Over the past week, while my husband and I have both been sick with a cold virus, something began eating our roses in our paddock garden over night. They’ve been eating the new leaves off the plants and also nipping off the flower buds. Investigation around the garden soon found some scat lying around. Google searches showed it to be kangaroo or wallaby scat. Not impressed. We’ve been here 8 years and only once seen a wallaby in our garden and that was when we first started creating our vegetable patch. Haven’t seen signs of it since.
Below: Our iceberg floribunda with barely any leaves and flowers fallen to the ground, plus the Double Delight. The other flowers buds were all bitten off before they got to open up. Leaves have been eaten too.
We hunted around to try and determine where they might have gotten in. If kangaroos they could jump over our barbed wire fences which are only about waist height but if a wallaby then a lower entry point. We found one such point near our chook pen from the neighbour’s garden and we know he’d had culprits eating his new corn and sunflower plants which he is now fenced off with wire and stakes. We thought we would have to do that once the weekend came and we were feeling much better.
Well, Saturday morning came and I went out with a neighbour to show her some things in our garden and to give her some produce (rhubarb, zucchinis and blackberries) and I discovered that three of our new silver birch trees have also now been nibbled at. Lots of leaves gone, one of the trees has had its top bitten off 🙁 Probably because the roses have almost all been eaten now, they were looking for more tasty things. Why can’t they eat the grass that’s lying around? Lots of that needs mowing and it’s juicy as it grows in the area where our septic run off so is very green. Frustrating. We researched different options online and ordered a sonic tool that emits sounds that should help scare them off. That should arrive during the week but I also posted on our local regional Facebook group to see if anyone there had experience and suggestions for deterring kangaroos.
Seems I hit a raw nerve. Deterring must read ‘culling’ or ‘killing’ to some because sure as heck I got abused for not liking wildlife, told to go back to the city, accused of being an animal or nature hater and so it went on. Clearly these people don’t know me, nor have taken any notice of the nature images I frequently share. I’m both a nature and a garden lover and after being here for 8 years with no sign of regular nocturnal visitors eating parts of our garden, think it’s reasonable to expect to be able to plant a new garden to grow – not to be eaten.
We are sure the real attraction is our billabong. It has water in it. The creek down the hill would have dried up as this summer has been quite dry. To date we’ve had 61.65mm of rain (17 Feb). This time last year it was over 123mm, 122mm in 2016 and 133.45mm in 2015. So clearly a drier start to the year and the animals are looking for water. I get that. I’m not heartless. But it is so very upsetting to spend time and money, and our own valuable water, creating these gardens only to have them eaten by animals passing by in search of water.
Amongst the accusations on the Facebook group were some really useful suggestions of which we have taken notice. One has a flower farm and they put buckets of smelly stuff dotted around their property to ward off the wallabies. So we bought some blood and bone and some new buckets and have dotted them around the garden beds. We also bought some large bowls and have put water in them away from the garden beds, one amongst the juicy green grass near our willow tree on the other side of the garden fencing where we have found some of the roo poo. I also filled up the birdbath on the other side of a rainwater tank where we found a pile of roo poo as well near a birdbath. That birdbath is around 75cm high so it’s possible it’s not a wallaby that’s been sitting and drinking there but a kangaroo which is taller.
Another useful suggestion was to get some bunting and run two rows of it along the fence line, at eye height and below that again. We were going to do that but then changed our minds and thought it might be better to run the bunting by the rose garden and the silver birch garden so we set that up too. So, with containers of water, buckets of blood and bone (smelly stuff) and bunting by the garden beds, here’s hoping that there’s no further damage to our garden overnight. Only time will tell.
For those of you who live in other areas, having kangaroos or wallabies in your garden may seem like a delightful thing to happen. And if it were in other parts of our property where the garden is well established, then it wouldn’t be a problem. A nibble here and there would do little damage and would help to prune some of the foliage. But when you have young plants trying to grow and make their way in your newly landscaped garden, it’s a totally different story. Hoping we get rains soon – regular rains will mean the creek fills again down the hill and our billabong is an attraction no longer.