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The curse of the window boxes continues, as our New Gardener Rachel Household discovers that a local squirrel has run off with her spring bulbs

New year, new start apparently. Not in our garden. Regular readers of this column will have shared the agonies (and the occasional ecstasies) of my windowboxes through the seasons. And you’ll be aware that my planting of spring bulbs has already suffered what I took to be cat interference, unearthing crocuses, snowdrops and tulips.

Undaunted, I replanted the bulbs and hid the pots round the side of the house on the windowsill, well out of the way of cat paws. And there the pots sat for nearly a month, untouched; I was winning, so I thought. Then one evening I came home from work to find one pot knocked over completely, the earth dug out of the other two, and scraps of what looked like papery onion skins but no sign of the bulbs: they’d all been whisked away – eaten, even. I really couldn’t believe it. To have to replant my pots once was bad luck, to actually have to start again from scratch was… extremely annoying. Back to the drawing board.

I learnt two things from this frustrating cycle of events. One is that I should have listened to myself in the first place and put chicken wire over the top of the pots. The other is that I was completely wrong in blaming our cats… When I went to buy replacement bulbs the man in the shop said, “That’ll be a squirrel.” And we do in fact have one, which is making a good job of digging up our lawn, and has probably buried all my spring bulbs there. So, one more go: this time I’ve planted tulips and irises, bought a huge piece of chicken wire, and will be grateful to get any spring flowers at all.

As a result, I’m feeling a little bit despondent about gardening in 2001. But still, I have got a few resolutions:
1. To turf over the back garden and maybe pave or deck the concrete area outside the French windows
2. To revamp our front garden and hide the bins
3. To use the garden more in the summer and, generally, work out there more regularly, rather than having the odd blitz every three months
4. We’ll probably have to replace one of the shared fences out the back
5. And I’d like to pad out the garden a bit more, so that it looks good throughout the year: there’s not a lot left during the winter…

Ah well. Ever onwards.

Read more about Rachel’s windowbox trials:
Summer: The dreaded begonias click here
Autumn: The first replanting of the spring bulbs click here

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