by Candy Venni

Its taken years of thought and observation, thinking like a squirrel…to impart this knowledge so perk up your ears, put on your gloves and get yourself ready.

Spring is a sproingin’ and you’ll want to toss the crispy Christmas décor (if, like me you haven’t already done so)

 Time to refresh your porch urns, your containers and pots. Pansies & pussy Willow will soon be seen across the city but don’t forget perennials can add foliage interest which will withstand a few temperature drops.

 Remember that those fluffy tailed varmints, called ‘squirrels’ for short, can’t resist the smell of fresh earth.
I’ve found the best way to stop them digging up your plants in pots and urns is to press the earth down well, water deeply to disguise the smell (a sprinkle of blood or bonemeal doesn’t go amiss either) and then insert a number of chopsticks, broken in half around the edges inside the pot. You are essentially creating a pitched, no dig zone and those sticks will perform double duty; preventing porch pansy suicide, pinning the roots of your plants in nicely.

Yes, there is very small, quiet, annoying battle going on atop our porches and balconies, so protect your Petunias, guard your Geraniums, defend your Datura.

(and if you don’t want anyone to see your battle plans, use a little moss or mulch to hide the visual evidence)

Garden tulips under attack? Plant more, plant deeply, plant densely and add other varieties they don’t eat. Varieties such as Daffodils, Alliums, Fritillaria, Snowdrops, and Winter aconite have the added benefit of being early pollinator food.

 While complaining about squirrels is a national pastime, I hope you’ll remember that this is, truly, the most exciting time of the year in the gardening world. Enjoy the spring! Go wild, I mean it literally… go get some wildflowers (or seeds) and run with them. Skipping and scattering them haphazardly along Hamilton laneways and abandoned urban spaces! Buy that crazy plant you’ve always coveted; grow that thing you’ve always wondered about. Gardens are the slowest of the performing arts and have the power to create harmony in our lives so have fun and never mind the squirrels!