New variegated sage update
Our chestnuts are dying

Chipmunks: pests and pleasures

Chipmunk,eastern, Tamias striatus. Image ©Gilles Gonthier. License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic Generally speaking, chipmunks are delightful. It’s a treat to see them around the garden even though, sometimes, it’s necessary to rescue them from the jaws one of our cats (scroll right down – to see the cats, not the chipmunks in jaws…). In fact, our cats don’t catch very many as they’re just so quick, and of course they can climb. Seemingly indigestible mice are favored.

But a few years ago, after a winter under the snow, I noticed that one of our newly planted choice hellebores (a double black, I vaguely seem to recall) had died after its roots were tunneled through and eaten. [Can’t have been much fun for the chipmunk, hellebores are poisonous.]

ChipmunkHole17523 And this summer I was wondering why the Rudbeckia laciniata I’d moved along the back of the border into more light was doing so badly. When the foliage in front fell to one side it became clear: there’s obviously a burrow under there (left, click to enlarge). And it’s probably stuffed with all the sunflower seeds they’ve stolen from the bird feeder.

No chipmunks in Britain, of course, though a few people keep them as pets, I’m told. But they’re such a treat, I think we can live with an occasional plant casualty.