Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Previously: Dandelion Fluff

It has been a year and a month since the migration began, and the green revolution on my mother's veranda has been a resounding success. The flimsy and delicate stalks of Basil and Mint have grown roots and stems, and new plant saplings were added, to make the evergreen dream inch closer to reality. Some of the herbs don't make it, and they are replaced by new ones to have a semblance of continuity. No longer do I lament their loss, but instead, see their unceremonious uprooting as a chance to start over. It may not have been as verdant like in my imagination, but the plants thrive, and life sprouts in that forgotten corner of the house.

The veranda's seaward location allows it to receive generous doses of sunshine in the late afternoon. Oreganos filter much of the sunlight with their unusually large leaves, as well as the Lavenders and Rosemaries that occupy larger plastic boxes that are the envy of those herbs growing on my side of the window. But lately, destructive acts performed by sinister creatures at the middle of the night lead to some setbacks. 

It all started one morning when I found a garden planter dug out and its once flourishing occupant lying wilted on the ground. It would die a few days later, never to be replaced again.

At first, I thought the nocturnal digging was some random occurrence that would cease in a few weeks. I would let it pass, until another garden planter was dug weeks later, leaving a deep crater that would scare even a seasoned urban gardener. I immediately asked a helper to place a rat trap on the floor, and to our horror, the device caught a very large rodent the next day. 

I would never forget how the balding creature squealed when I made an attempt to approach it. Larger than an average kitten, I imagine it to be an alpha female, or male, in the hierarchy where it belongs. The rat was exterminated, and a retaliation was forthcoming. Much like how the mice nibbled on my clothes after I started culling them in my room, rats of all sizes made passes in my mother's veranda just to dig the pots and leave the plants scattered on the ground.

It was heartbreaking.

I did everything to make the raids stop. With the assistance of the same helper, we tried to look for holes where the pests are coming from. The searching ended in vain. Next, I tried raising some planters on top of canisters just so the rats won't reach them. The clever rodents simply used their size to topple them down, leaving more plants overturned on the ground - together with their pots. I would have placed sticky paper everywhere, just to annoy the critters. But it appears this desperation won't be necessary. The last, and perhaps the most effective among my ideas was to block all access to my little garden. For a week now, I have never seen lumps of soil on the ground, or pot marks dug out of the plastic containers.

The plants that have been uprooted sprout new leaves again.

For once, it appears that I succeeded holding the rodents back, but never can I claim victory until some new herbs are added.

No comments: