Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Tiger slug


“There is a form of hypocrisy common to nearly all gardeners. It does not affect only the gentle amateur, but has been known to affect even the most hardened professional, who is not, generally speaking, a sentimental or squeamish man. It is the human weakness which, accompanying our determination to rid ourselves of slugs and snails, makes us reluctant next morning to contemplate the result of our overnight efforts.
Having enjoyed our own good breakfast, we come out to behold the slimy greenish remains. Big black slugs, four inches long; little black slugs, one inch long; snails exuding their entrails from under their beautiful delicate shells… Meta and sawdust have done their work only too well. In what agony, during the dark hours, have these miserable members of God’s creation perished?...
It is all very painful, unpleasant and even nauseating. What is to be done about it? We must abolish our frail brother with his tender horns, or else sacrifice our seedlings: we have the choice. The seedlings, I think, will win. We must kill their enemies, but, if we are humane in our hearts, we will commit this slaughter with the least distressing offence to our hypocritical selves.”
Vita Sackville-West, 1951.


Spare a thought too for Mr Toad, nestled in the hole. And not a motor car in sight!

15 comments:

Janet said...

I'm one of these folk who throw slugs and snails over the back fence. I have a Norwegian friend who patrols her garden with a pair of scissors cutting the offending snails and slugs in two. Someone else ( canadian this time)made a brew of slugs and sprayed it into the seedlings... Yuck. I must admit to squashing the odd vine weevil....

Rosemary said...

I do have a strong dislike of slugs and snails, but I could not kill them. The Tiger slug is rather magnificent.

Prue said...

I just love Vita Sackville West's way with words :) Thanks for the extract.

Being a biologist by training, I have to put in a good word for slugs and snails - they evolved and have their place in the grand scheme of things. Not slugs' fault if they look revolting and eat plants. And they provide food for hedgehogs, toads and thrushes.

I don't kill slugs and snails. Yet there is little damage to my plants - perhaps because it's a wildlife garden things seem to work out well for all.

So come on! Have a 'Be nice to slugs and snails' month in your garden :)

Helen O'Donnell said...

Wonderful picture of the toad! I confess, without too much remorse, I am a killer of slugs. After gardening in the Pacific Northwest for years, it was hard not to be. A lady I gardened for would run around at dusk in her party cloths and heartlessly kill slugs with her high heels! I am pretty sure Vita would not approve!:)

Pam's English Garden said...

Dear Bertie, I find slugs nauseating, but try to be humane, as I have a wildlife garden. I agree with Prue's comments. P.

Michael said...

I don't think I ever really KILL snails and slugs. I could swear that the ones which appear in my garden the next morning are the ones I tried to eradicate the day before.....

Elephant's Eye said...

I'm with Prue and Pam. The odd slug and a few snails live in peace, unless found and eaten by birds or the tabakrolletjie snakes. But then you have to live in peace with the snakes in turn.

Besides, the lady who cuts them in half, or stamps on them - it is curious, there are always MORE!

Lorna Watson said...

Lovely spooky toad photo.

Petra Hoyer Millar said...

As a gardener not sure I am allowed to say this, but that tiger slug is very beautiful. Am sure that the ones that have met my boot were not that pretty....

Jess said...

I do find them disgusting I have to say, but that is not why they do often go the way of the wicked witch of the east with me... they really do do tremendous damage to my garden and no amount of live at let live will change that. Those that think otherwise are lucky, and have environments that don't host them by the thousands like others do, or have more natural predators. In those types of areas I would think it a pretty unreasonable thing to be offing them.

Now the sentiment on hypocrisy I totally agree with... us gardeners are some of the worst.

Beegirl said...

That is one giant slug! Great capture!

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

I allow slugs to dine on my compost pile, but not in the garden. I should admit that some of them look rather pretty, especially orange ones. One of those beauties can be seen here: http://tanyasgarden.blogspot.com/2011/09/isnt-he-handsome.html
The more I learn about slugs, the more hesitant I get killing them. They are part of our world. Your tiger slug is handsome!

jayneonweedstreet said...

I try to let the snakes and frogs have their way with the slugs. The temptation is great, however, when I find one hiding beneath the pot of a favorite plant, ready to come out for a nocturnal feast!

Naomi/Outofmyshed said...

Have given up killing snails and slugs as they are just too numerous in my garden. Now plant plants that aren't so delicious to them and making a pond this winter to encourage frogs and more toads into the garden.Quite happy when I accidentally squash a snail underfoot on a rainy day though!

Bertie Bainbridge said...

*no tiger slugs were killed in the making of this post*

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