Maria von BrinckenThis squirrel a friend of yours?

Here in the north east and maybe in other parts of the world, a lot of gardeners seem to be in a constant battle with squirrels. I don’t take that view, although I’ve squirrel-proofed the bird feeders because while I didn’t mind the squirrels helping themselves to seed, I found out how fast they can empty feeders, and the seed is not cheap.

But the raccoons have no problem with squirrel proof feeders and have even learned how to open the ‘locking” galvanised container. So for most of the summer I stopped filling the feeders. The raccoons made such a mess, with seed all over the place. And they brought babies who used the planters as step stools – thereby breaking plants! I’m going to try filling the feeders again as its winter and I’m home to see the birds feed. But I’ll keep the seed indoors and perhaps only use one feeder. We’ll see.

A squirrel at my window

I was so amazed one morning to look out my living-room window one day and see this squirrel face to face, sitting on the lattice I’ve put there for some screening from the street, and enjoying the rose hips offered by Rosa ‘New Dawn’. I thought rose hips were eaten by the birds only, I’d never thought about them being eaten by squirrels, so imagine my surprise looking out my window and coming eye to eye with this fellow. By the time I got my camera out, he or she had turned but you can still see the orangish rose hip in its paws.

Making friends with squirrels or other critters involves the leap of thought from ‘mine’, as in my garden, to ‘all’, as in this piece of land is also the home for many critters. I’ve learned that if it bothers me that the groundhog eats all the asters, then I won’t plant them in the back garden, but only in the front. That way the groundhogs will eat what’s in the wet meadow and forest behind my garden.
But I like thinking of animals in a friendly way rather than as enemies. I don’t need to stress my body with anger and hate at animals. Thankfully living in this century and place I don’t need to fear them either. Peace. Harmony. Got to start somewhere.

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Maria von Brincken

About Maria von Brincken

Award-winning landscape designer, garden journalist and lecturer, certified practising designer with the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD), former contributing editor to Landshapes magazine. Sudbury, Massachusetts. Read Maria's full blog at A Garden Maker's Notes

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