A few weeks ago, I started a new year of blogging with an endearing look about our resident bunny, an Eastern cottontail buck that was camped out in the raised bed off our back patio. As we progress through winter, my attitude towards our resident lagomorph is decidedly less generous.
From our living room window, I noticed that three hollies had been eaten to the ground, just as they were last winter. Grabbing my camera, I took a stroll around the yard, looking to see how the rest of the garden had fared under the onslaught of the rabbit's voracious appetite and incessant need to keep its ever-growing teeth in check through gnawing on woody plants.
The results weren't pretty.
New shoots on our mature witch hazel are clipped and shredded.
The bark of our newly planted smokebush is peeled away.
The aforementioned holly, which had grown to about 18" tall last summer, is once again razed to the ground.
A bird's nest spruce, a good 3 feet wide, has been reduced to half of its former self.
A brand new Fothergilla is clipped from 18" down to the ground.
The rabbit even went after a Knockout rose, and seemed to have quite the feast judging by the amount of scat that was left behind (bottom right of the photo).
Most of these plants never get touched by the rabbits in the warmer months. But in the few weeks where all the other food sources have been under a cover of snow, these young shrubs were just too much temptation, I suppose.
There's no use crying over shredded shrubs, but I am certainly determined not to let this happen in the future. Next season, we'll be installing some protective wire-mesh collars around the young woodies to keep our nibbling friends at bay.