a lot of rain. And I really really don't want rain tomorrow, because it's an Edinburgh holiday and I'm desperate to get all my summer bedding plants in before I have to vanish beneath a pile of marking.

Anyway, all these photos were taken in my little garden a few days ago. The one above shows a yellow trollius - it's brighter than it looks here - against a purple-leaved berberis. I pruned the berberis severely at the beginning of spring - it's normally a bit bigger than this - but I love the contrast between the dark red and the yellow - and the bright red tulips look good there too, I think. I also enjoy the various shapes and colours of the other herbaceous plant leaves - delphinium behind, geranium to the left, paeony to the right.

I didn't mean to put this one in as well; I meant to put it in instead. But my blogging talents don't stretch to deleting, and Daughter 1 is in the bath. However, the colours look different in the sunshine, don't they?
Looking down the garden: a clematis scrambling over a standard contoneaster. Note the pink grass in the foreground: cherry blossom.
And at the bottom of the garden, another clematis climbing up the... well, we in Scotland would call this a sitooterie. That is, something to sit oot (out) in. I suppose you could call it an arbour.

Gina commented the other day about my friend's nasty habit of cutting the heads off snails. I could never do this myself, because I'm much too squeamish. It's an interesting philosophical point, though: at what point do creatures lose their right (in our view) to life? Snails are actually rather cute, but how about slugs? Come to that, chickens, sheep, cows? Fish? I'm a longtime vegetarian myself, and don't eat any of these, because I think it must be terrible for them to be slaughtered, but I'm afraid I don't feel a huge amount of sympathy - though a bit - with slugs, greenfly, wasps... . And I have to admit that I do wear leather shoes, so can't claim the moral high ground.


  1. Guess I was a bit over the top, but there is a middle line. I put snail bait out last week because the wretched creatures were chewing our newly planted pansies. But while I was spreading the bait around the plants, I was worrying about how long it would take the snails to die, and did they suffer much. Then I started worrying about the birds who live on snails and slugs, and wondering if the bait would kill them too. Not to mention the dog and cat if they happened to lick some up...where does one start and stop? Well, as I said, for me the buck stops with what I see as deliberate cruelty.

  2. But my friend was just defending her hostas - not being wilfully cruel. (She says that snail bait makes for a slow death, whereas they don't know anything about suddenly becoming headless. I still couldn't do it, though. Too ugh. Also I don't do the snail bait thing because I worry about birds and hedgehogs eating the snails afterwards. Ah, problems, problems...).

  3. Hi Isabelle! Thanks for visiting! I LOVE the photos of your beautiful flowers (you've seen MY backyard!). A couple of years ago we were living in New Zealand and had the most gorgeous lilacs. I will never forget that perfume!

  4. Ewww....slugs. Your flowers all look beautiful! I'm dying to get out and plant some in our yard. We just moved last summer and the people who lived here before us apparently adored hostas and daylilies, but not much else!