Monday, October 29, 2007


I recently became the keeper of a few orchids. Imagine my thrill when I learned that I, a gardener of dubious merit at best, was about to get to watch them burst into bloom.

Imagine my chagrin when I found that someone else also liked my orchid buds.

I frantically ran to my orchid assembly instructions to see what to do. It named about a half-dozen midges, mites, weevils, roaches, and other pestilential scourges that love nibbling away at tender orchid buds. I studied the situation. I did not see whatever critter was doing the nibbling. At a loss to determine what was doing the drilling, I sprayed the buds with an all-purpose bug-killer. I drenched them well.

That apparently tasted good to the culprit. Every morning I’d wake up and find more damage done.

Finally I busted the midnight snacker. I don’t know where the slug had been hiding during the day (in the loose orchid soil, no doubt), but when I flipped on the light last night I caught it in the act.

I think it’s too late to save the buds.

I hope the slug is a good swimmer. It’s far downstream by now.


CaliforniaGirl said...

Judging from the fact you keep them inside, those hitchhikers might be the reason why we were not called to pick up any bloomers for the last year. I hope he was working alone.

mrjumbo said...

I hope the slug was working alone too. I haven't seen any friends so far.

When Mom fed snails to turtles in the atrium, she always made a point of making sure the turtles finished off the snails. Dad had created a snail- and slug-free zone in there, and Mom wanted to keep it that way.

I noticed a slime trail on the doormat in the atrium sometime this summer. One more thing at home I never had time to investigate. I guessed it had some reasonable explanation. Now I'm thinking we may have had an invasion.

Slugs could have come into the atrium on the orchids, which had been in someone else's greenhouse until we brought them home. I don't know how careful that greenhouse was about pest control. Or the slugs may have come in on something else--a cardboard box from the garage? Doesn't seem likely--and then spread to the orchids once we set them out in the atrium.

Come to think of it, though, I remember the orchids being set on a glass-top table, and for only a few days. I don't think any slugs would have had time to climb up onto the table in that amount of time, looking for new greenery. So probably the slug was an accidental tourist from the greenhouse. And maybe the atrium is still a slug-free zone.