Monday, October 11

Containers, pansies and slugs.

I wanted to plant up the containers in the garden so we would have a bit of colour over winter and early spring so I visited a local nursery. They always have a good display of pansies at this time of year and I wasn't disappointed. The good thing about this nursery is that the pansies are a good size and planted in individual pots which means that you can choose exactly which plants you want and get a good colour range. Often pansies are sold in a mixed tray and you just have to buy a tray regardless of whether most of the flowers are the same colour.
I also bought some muscari or grape hyacinth bulbs to plant amongst them.
The pansies and bulbs had to wait patiently for a suitable planting day which arrived last week. After clearing the containers of nemesia and scrapping off some of the old compost and topping up with new I set to planting. Last year the pansies were badly nibbled by slugs so I am trying to give them some protection this year. Firstly I have wrapped some copper tape around the terracotta pots. I know that some people say that this doesn't deter slugs but we have seen them avoiding it so it must help.
The tape wasn't really suitable for our wooden trough though. Last year we bought some granite granules which is supposed to be a natural deterrent.  We never got round to using them so I put some of these on top of the compost as a mulch. It looks quite decorative.
My sister is trying a novel way of protecting the pansies in her containers - she's mulched with poodle wool. Fortunately this is black and so doesn't stand out. I guess any type of measure won't be foolproof as slugs are determined creatures but you still have to try don't you?

We found the moat method that we used in the cold frame to be successfiul for trays of seedlings and young plants but this would look a bit silly used on containers in the garden. So have you found any slug-wars methods that work really well?

My October diary has been started here if you are interested.

We have also set up a new weather diary here which contains some of the information from Martyn's weather blog.


  1. Salt works...if you sprinkle some around the edges of your containers...problem is it does heed topping up.....I don't really know...some toads and hedgehogs in the garden maybe??? Feed the birds and attract them too????

    K maybe some of those ideas are a little extreme...I hope your copper tape and granite work!!

  2. Does salt harm the plants? I know vaseline can also be a deterrent but it is a bit messy. The frogs, toads and hedgehogs have been good allies over spring, summer but they'll soon be hibernating.

    We do feed the birds and I think some have made meals of snails and maybe slugs as we have found smashed snail shells.

  3. I love the idea of poodle wool- does your sister have a ready supply or does she get from somewhere - is there a bald poodle at the end this story!
    The muscari are a fabulous colour- look forward to seeing them in the spring.

  4. A little trick to keep salt from getting to the plants or falling with the rain.

    Put some white glue all along the trim of the planter and then add the salt on top,the white glue dries and becomes transparent so it wont look messy.

    When it's dry with the salt the trim will look like a glass with ice on the border. You can make patterns to make it more interesting.

    If you get a mild glue, when you get tired of it you can just peel it off and the pot will not have any residues.

    Just remember to put enough salt so the glue doesn't cover it or nullify the effect.

    Also, your pansies look beautiful with the rock mulch

  5. I'll be interested to know if the poodle wool works. Slugs are such a problem but I don't think any measure works 100%. I keep hearing about bran being used as a slug deterrent. Apparently the slugs eat the bran which then swells up inside them so much that the slug explodes. Talk about getting your own back.

  6. You're right about the nothing being 100% effective Jo - it's just a case of trying to keep on top of things isn't it? Exploding slugs Yuk! I'll update on the poodle wool. At least the pansies are snug and warm in their woollen duvet!

  7. Ahh the enemy!!! Darn them all. I'd be very interested in hearing about the results of all your different methods and the poddle hair too! I'm afraid we just liberally apply organic slug pellets so no helpful tips from me x

  8. I put down plenty of beer traps in the garden, and go out with a blow torch and light after 10 p.m., don't worry about the morning after the birds love the ready cooked treats too, scatter a few slug pellets for extra measure. Do this early in the season, you won't have to worry about the rest. Works for me!

  9. Hi, thanks for dropping by my blog and for the link to your website. It did give me inspiration and hope that one day my allotment could look as good as yours and be as productive!

  10. We may just end up with woolly slugs Carrie.

    A bit violent aren't you Craig - so do the birds still fly straight after dining on slugs in ale?

    Hi Fran - glad it was of interest - you'll get there

  11. I've not tried a blow torch, there's an idea. But the beer traps do the job, I have a few dotted around the greenhouse. Having neighbours with ponds full of frogs also helps.

  12. Bet you don't use your home brew! Frogs do help but will be absent over winter.


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