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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Monday, June 18, 2007


It wasn't my plan to spend much time in my yard today. Somehow once I get started I find it difficult to find a stopping place. This morning my plan was only to clean the pool filter and do a small amount of hand watering. It is my usual routine to carry my pruning shears with me wherever I am in the yard... just in case. As the story goes I transitioned from the pool filter to doing some dead-heading and weed pulling. I rounded a corner of salvia plants and there lie a 3 foot long snake. I've see it before. Not in the same area. I don't like snakes.

When I first moved into this house 23 years ago, if I saw a snake I would hunt it down and kill it or I couldn't rest. Now I just let them be. I figure they eat the mice and probably some other varmints. I'm not sure what kind of snake this was, I will look it up on the internet later but I think it was probably some type of garden snake. He was mustard color with brown stripes longwise from head to tail.


  1. okay, now i'm officially weirded out. i HATE snakes. and I'm still at that stage where i want to hunt them down and kill them before i rest. of course, I don't actually hunt them down. i knock on all my neighbors' doors until i find an alpha male ready and willing to chop their heads off with a shovel. hope ebear doesn't find him next time he's going for a wal-wal. :o)

  2. the truth about snakes is that they really don't like people. with the dozens of snakes i have encountered over the years not a single one has ever tried to get 'at' me. they always move 'away' from me. my rule of thumb is to give them their space and not antagonize. they typically slither away to a hiding place. hope this bit of info is some comfort to mlm.

  3. the only good snake is a dead snake.

    Actually, they do eat the varmits which can really be a nuisance to any garden.

    In our particular garden the squirrels are really doing a number by digging holes everywhere. It is tough when young plants/flowers that haven't fully taken root yet get pulled up and have their roots damaged. If you know any squirrel eating snakes, send them our way.

  4. nathan talbot, hmmm... are you sure you are dealing with squirrels or could it be armadillas? they can do quick damage the way they root around with their noses looking for food in the soil.

    i actually don't think i have ever had a problem with squirrels in my flowers. my main complaint with squirrels is trying to keep them off of my bird feeders & the fact that they remind me of rodents.

    i like your idea of a squirrel eating snake.

  5. It is squirrels. I have watched them work. I have also seen what an armidillo can do...where was that..oh yeah in YOUR garden.:)

    I digress. I have watched the squirrles do their digging and seen the results. They are small holes and the most damage is done to juvenile or freshly planted plants. Once the beds have matured some it is not as much of a problem. Ground Cayenne pepper has helped some but it washes away quickly and must be reapplied. Also of note. Do not get the pepper on the pedals of the flowers or it will burn them.

    I think the only remedy is going to be a quiet but lethal pellet gun.

  6. NT,

    Can I borrow that pellet gun when you're done with it? Would like to use it on the ice cream truck guy and the lawn man who mows at 6:30 in the morning. And the people who ignore my "don't ring doorbell sign."

  7. i have learned something. never have used ground cayenne pepper but i can see how it would burn and it would wash away easily.

    i do remember using black pepper years back in an attempt to train a dog not to dig... but that's another subject.

    i have noted that squirrels are not easy to learn. although one thought might be to try reverse psychology and hang a feeder just for them... maybe they would leave your flowers alone.

    i personally refuse to feed them... i know that sounds terrible but they are pesky and we have dozens of them running around in our trees making messes all over my freshly manicured lawn.

    can't say i condone the lethal pellet gun but i can't blame you for trying.

  8. don't even get me started on the squirrels. we have plenty in our back yard, and their favorite activity is chewing through our city-issued, heavy blue plastic trash can, then rummaging through our garbage, leaving the can and sometimes our yard a horrible, smelly mess. we're on our third can.

    i've never tried cayenne pepper, but just about everything else. the pellet gun sounds good, and more legal than a .22 loaded with snake shot, which also works. we've recently tried wiping the top of the can down with ammonia, and that may be working. too early to tell for sure. if all else fails, there's this....

  9. DOC,

    I heard about someone doing that ammonia thing with their trash cans, wait, I think it was DOC Cromer...turns out his dog licked the thing and got REALLY sick. Keep Mo-Mo away!

  10. after a little research turns out the snake I encountered this morning was a yellow rat snake. guess what they like to eat? you guessed it... rats and mice and other small critter, even birds. i don't mind any of that but the characteristic i found most creepy is they are great tree climbers. on the ground is one thing but surprising me in a tree or a bush is quite another. they aren't poisonous but i don't want to run into it again especially not in a tree.

    Doc, your link to the squirrel catapult was funny. i hope your ammonia solution works, i would hate for you to toss squirrels into your neighbor's yards with a catapult.

  11. Amazingly, just tonight after reading and commenting on the blog my wife came running in the house during her daily watering routine to alert me of a snake in one of our flower beds. I quickly went out to check to see what type it was, and it too was a rat snake. I still went and got the shovel and came very close to dispatching it with quick blow to the base of its head, but alas I decided to hold off because of this blog. This blog saved the life of a snake today. I would have never let it live otherwise.

    Interestingly I watched it meander to the next bed over and with great ease slither right up a tree and into the branches at least 20 feet up. If it decides to drop down on me one day or I meet up with him again in a branch I can't promise I will be so kind again.

    Good luck with the squirrels Doc, it sounds like they are making it personal.:) I know the ones in my yard love to dig holes while I am watching them. I could swear they are grinning at me, and let me tell you I can see them laughing behind those beady little eyes.

  12. NT: you let a snake live because of this blog...

    darn this blog.

  13. MH: I have been second guessing my decision ever since....

  14. Congratulations on your new blog. It is attractively done. Of course, a creative person can be ... well ... creative in almost anything they do. And having been in and enjoyed your garden, I can testify to its beauty.

    So far, what I have learned from your blog about gardening besides the beauty, satisfaction, and uplifting environment is that it is also 'YARD WORK' and HAZARDOUS. I know for some the benefits are worth it, but the years in the process of developing a garden haven are self-sacrificing toil and a lot of investment in time-management, energy, and hard-earned $$'s. One's garden, while providing beauty, serenity, and color, also provides sore muscles, aggravation, and constant maintenance. It is a trade-off, I guess.

    I used to love gardening in my younger years. My every spare dollar was spent on plants,shrubs or fertilizer. If I received a monetary gift for my birthday, I would sooner spend it on a new addition to the annuals than on myself. I chose to use my free time pruning, repotting and landscaping rather than indoor hobbies. I was also inspired by my mother-in-law, who had a gorgeous yard, and who shared some of her plants with me. I still have some of those offerings in my yard today. I guess gardening talents and the love of it can be inherited. What do you think?

    Nowadays though, I think simple gardening is the best for me. Just shrubs that need a little pruning now and then, some potted plants on the patio, some flowering trees that only need annual cutting back (done by my husband), and a lawn service that insures that the grass remains bug and weed free. It is not that I don't still enjoy gardening, but I don't have the youthful energy and stamina I once had. It is too bad, because I still have schemes and dreams about my landscaping, just not up to the production. I maintain the pruning, and most of the weeding, and I supervise the transplanting or new planting of additions to the garden (which my husband is willing to do for me).

    Also, these days, I want to spend more of my free time doing less demanding things. Now that I am involved in two blog spots, I may never get outside to attend to the garden. Fortunately, my garden is more or less self-sustaining. And I will just visit your sanctuary now and then, to admire and enjoy your efforts. It is kind of like having a fantasy yard, without all the HARD WORK and HAZARDS. Snakes, ugh! Hmm, kind of makes me thing of another garden, known as Eden! Even up in trees also! Wow, I guess gardens and snakes just go together!

    Again, congratulations on your new blog. Very lovely!

  15. A side note to NT: Squirrels like to dig! They also like to eat certain plant roots, which can be somewhat nut like. And they dig to bury their winter food of acorns. If you have a lot of oak trees, you will always have squirrels and they will constantly dig holes in your yard and garden. It is just another HAZARD of gardening it is impossible to avoid. One thing you can try is put down an under layer of porous plastic (which you can find at any nursery) before you fill in with plants and mulch. Squirrels wont be so apt to dig through the garden. You just have to be sure the plants are sufficiently watered at their roots.

    Now about the tree climbing snakes ... I don't know how to discourage them. Be sure you contact the local chapter of the Snake Protection Agency before causing them any harm! You could be charged with snake cruelty if you shoot them with your pellet gun!

  16. holy comments, batman! i have nothing to comment other than the surprise at so many comments about snakes.

    welcome to the blog world, meems.

  17. NT: i think i'm with you on the second guess. i keep thinking about that snake in a tree. yours and mine.

  18. welcome seniorgardener and moorelife. what a nice surprise.

    SG: yes, i think there is some heredity involved. like you said, it even goes back a couple of generations. and like i told mlm, i'm happy for you to enjoy my sanctuary anytime.

    ML: thanks for visiting. i checked out your blog's' as well. looking forward to the snap it blog to get up and running. come back anytime... i promise we will talk about more than snakes.

  19. meems, I clicked on your creepy, crawly, etc. critters and read the whole thing! I loved it. Also, want to say I think your blog overall is beautiful. I like your layout and all the information you put right there for all to see and get a mental handle on where you are and what it is like there. Of course it goes without saying (but I will anyway), your photos are outstanding!


Have a blessed day,

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