Welcome to the Summer Slugfest. No, not the Olympics. I'm talking about my garden. (For you Yanks, "garden" is the euphemism Brits use for the ugly term "yard".)
As you know if you've been following along as I've chronicled the Summer of Rain, we've had a very wet and cloudy summer. Which is apparently the kind of weather that slugs thrive in. I'm always taking a risk by planting shade-loving flowers like impatiens (called "Busy Lizzies" here, another euphemism). But with several willows providing more shade than sun, I work with what I've got.
This year my gardener cleaned out the flower bed along the fence, which was full of horsetails and horrible Japanese knotweed. I had to wait a few weeks for the rain to clear, then I hurriedly planted impatiens and another white spikey plant I found at the garden center. It wasn't a shade plant, so I didn't expect it to do well, but I wanted something to break up the monotony of impatiens.
More rain came, and the next time I looked at the flowerbed, half my impatiens had been destroyed. Another few days, and they were all gone. Deforestation, on a micro level. Except for the white spikey plants, whose name I don't remember. Probably something that means "slug poison" in Latin.
Earlier I had filled my pots with a variety of flowers, which inadvertantly turned into an experiment on slug tastes. Turns out they like everything except geraniums.
Slugs would apparently starve before they ate a geranium leaf. Which is okay, since geraniums, being from Africa, like the kind of weather that kills slugs: hot and dry. We had about two of those days this summer.
Slugs love hostas. Slugs love petunias, particularly the fancier varieties. Slugs love lobelia, and other exotic plants I experimented with this summer (inspired by my visit to Hidcote).
There's no effective way to get rid of slugs without endangering the health of my dog, so there's not much I can do either, except stop feeding them their favorite foods. I haven't even caught them in the act: they must feed at night, when I'm asleep.
I spent around £200 to stock the buffet table for the slugs this year. And all I got were these photos of ravaged plants.