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How does my garden grow? Plants

How does my garden grow….or outfoxing possums

We have no air-conditioning. In Summer we rely on our grape vine to drape over the pergola to keep out the morning sun. It’s been that way for many years.

Until the last couple of years when the possums discovered the tasty new shoots that emerge. So I joined the large group of gardeners suffering from The Attack of the Possums, working out ways to out-fox the critters. Mine seem to be the very cute little ringtails, rather than the big boofy brush tails. I am hoping that the small ringtails eat less!

Of course they are excellent climbers and the trunks of the vine, the fence and the supports for the pergola make excellent highways. They can hang and nibble on those tasty shoots. The top of the vine is perfect for them. Not so good for the vine.

By December this should be a canopy of leaves and tendrils.

Fortunately the vine is also persistent and sends shoots out from below. I am relying on them to create the shade.

My thoughts are that if the possums can’t get a secure purchase they won’t be able to nibble. So here’s the plan….to encourage these shoots to grow up to the top, away from the grasp of the pesky pests. That plan needs a few things.

Firstly, strings attached to the wires at the top and then tied to the shoot. Climbing a ladder and trying to throw the string wasn’t the best method. With some lateral thinking I realised the rake was the perfect solution. I could put the ball on one of the tines and direct it over the string, making sure the shoot is growing up away from anything that might give a secure footing. (Then dodging as the ball of string came tumbling down!)

This one is certainly reaching for the sky.

The second part of the strategy is to wrap the new shoots up at night as possums are nocturnal. Each night I go out and tenderly wrap the little ones up in an old bedsheet. Each morning I take it away so that they can photosynthesis their little hearts out.

So far my strategy is working. However I am sure you can see the flaw in it….what happens when the shoots reach the top. I have tried to put the strings into places on the wires that aren’t so easy to reach. As well I am hoping that these upright ones will provide some sun protection.

So far I am out-foxing those pesky possums, but who knows what the outcome will be!

The glory days of the vine!

P.S. You know how WordPress gives you a link to similar posts at the bottom of each post? Well, after I published this I saw one titled “Pesky Possums”. Not only have I told you about this problem before, but used almost the same language!! That made me smile!


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live and garden – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present. 

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I would like to thank.... Kindness

I would like to thank….. #1

Sometimes in our busy lives the smaller kindnesses can get overlooked and eaten up. One of my aims is to stop, to take the time to acknowledge the kindness, to say “Thank you”. One example came my way this week.

On Tuesday morning, we found a baby possum lying on the paving under the clothes line. She was a tiny ball of wet fur, shaking slightly. (Later my partner asked me how I knew it was female. I said because she was strong and courageous! As it turned out, she was a he. Oh well, still strong and courageous!)

We put him in a box lined with newspaper, and investigated wildlife organizations. It took a while to get on to someone — and that conversation happened because the carer took the time to get back to me. She said we needed to get the possum to a vet as soon as possible.

So I took the little fellow (still thinking she was a little lass!) to the vet. The receptionist told me that the vet would look at him, and if all was well, pass him onto a wildlife carer. I went back yesterday to find out what had happened.

As it turned out, while he survived the night and went to a carer, he died during the day. Poor little thing.

So, I want to acknowledge my vet, Noel Smith, and his staff for the time they volunteer to help hurt wildlife. And more widely, all those other vets and wildlife carers who do so much to help animals injured as a result of our presence. Our world would be a poorer place with out them.