Gardening on a mountainside in a sparsely populated area means that I don’t deal very often with hungry deer or rabbits coming out of the forest. I do, however, have ample leafy hiding places for slugs and snails, my constant enemies. Though I am vigilant about removing the pests and setting beer traps (I also brew beer so I have a lot of sub-par bottles hanging around), In the end my best defense is psychological, and is one of the very first things I learned in gardening. George Schenk said it best: "Above all, the best means of dealing with garden pests is often the practice of tolerance: accepting the fact that a certain portion of the garden is going to be eaten." In the spirit of cooperation, therefore, I sometimes plant particularly relished plants as slug decoys. Two small Campanula carpatica ‘white clips’ plants serve this purpose admirably to protect my Asarum canadensis, and though I really don’t care about the harebells, they have grown despite their stripped stems, and even flower. What’s your worst garden pest, and how do you cope with their damage?
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.