The Never-ending Battle

I have to say, the garden wildlife is taking the whatsits round here. The local critters really need to remember whose garden this is. Earlier in the year I simply gave up on the troughs of cut-and-come-again salad after the third sowing, having discovered that the sweet little green shoots, which I had anticipated harvesting within weeks but which mysteriously disappeared, had been uprooted by the portly pigeons strutting round the garden. Plucked-and-never-seen-again salad, I fear.

Nevertheless, this afternoon I remembered to pop into the garden to pick the raspberries that have been doing us proud (on a regime of almost total neglect, I might add). Not so easy as you might think. I had to battle with innumerable species just to pick my single colanderful of juicy sweetness – the fruit the greedy birds have deigned to leave as a tip for the gardeners. An interesting assortment of variously-sized spiders and a rather fine green and black shield bug were the first to shake out of the canes today.

For once, and rather surprisingly, they weren’t absolutely heaving with ‘airywags’; normally every other leaf seems to hide an earwig or two and they drop unwarily into the colander where they slither round unable to exit unaided, though one or two manage to sneak out of the holes. Fool that I am, I whip them out and put them back to fight another day!

Then I discovered why some of the canes are so bowed down; not so much the weight of fruit on them (though to be fair they have done well) as the hefty, rather overfed snails lurking under so many of the leaves. Not only they, but their tiny offspring littered the raspberry leaves, a positive population explosion.

Once inside and rinsed, even more little friends scuttle out of the fruity harvest: a few tiny black mites or bugs and what I assume to be fruit flies of some sort (that’s fair enough, the clue is in the name, I guess!) made their escape. Finally the fruit was actually fit for eating – or so I thought.

As I went through the pile, berry by berry, a last tiny pal emerged… I had to get the camera. It went through all sorts of cuteness and posed quite nicely, so I rewarded it with its very own raspberry and popped it back outside, where I will no doubt continue to hurl epithets at it as it and its army of relatives lay waste to what passes for our garden.

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