Saturday, 22 August 2009

Giant sunflowers just about to open

The blooms on these two giant sunflowers are just beginning to open up. I've had lots of sunflowers this year, but for some reason these particular two have grown very tall. The one on the left of the photo was just a few inches shy of 10 foot tall (3 metres) when I measured it yesterday.

Each evening when I nip out into the garden to check on the hedgehogs' food supplies I will often take a torch and go on a slug patrol. Those blasted things seem to love munching on my sunflowers, and you'll notice some leaf damage in the photo above.

Yes, hedgehogs are supposed to eat slugs, but it seems that slug-eating is a last resort. They far prefer other foodstuffs, such as those that I have been providing in the garden for over a year now, e.g. mealworms, unsalted peanuts, sunflower hearts, sultanas, and Spike's Dinner brand hedgehog food or Iams cat food (chicken flavour). You might say, "stop providing food and the hedgehogs will eat the slugs", but I fear that they might not visit the garden at all if I didn't put food and water out for them. I am trying to encourage the hedgehogs, after all they are now classified as an endangered species.

As to slug repellents, I have tried barriers of gel (too easily washed away), gravel, broken eggshells, etc. It seems that a determined slug will always find a way. The one thing I must stress, however, is that one should NEVER use slug pellets. If a hedgehog eats a slug poisoned by slug pellets, then the hedgehog will be poisoned in turn.

Yes, slugs are a nuisance but it you use slug pellets in an effort to control them you could be assisting in the decline of that truly unique and delightful wild animal, the hedgehog.


  1. Have you ever tried copper rings? They are apparently very successful as slugs and snails get a little electric shock if they touch it.
    As I am sure you know that slugs can carry lung worm which is both harmful to dogs and hedgehogs.
    From the hedgehogs point of view the world has changed a lot in the last 100 years or so – their natural habitat has eroded away – cars are killing so many and many people can’t be bothered with gardens and have them paved I think the very least we can do is put food out for them.

  2. You certainly have a couple of whoppers there. My bird sown ones only managed about 5ft. The seeds are vanishing from the first one but the second hasn't started to open a flower yet.