Snails Made Me a Liar

 There’s something bucolic about snails.  Often depicted darling in children’s literature and artwork, snails are usually portrayed as positive thematic characters in toddlers’ pillows and young ones’ stuffed toys.   Snails are cute:  silly looking and alien-like, seemingly unobtrusive and retiring, in most humans they don’t arouse fear (like honeybees) or disgust (like rats).  Maybe it’s the Fibonacci-like swirl of their shells–graceful and elegant–that appeals.  Perhaps it’s the quirky, squishy body and wiggly antennae, alert and upright, searching, almost comedic, that gives the creatures great charm. 

 A few posts back, I commented that snails are in my garden, never causing much damage, just oozing along, mostly minding their own business.  I regretted the times I’ve accidentally crushed them.

Not long after that post, I caught this one sipping from the open blossom of a Spiderwort.  It looks kind of sweet, doesn’t it?  A crafty sort could use the scene as a needlepoint subject or embroidery project.

Was this little garden creature sipping the morning dew?  Or was it eating the blossom?

Oh dear, that might change the dynamics for the plant.  Turns out, snails are causing some damage in my garden this spring. 

Grrr.

My unknown variety of amaryllis, the bulbs given to me long ago by my mother, have been the dining choice of at least one of these slimy beasts.  

Varmint!

Nasty varmint!  (Note the change in tone toward the snail.) There it is, snug in its corner booth, chowing down on my flower!

The cluster of open blooms is functioning, they’ve all opened up, as they will in spring, then snails moved in and did what snails do–eat, eat, poop.  Sigh. 

The amaryllis only bloom once–now–and won’t again until next year.  I’ve railed against the snails, called them bad names, and fantasized about squishing the lot of them.  In the end, I should have noticed their activities and acted more quickly.  After all, it’s not like I’m gone from the house much these days.

It’s done and no use in crying over munched petals; there are certainly more important considerations in the world, and even in my garden.  It’s a good lesson for me and no doubt, one that I will  learn again, in a different situation.  For now, I need to find my hiking boots and, um, get to work. 

Joining with Anna’s Wednesday Vignette.  Pop over to her lovely Flutter and Hum and check out garden happenings elsewhere.  

35 thoughts on “Snails Made Me a Liar

  1. It was after a particularly heavy rain years ago when, out in the garden, I was horrified at how many snails were slowly working their way up every available stalk and stem in sight.

    Sooooo many snails.

    Even though I never again witnessed them in such numbers, I also never forgot that just because I didn’t see them didn’t mean they weren’t all out there….waiting….

    Get those boots on lady and maybe hum a little Nancy Sinatra while you “work”.

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  2. The sweet, harmless and adorable snails have turned into evil pirate flower eaters from Spidewort and more importantly than the prized bulbs your mother gave you of an unknown variety of amaryllis. One or more snails have feasted on their flowers. Tina put on your hiking boots and get to work! Keep you and your husband safe. Take good care of both of you. Loving greetings from Margarita.

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  3. There are various things you can do about snails, one I seem to recall is put strips of copper or copper wire around the plants they most like – making sure, first, that they’re not within the circle of it!

    Sorry about your Amaryllis.

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    • Well, I suppose that would work, if I’d know they were going to show up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I just didn’t expect that there were so many and they were out there…eating. 🙂 Never had much problems with them before, but they showed me, didn’t they!!

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      • Haha, yeah. They did! Snails multiply very quickly. When I was a child, I had a couple as pets… when they united (they’re hermaphrodites), I had far more pets than I could cope with!

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      • Oh, that’s sweet! I imagine gardeners who lived near you weren’t so thrilled? 🙂 I guess they eat and produce new snails. Not a bad existence, I guess.

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  4. I throw them against the fence. Smashing them is still a bit too much for me and leaves messes that deteriorate into sharp shards of shells stabbing small feet. (I couldn’t think of an S Word for feet. I also don’t leave the house much.)
    Have your roly poly / pill bugs/ doodle bugs gone prolific yet? We got a handle on the snails only to wonder at how they may have been holding back the hordes.

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    • I threw the one that I found in the amaryllis bloom. Hard. Randomly. So it probably landed near something else it’ll want to eat.

      Not too much with the pill bugs yet, but they’re always around.

      I think I said that about the snails…

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      • 😉
        They are climbing on my healthy green bean plants and really liking the flower buds… they’re finding their way into the pool of water that is the upside down compost lid

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  5. Only recently, I mentioned to one of my readers that when my niece was a tyke, she found a lidded bucket of snails that her father had collected for disposal, thought they looked crowded and uncomfortable in it, so put them under the shade of a big angels’ trumpet with the lid off for some fresh air. It was darling.

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      • Not for him, but for me, it was hilarious. He got over it real quickly though, because he was so pleased that she was so involved with the garden, and aware of what was going on out there, rather than ignoring it. The angels’ trumpet recovered, and later provided the standardized picture of angels’ trumpet that was in Sunset – Western Garden Book at the time. He got her ladybugs to release into the garden seasonally.

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  6. Like you, I have a love/hate relationship with them. I do appreciate them, and thinking they have a place in the world, but I also wish I could control what they eat. I totally feel your pain. Last year, I had this white martagon lily my mother sent me from Sweden. I excitedly watched it emerge and starting to put out a bud. I checked on it every day, and then one day, the entire bud was gone!! I was so mad! I didn’t realize they could be so… um… thorough. Ever since then, I am a lot less lenient. And the lily gets a hefty dose of Sluggo whenever it looks like it needs it. So far, so good, so the chances of a flower this summer are pretty good. Fingers crossed!

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  7. This has been a delightful read – snails provoke many feelings! Two mornings ago it seemed that several thousand of them had sprouted in the overnight humidity, and they were gleefully trailing goo blobs across all our windows. But I have to argue in favor because I recently read a book called All the Light We Cannot See, and one of the characters is completely enamored with snails. I’d never given them much thought before, but that book was so good and the character’s love for snails so endearing that I now tiptoe around them in my yard, afraid to step on one (thanks a lot, book!)

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    • Glad you enjoyed it, Kitty. “Sprouted”–that’s a good way to describe the influx of snails: one day there aren’t any; next day, there are many. And yeah, blobs…ew.

      I read that book and enjoyed it very much, though not necessarily the happiest of stories. . Maybe it’s a re-read for me now. Maybe not. But it was beautifully written.

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  8. I never thought of snails as cute, but it’s true that are positively portrayed in children’s books. Very annoying to discover a critter eating your flowers. I haven’t had that problem with snails, but I have had earwigs eating through my Clematis flower buds.

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  9. Our method (to avoid chemicals which can pass up the food chain, birds and hedgehogs eat them, snails that is) is to sink small bowls around the beds and half fill with cheap beer. Snails and slugs love it and die with smiles on their faces!

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  10. I’m always happy to come across a snail that has climbed high up on a plant, as that’s one more chance for a picture without much distracting background. I don’t have to contemplate the damage to plants that you do as a gardener.

    Any mention of Fibonacci-type spirals is always welcome.

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