Thursday, 11 December 2014

Snails In The Garden

I was looking through my photos today of the garden over summer and autumn and came across this one of a snail. Its not really cute and certainly not cuddly but it is fascinating and a part of the garden and it does live there....quite happily.


Now snails are not generally on a gardeners top most wanted visitors list ! However as a life form and a part of nature I respect them.


Yes I do have some choice words for them when they eat all my marigolds as they did this year and when they and their slug friends eat holes in my plants leaves, but they are a part of the gardens rich tapestry.  I accept it.

I also do feel that some of their shells are quite pretty and when they pop their heads out they can really be quite cute :)


Also somewhat morbidly I know, if there are snails in my garden it is helping the survival of the Thrush bird who eats snails and the hedgehog who is partial to a snail in the diet, both creatures who are not doing so well in nature at present. You can read more here about How To Help Hedgehogs In The Garden


Many a morning I have woken to the sound of snail being bashed against rock by a thrush.  I have stepped out onto our patio and our stone steps to find a litter of empty snail shells.


This is a little sad, but also is the way of the natural world. Many, many more snails do go on to survive and thrive pretty well in my garden ! They love to live behind my pots and in the deep foliage of the big leaved plants like the Elephants ears. We even found a whole colony under some boards that hubby forgot to move for a couple of weeks propped up by the fence!  Some were huge snails and so they do pretty well !



My friend who is a keen gardener of flowers is horrified that I leave the snails alone! He wants to stamp on them, use beer traps or any of the other methods of killing snails. I do nothing and let nature take its course. Yes I have lost flowers and vegetables but I am learning not to plant the flowers they love- unless its a decoy away from the veg!


I will not use slug and snail pellets. They are in my opinion unnecessary and dangerous for so many of our creatures.  We have to think about the food chain. When a slug or snail eats a pellet it dies, it is then eaten by a bird or small mammal who then they themselves may die or if they do not die quickly they can be eaten by say an owl who then ingests the creature and its pellet and gets sick or dies.

So in the end many pellets do not just kill the slugs and snails. Equally if there are no live healthy snails around, what will the hedgehogs and thrushes eat?

 For me, well, despite the odd grumble I think I would miss the snails and their slow, but sure antics in my garden  if they were gone....


Snail Mail Postcard by juliacollard
Design unique photo postcard at zazzle.com

Also you know there is something about a snail...the way they slowly but surely roam around carrying their house on their back. So slow and yet, somehow travelling so far and allowing no obstacle to stop them it seems.


Watching them scale huge heights in relation to their size and for my snails anyway not letting minor trifles like gravel, or sharp sand, or vaseline, or any of the other anti snail deterrents deter them for their main aim of eating my plants!!


You have you, don't you admire their tenacity!!


If you are someone who likes snails and I know a few people who really do, the ones below are actually rather cute ! The snail shell can be very pretty and especially when done in silvers and golds look lovely and a little bit unique and unusual.




So how do you feel about snails ?

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