Friday, May 12, 2006

The Short, Sad Story of How A Gopher Broke My Heart

I've lived in my home for over 31 years (lucky me!) and never had a gopher problem, even though they are quite common in this area. Just recently one seems to have moved in. Here you see a photo of three California poppy plants that were blooming in my back yard. The two on the left looked just like the one on the right until a few days ago, when a gopher lunched on their roots. Now they are dead and flattened on the ground after this invisible, underground attack. What's really sad was that there were originally six of them, and now there is only one left. Based on experience, what are it's chances of survival, eh?

I know, I know. In the greater scheme of things, when our whole world is struggling to survive the voracious munching at all of our roots by the greedy capitalists, war mongers, constitutuion twisters, corporate raiders, moralizing born-agains, and other shameless power brokers, maybe it seems indulgent to mourn such a small thing. But still, those little golden flowers were (are) a shining light for me. I think it was Mother Teresa who once said "bloom where you are planted". I've been thinking about that, and wondering how we can continue to bloom, here in our homes,in our beloved country, while our own (un)elected officials are chewing at the roots of everything we hold dear and true, poisoning our water and air, compromising everything that lets us bloom freely. How can we hold on to what is left, and get rid of these noxious pests?


robin andrea said...

We've watched plants rock back and forth while a gopher munched its roots. It is unbelievable the kind of destruction they can cause in a garden. One thing to do next year, is to build raised beds and line the beds with chicken wire. It does keep the gophers out and lets the plants grow.

About that government-- it's time to storm the white house with our pitchforks and ax handles. Have we finally had enough? You bet.

The Fat Lady Sings said...

No Sigrid – it’s not indulgent to mourn such a loss. A garden has great importance - especially in light of the chaos that surrounds us. I go to my garden for solace and sustenance. It buoys the soul - something desperately needed considering the bad news each day seems to bring. So I understand how upsetting losing your plants can be. I recently had an accident that prevents me from maintaining my garden (broken leg). I was forced to hire some help with the weeding, etc. Well - yesterday my husband helped me hobble around to see all the blooms. I discovered that the person I hired had not only pulled all the weeds - he had pulled up everything else as well! All that was left was bare dirt - no gardenias, moonbeam coreopsis, black-eyed susans, lilies or creeping phlox. All gone. Three beds destroyed in a single afternoon.

So I understand how seeing what that gopher had done really upset you. I hope you are able to deal with the nasty critter, and restore your lovely poppies. Take heart, fellow gardener! What is gone can be replaced; unlike our poor country – buts that’s another issue entirely! By the way – I do love visiting here. And I hope the weekend brings us all happier news!

donna said...

I watched a gopher drag all our gazanias down various holes one summer - wasn't just eating the roots, but the entire plant!

Now we have dogs, and no gophers. The other thing that helps is beneficial nematodes, which apparently help get rid of grubs in the soil that are a big part of what attracts the gophers, moles, and voles.

Oh, or were you referring to the other bigger pests? I think we're all working on getting rid of those, in various small ways. I refuse to shop at WalMart, buy goods from China, vote for Republicans, etc, etc... and I buy local and organic goods and from small retailers whenever possible. Every little bit helps.

adagio said...

firstly, i understand your disappointment re. the poppy plants. grrrrrr.... what an absolute bugger! robin's idea about raised beds and chicken mesh sounds like an excellent idea.

secondly, yes, there are 'bigger' issues BUT the existence of them does not diminish your own 'smaller' ones. do you have a saying in the US: there's always someone worse off? i think the rationale behind the sentiment is utter crap!

Linstilllife said...

I've had fair success with the battery operated things that emit a noise that we can't hear, but they hate. Unfortunately they are pretty ugly, but maybe you could disguise them somehow. They must have been designed by a man:) Also, I've heard of some people having luck pushing chewed juicy fruit gum into the tunnels, especially around the beloved survivor.. I don't know why, but it has to be juicy fruit.
Also Dear, we must keep planting, in hopes of a better tomorrow, Until then-
we resist!