Remind Me Again, What Good Are Gophers?

Author: Meera, October 27, 2013


Cecile Brunner forms an arch over a fountain, creating a quiet place for meditation

Cecile Brunner forms an arch over a statue of the Virgin Mary in one of the prettiest and most peaceful areas of my garden


The lovely Cecile Brunner rose that serves as the anchor for a small meditation garden on the northwest side of my little farmhouse suddenly appears yellowed, leafless, and lifeless. Honest to goodness, she looks like she’s croaked. It’s certainly a strange turn of events, since she had numerous new canes and the leaves were shiny and healthy only a week ago.


There is a small eruption of new dirt nearby–suggestive of moles (insect eaters) and gophers (vegetarians) and maybe voles–(voles eat roots but  don’t leave mounds). So my rose problem might actually be two-fold–either way–it’s underground.


I could dig and back fill those tunnels with dirt and maybe I should. I’ve heard you can break a leg stepping into a gopher hole and I’m not talking livestock here. I wonder if the vole and gopher are sharing a network of tunnels down there dead-ending in the gopher’s bunker.
I gave the poor rose a big drink of water as soon as I discovered her condition, not knowing what else to do. As I stood there, watering with hose in hand, I saw the earth around the rose’s root cave in. Seriously?


So I’m thinking there must be a one heck of a big tunnel. This is war! I decide to stick the hose right into the tunnel and fill it with as much water as that hole will hold . . . and then some.



You might expect purple iris to bloom around Easter but in late October?

You might expect purple iris to bloom around Easter but in late October?



Strangely, while I’m dealing with the rose problem, I look past the fresh dirt mound and notice that one of the Dutch purple irises in a bed of a hundred or more has broken into full bloom. What gives? Those beauties normally bloom around Easter. I wonder why the voles haven’t attacked the rhizomes of the irises.


The condition of the Cecile Brunner climbing rose breaks my heart. Maybe she’ll spring back to life to bloom again next spring. For now, I’ll clip the beautiful iris and tuck it into a vase with some roses from other bushes on the farmette.  That done, I’ll put an all-out effort into finding out  how to get rid of those underground buck-tooth bandits . . . for good. Feel free to leave me your ideas. I’ve tried almost everything I’ve read on the Internet.




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