Monday, February 25, 2019

Snail Haven and Cactus Flower

When I was pulling ivy in the garden on Saturday, I stripped it off the rock wall that surrounds our patio. I found this incredible cluster of overwintering snails in a niche in the wall beneath the vines. Isn't that crazy? I count 17 of them -- and there were more in other locations.

Dave, ever the farmer, said, "Kill them!" But I just left them there. It seems a violation of the rules of war to kill the enemy when it's sleeping.

My feeling about snails is, as long as they're eating old leaves and other garbagey stuff, I don't mind them at all. They're only a problem when they get on our good plants. So we'll continue using snail deterrents to steer them away. I bought some copper "slug rings" to put around vulnerable plants -- we'll see how well they work. I have one around a tulip now and so far, so good.

Our cactus is now fully flowering, as you can see. This is such an unexpected joy to me -- I've never had it happen before with a potted desert cactus. As you can see, I removed that ring of orange fake flowers from around its base. They pulled right out -- they were on long straw pins inserted into the plant. Supposedly it won't hurt the cactus to remove them, or so I read.

Yesterday was a quiet day at home. A little more gardening, a walk with Olga in the cemetery. Oh, and I learned (via blog pal Linda Sue, who is like a human news aggregator) that Malta was battered over the weekend by high winds and crashing waves, uprooting trees and causing power cuts. Holy cow! It's so hard to believe, because when we were there just the day before the storm struck, it was sunny and tranquil. Talk about dodging a bullet!


  1. I hate killing anything. With regard to your snails, I would have gathered them up and taken them to the heath for release in a suitable location.

  2. That little cactus flower is pretty as it can be. I would be so happy to see it too!
    I think that Mr. P. might have a good idea about those sleeping snails. Relocate! Probably wouldn't make much of a difference, though.
    Your timing was perfect for Malta, it would seem. Whoa!

  3. I found a bunch of snails as well while working over at the raised garden beds. tossed them in a pot and the next day they were gone. good thing you missed the storm in Malta.

  4. I LOVE the little cactus flower. I never see snails in the shell like that here in the desert. We do see slugs from time to time but never snails. Good job missing that storm.

  5. We have lots and lots of snails. We never kill them, but we move them to more suitable locations, like to our neighbor's abandoned yard. No one has lived in the house there in almost ten years. It's a great place for snails. Beautiful cactus flower.

  6. Those are very large snails compared to what I see.

  7. I went on a Napa/Sonoma wine tour the week before the fires hit a couple years ago. I understand that feeling of "What? We were just there!"

  8. You dont have to kill the enemy while sleeping but it might be the perfect time to relocate their nap elsewhere. Welcome home.

  9. That is a very cool picture of the snails. Not sure why, but it really appeals to me. And I LOVE your cactus flower!

  10. I'm with the relocate contingent. When we lived in Seattle, it was a constant battle. We'd have to deploy the slug bait, and then (and then!) go out and pick up the corpses because they were everywhere.

  11. Yikes good timing for your Malta trip, lovely photo of the snails good idea to move them elsewhere.

  12. If the ivy was anything but very sparse, the snails may be in heaven rather than haven now anyhow - it's surprising how much protection fauna get from a covering of leaves or grasses. There was a campaign here last fall to get people not to rake up their leaves, or if they did, to dump them at one side of their yard, in order to protect insects and larvae, and small animals like salamanders. I expect that protecting snails wasn't a big selling point or they would have been mentioned too!

    That cactus blossom is delightful! I'd be so pleased with that :) I parted ways with the only cactus I ever had. It was fun to watch grow -- it kept growing babies everywhere -- but the thing was LETHAL -- had spikes on it as long and as sharp as sewing needles! (It was given to me; I'd never have picked it for a houseplant with two small children around.)

  13. Love your little cactus flower. Did you ever see the movie starring Walter Matthau, Goldie Hawn and Ingrid Bergman? I googled it, but I only vaguely remember it - I was only 14 when it came out. I see it's free on Amazon Prime, so I may have to give it a go!

  14. YP: That is an EXCELLENT idea. It occurred to me on Sunday that I should have taken them to the cemetery. If they're still around this coming weekend (I don't think they're going anywhere anytime soon) I'll do that.

    Ms Moon: Yeah, I'm not sure it will make a huge difference, but at least then I can't kick myself when things get eaten later in the spring!

    Ellen: Snails can move amazingly fast when they want to!

    Sharon: I'm surprised you have slugs, actually. Seems like they'd dry out!

    Robin: Wow! What's up with your neighbor's house? Seems like a long time to be vacant!

    Red: I bet snails in Canada are a rarity! Too cold!

    Colette: It's bizarre, isn't it? I feel weirdly responsible, like somehow I caused it!

    37P: Yeah, I like this relocation idea!

    Bug: I like how they're all clustered together so companionably. I'm sure they're only minimally aware of each other!

    Allison: Yeah, I hate slug pellets. I do my best not to use them, but occasionally deploy them as a last resort. It's the only chemical we use.

    Catalyst: Bleah!!!

    Margo: Yeah, it's amazing how well-timed that was!

    Jenny-O: I'm not a snail expert, but I think as long as they're not roasting in direct sun (and these aren't) they should be OK. Who knows, though. Survival of the fittest!

    Sue: I never saw that movie, but as I was writing this post I did remember the title! (I was thinking it was a Broadway show, though!)

  15. Catalyst: A follow-up to your escargot comment. I Googled to see if garden snails can be eaten, and it seems they can. I am not going that route, though! LOL