Tale of Clarkia Number 3

I enjoyed reading Ms. Country Mouse's post about the clarkias out in her garden, which were growing so nicely and much faster than the ones in the greenhouse.

Oh, how I wish I could report the same. Yes, late last year things were looking fairly promising, I had plants that were about 3 inches high, looking healthy. Then, one morning, I came out to find this:

Who could be the criminal? Not slugs, they would not climb up the stem to eat the leaves. Birds maybe, said my friend Chris, or Racoons which are common in these parts due to the unfortunate abundance of dog food and cat food. In winter, the city also removes some sewer grates so runoff is faster during storms, making the trip from the nearest creek a breeze.

For now, I've sprinkled some hot pepper amongst the remaining plants, but it's a bad feeling to be so totally powerless.

So, dear readers, do you have any idea who this could be, and any advice?


Kaveh said…
Weird. The only time I have grown Clarkia outside in the ground nothing bothered them. Nearby Collinsia was a totally different story. The other time I grew Clarkia it was on a 4th floor balcony and nothing touched it.

Do you have rabbits or voles, perhaps?
Kelly said…
It looks an awful lot like what the starlings did to my vegetable seedlings one year.
Country Mouse said…
What Kelly said makes sense. We don't get starlings up here in Country Mouse Land. Fox sparrows right now and other sparrows, but they don't eat leaves, not that I can see.
Town Mouse said…
Mmm. I certainly doubt that I could have rabbits or voles, but birds are not unlikely. Now I only need to figure out what to do about it.
Well, the good news is, it's probably not voles. From overwhelming experience, I can say that voles tend to take plants right at the soil line! Could be almost anything. I keep threatening to get one of those garden night cameras to see who the culprits are that do seedling damage here, but then again, I'm not really sure I want to know how much goes on in the garden when I'm not there! ;)

For prevention of damage, if you have any row-cover, even very light weight row-cover, you could try using it as a physical barrier to protect these plants at least until they're a little larger. That, or maybe some raspberry netting?
Tim Riley said…
I suspect baby banana slugs. Baby banana slugs do climb slender herbaceous stems and voraciously devour tender shoots and leaves. The slugs look like common little brown slugs sometimes no bigger than a centimeter long. They seem to prefer munching at night and hiding in the mulch or under pottery during the day.