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Old enough to know better ….


I am very fond of sweet peas, they are one of my desert island plants and I grow them every year. I am old enough and have been gardening long enough to know that mice eat sweet pea seeds.

Last year they ate some of my sweet pea seeds, which were in the greenhouse.  I noted that only the ones in the flowerpots were eaten and the ones in the cardboard centers from toilet rolls were fine.

This year the majority of seeds were again sown in the cardboard tubes, and guarded from the mice.  Germination was successful and the seedlings grew up well and strong.

My attention was then diverted to the pea seeds – which are also beloved by mice. So imagine my horror when I went into the greenhouse to find that all the green shoots of the sweet peas had been bitten off and spat out on to the greenhouse staging  and the seeds dug up and chewed into little bits.

Why, I ask myself would they spit out the tender green shoots and chew up the tough seeds.  This was even more galling as I have come to an arrangement with our local shop to take the old fruit and veg off their hands. So my compost bin is full of the most enticing things that a mouse could desire. But no, they chose the sweet peas ….. again.

As well as growing sweet peas for myself – I also grow them for a few other people.  Shedman suggested that I should pop along to a garden center and buy some all ready grown – but this does go against the grain.

I did, however go to the nearest place (An hour round trip) that sells seeds and buy a few more packets – but it’s not the same. They didn’t stock the varieties that I had agonized over for hours..

One of the treats during the winter months, is to lie in the bath and read seed catalogs (What! don’t you read yours in the bath?) I enjoy reading about all the different varieties of sweet pea – planning the colour schemes of my tepees so they will look ‘Oh so tasteful’ and dreaming of the summer garden.

Anyway – second batch is now sown, and Shedman has devised a rather wonderful raised coldframe that the mice will never be able to get into.   The sweet peas may be a tad late and by the summer, I will probably not even notice the difference in the varities …. so please keep your fingers crossed that they germinate quickly – because my BIG concern is how to tell Dobby that her sweet peas got eaten.

The photograph is of my Dicentra Spectablis Alba – White Bleeding Heart, which is looking particularly divine just now, and certainly looks a lot better than cardboard tubes with no sweet peas in them.

21 comments to Old enough to know better ….

  • ((((())))) Oh those naughty, naughty meeces ! What varieties had you sown Karen ? I like the close up of the bleeding heart – they look a treat even before they flower.

    Anna’s last blog post..Walk the Walk

  • Bad rodents…On the other hand have you ever met a good one? Karen…I am so sorry. How will you protect the next sowing? gail

    Gail’s last blog post..Something’s Missing

  • Dobby

    I am in mourning. I was going to put my teepee up at the weekend, but decided to dig up the Viburnam for you instead. I thought it was going to be a fair exchange and would soon be bringing home strong and healthy plants to lovingly arrange and tend. Oh well. Mice 1, Karen 0. Never mind. I am sure that although a tad late, they will be wonderful. Oh, am I getting charged for the petrol?

  • I adore sweetpeas and normally grow a lot, 50 plants or so. This year I have been late sowing them and some of mine have already been got. I might even be reduced to buying in young plants. I really do empathise with the need to have the varieties you have mooned over rather than any old thing, mind you any old sweetpea is probably still going to be rather lovely.
    Hope these ones thrive.

    elizabethm’s last blog post..Time for myself

  • Sue

    I don’t have mice problems, but have to cover the seedlings to prevent rabbits from eating them down to the ground. I hope you get a crop from the last batch planted!

    Sue’s last blog post..Finally Found Some Hellebores, Had to Pick One Due to Price

  • Sometimes the wildlife does get a bit tiresome. I’m still working on figuring out how to stop the racoon from upending everything in my waterlily barrel every other night.

    Town Mouse (Renate)’s last blog post..Wild things…

  • NOT fair to you! Bad mice. Your Dicentra is lovely though, and I have been wanting the Alba. More photos of that later?

    Daffodil Planter’s last blog post..Congressional Support for the White House Vegetable Garden

  • Oh, how maddening! All your hard work, nibbled to bits. Rrrrrrrrrrrrrgh! I feel your pain. Well, hope the second batch comes up pronto and the colors are at least pleasing, if not your ideal bath-dreamed ones. Stupid mice.

    Karen’s last blog post..What is a Tree Worth?

  • VP

    Oh no! :(

    I bought some Dicentra alba roots in the Autumn – I peered into my cold frame yesterday and there the little darlings were, getting all perky for mummy! BTW I dodn’t plant them out in the autumn because last year’s planting of them failed to show (perhaps something took a liking to those shoots?), so I wanted to make sure I had plants this time around!

    VP’s last blog post..The Kind of AGM Invitation I Like

  • Karen, what a lovely photo. I have just planted out the sweet peas I had raised in the greenhouse overwinter. I have learnt to keep them up high on (hopefully) unclimbable staging! so far so good.


    Gary Davis’s last blog post..Time to de-stress

  • Karen - An Artist's Garden

    Hi Everyone,

    Anna – I had planted, Lovejoy, Gwendaline, Flower arrangers blend, Norman Wisdom and Candy this year …. all gone. So I have now sown Cupani, Albutt Blue and Madame Butterfly.

    Gail – Shedman has made a mice proof sort of cold frame, raised off the ground, with a metal grid on the base, (bite on that mousy)

    Dobby – Of course you are not getting charge for the petrol :)

    Elizabeth, I know whatever sweetpeas I grow they will be lovely – but you hit the nail on the head I did rather moon over the varities I picked for this year. :) My goodness you grow a lot of sweetpeas too. How lovely.

    Sue – Thank goodness I don’t have rabbits in this garden … nightmare, poor you.

    Townmouse Double thank goodness I don’t have a racoon why does he want to play in your waterlily barrel I wonder?

    Daffodil Planter – I have both the alba and the regular Dicentra – the colour of the foliage of the alba is lovely just now – and yes, I am sure there will be more photos 😉

    Karen you are so right – stupid mice :(

    VP – how exciting! I look forward to swapping Dicentra alba pics with you 😉

    Garry – trust me when I say the Welsh mice have climbing ropes and crampons!

  • Hi Karen, I am so sorry about the losses. Thanks for the loo roll tip. This year I started some sweet peas inside with the heat mat and light set up with good results in case the outdoor sown ones failed. I had been blaming the rabbits for eating the small pea and sweet pea shoots, it might have been mice. Kitty brought a gift of a dead mouse to the deck door last week. He was praised highly. I am jealous of your Dicentra up so well. We are still hunting for the first emergence of ours.

    Frances’s last blog post..A Place To Dream

  • Oh, I get so frustrated with the critters in my garden. Lately, they’ve been eating our tomatoes right off the vine :(
    Hope you end up with lots of sweet peas, they’re a favorite of mine, also.

    Karrita~ My Mother’s Garden’s last blog post..Spring Birdhouses

  • Not good is it?!

    I once heard a tip for peas, and although I don’t know if it works for sweet peas, it must be worth a go! All you have to do is soak the seed in paraffin prior to planting. Apparently mice don’t like the scent/taste and don’t bother and it also does no harm to the pea. I have never tried it as I don’t have problems with mice and I also don’t fancy soaking edibles in paraffin! lol But i’d give it a go on ornamentals!

    Great blog!

    Ryan’s last blog post..Triumphant trumpets!

  • Oh dear – the word obviously got around that your greenhouse was full of tasty snacks! Pity the mice won’t eat their greens and prefer seeds. Hope your Alcatraz cold frame works. An electric fence could be plan C.

    easygardener’s last blog post..Blown away, so vegetable seeds stay indoors

  • How excrutiatingly annoying!

    Mind, I’m jealous that you grow them at all. I love sweet peas, the colours, the scents, their exuberance . . . but I can hardly exist in the same county with them without expriring from hay fever – simply can’t breathe. OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I’ll simply have to enjoy the photos of yours when they flower.


    Lucy Corrander’s last blog post..FISHING ROD AND BROOM

  • I hope these new sown sweet peas turn out to be your best ever! It’s so disheartening when disaster strikes.

    What do you make your teepees from?


    Rob (ourfrenchgarden)’s last blog post..Willy De Wilde

  • Those awful awful mice. Their actions really have to make you wonder what it is they think when chewing up anything such as cardboard and plants! I hate them all. On a good note, your bleeding heart looks just like mine. I dug and moved three but they suffered no shock (Phew!) and are in the bud stage too. It seems like just yesterday it was fall.

    tina’s last blog post..Pulmonaria: A Colorful Plant for the Shade Garden

  • Very thoughtful of you to share your divine peas with the mice. I have occasional mouse issues here, but nothing at all like your scary disappointments. It’s also possible I’m attributing my problems to other creatures. Looks like they spared your dicentra and left you something divine to look at!

    lostlandscape(James)’s last blog i dare plant this?

  • We can just become more persistent, can’t we?? Glad you’ve discovered something that might alleviate your mouse problem. Now, what about squirrels eating grape hyacinth and crocus blossoms? Hmphf! Hang in there, you will be posting some beautiful photos before long!

    Shady Gardener’s last blog post..Okay, Nan! A Word About Wildlife!

  • I just notice the white bleeding heart in my own garden is active. I long for that to become a big patch. I’m planting some of the pink this year also.

    MNGarden’s last blog post..Honesty In The Garden