Sunday, 22 July 2012

Hedgehogs and Chickens

No, not together!

After writing recently about a close encounter with an adult hedgehog, guess what, I met another one the other day.

In a different clients' garden this time: the client and I were doing our "rounds", we go round the garden once a week with a clipboard, discussing jobs to be done, any problems arising, checking on growth, looking for damage and so on: it's a very interesting part of the day, even though it takes time away from actual work.

As we walked past the left-hand shrubbery (as it's known) there was a lot of rustling and scuffling in the Epimedium, and we could follow the progress of something fast and hefty, without being able to see what it was.

"Do you remember Potty-Time with Michael Bentine?" I asked the client, laughingly.

At the base of the Bird Cherry it appeared amongst the foliage - a very large hedgehog, with what appeared to be a mouthful of leaves.

"My word," exclaimed the client, "I haven't seen a hedgehog, let alone one that size, for years!"

So it's not just me - hedgehogs have been rarely-seen in recent years, but apparently they are enjoying the huge increase in slugs and snails that we are suffering, after two or three really wet, horrible years.

On a different day, in a different garden, I was moving plants into my newly-made nursery beds (Client to me, a week earlier: "I have a little project for you. I know you like a challenge.") which are at the far end of the chicken paddock. This means having to keep moving and replacing the electric fencing to keep the chickens out of the beds.

I turned my back for two minutes, to replace the electric fencing, and look what happened: chicken invasion!

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