I accept that I have created a rod for my own back...
I'm really passionate about wildlife gardening and do everything I can to attract furry, feathered and amphibious visitors; however, there are some parts of the garden that I'd prefer they left alone.
There is nothing more disheartening than waking up in the morning to find that the squirrels have dug up your freshly planted annuals in search of nuts. Or that a passing family of badgers have turned your newly laid lawn into a rugby pitch in their quest for earthworms. I've even seen blackbirds enthusiastically nosing through trays of delicate new seedlings. Here are some of the ways I've found to protect some of the more delicate parts of my garden from the rampaging of the local fauna.
I have a wide variety of beautiful cloches, predominantly bought from Crocus or Rowen & Wren, which create a design feature while protecting my pots and new planting.
This cloche from Crocus stays in position year round protecting a selection of mini hostas in pots which I display on a reclaimed sewing machine table. It deters both squirrels and slugs.
It's great for protecting pots on a patio or hard surface. Note also the Laura Ashley globe hanging basket which not only prevents birds & squirrels digging up your baskets but also provides extra support for plants to grow through.
To protect smaller plants or seedlings in flower beds or on gravel drives I use these cloches which have spiked "feet" which push into the soil to ensure they can't be knocked over.
Again, these ones are from Crocus who seem to have the best range of stylish plant protection options. I move these around the garden when I'm putting in delicate new plants to deter the squirrels who are attracted to bare earth, they're also great for stopping the foxes, badgers and cats tramping over delicate new plants.
The larger square cloches are great for protecting larger areas, again they have spiked feet so they can't be knocked over, we do use tent pegs though to keep them extra secure.
These large baffles from Rowen & Wren are fantastic for protecting our big annual pots on the back patio. They were much admired at last year's NGS open gardens and we told everyone where to buy them from and now they're sold out! Hopefully Rowen & Wren will re-introduce them as they create a wonderful effect when the flowers grow through the wire.
Definitely not as glamorous as the Crocus and Rowen & Wren baffles but chicken wire is one of my best friends in the garden!
We were lucky enough to be out for a winter walk at Dunham Massey one Christmas when they were selling off sections of the old water wheel.
This has created a fantastic planting feature next to the house, however, the squirrels found it very useful for burying their nuts. We stretched chicken wire across the front of it which has kept them out (ultimately we had to go for a smaller gauge than the one shown here... it is amazing how small a space a determined squirrel can fit into.)
I also use chicken wire to create my dig proof lawn which has been brilliant at protecting the lawn from both wildlife and human visitors. Read my blog on how to use this to protect your own lawn.
Home made squirrel baffles make use of chicken wire and old scaffolding boards to create protected plant stores in my plant nursery.
I even use it when I'm potting on seedlings... it's amazing how much damage a cat can do when they try to "help"...