Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Is this agro-forestry?

Sheep grazing Dales Canna stock beds

Dale McDonnell has recently recounted a tale of her current problems growing Cannas in rural Australia.

Due to having limited mobility for the past 11 months, the weeds in her stock beds were out of control, particularly the clover. There was also an issue that those of us in Northern Europe do not have to contend with, that of disturbing snakes hidden in this overgrowth!

In desperation, Dale turned their small flock of Wiltshire Horn ewes and lambs into the area. In just a few days they have done a wonderful job and now she can feel confident of getting on top of things, and is also much happier about toddling down the rows and not stepping on an unseen snake.

As usual, Dale is an observant journalist and concluded that:-
  • Most sheep do not like the taste of cannas.
  • One lamb adores them but is very fussy as to which varieties he munches. 'Lilian Cole' Italia' and 'Roma' are his favourites. Burgundy and variegated foliage is not to his taste.
  • 'King Humbert' makes a cool, inviting mattress to lay on when the temperature soars to blast furnace proportions. Result - flattened!
  • All sheep love to eat Daylilies.
Dale concluded that the damage done by the sheep was minimal, and on the whole it was a successful exercise.

Thanks Dale, we love your personal stories of life in Australia, and I will be less resentful of weeding our own beds when I remember that I don't have to contend with snakes, just the occasional toad!

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