Dang Varmints, Leave My Pansies Alone!
I’m not digging these night raiders at all.
No one saw you. Now one heard you. No device recorded your villainous intrusion into the sanctum of my backyard garden. Were you a possum perhaps? A loathsome squirrel? More likely, I think, an amoral raccoon due to the damage you did. You used savage claws to rip my pansies – beautiful, yellow pansies in the prime of bloom – from their cozy clay pots and leave them dying on the ground beside the mounds of potting soil you neatly scooped out.
I was angry, as any Grump would be, at seeing innocent plants so abused. I decided to give you a pass, however, because whatever you were looking for you didn’t find. Surely, you wouldn’t be so cruel and stupid as to repeat the same futile crime. Thus, I placed the pansies back in the pots, filled around them with the scooped out potting soil, and watered. The next day they looked fine.
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But as lightning does strike twice, so do you. In fact, this morning has been the third in a week I have been called upon to provide emergency care to wilting pansies wantonly scattered about.
Why are you doing this? There are no bugs or worms in the potting soil for you to eat. You’re not munching the pansies. You’re not targeting other plants either. What could be your motive besides pure fiendishness?
Suddenly, a light bulb went on in my head. (Well, not literally, or I would have been blinded, but you get the idea.) After first planting the pansies, I decided to nourish them with some slow-release, organic fertilizer. I searched the shelves in my garage and unfortunately chose the wrong thing. An old bag of blood meal.
Blood meal is a dry, inert powder made from the blood of hogs and cattle after they’ve vacayed at the slaughterhouse. It contains about 13% nitrogen, the most important plant nutrient, plus smaller amounts of phosphorus and potassium. You can find it for sale at just about any garden center.
Unfortunately, the smell of blood meal, while not unpleasant, convinces raccoons and possums that something dead is buried in the pot or garden. Something they’d like to dig up and eat. Bone meal, made from the ground-up bones of the same happy animals, seems to attract these critters too and also dogs. It’s often used to supply phosphorus for bulb plantings.
Aha! My investigation revealed that I had no one to blame for my ravaged pansy pots but myself. The night-raiding critters were exacting ironic revenge for my sprinkling remains of their animal brethren on my pots. What to do? I returned to the garage, located a cannister of animal repellent, and sprinkled its granules in the containers.
That should do it. If it does not, however, I give fair warning to the perpetrators. I will look for you. I will find you. And I will scream at you loudly.