A mole in a garden means disaster and I'm sure that most gardeners have had to deal with moles, maybe more than once. Some of you may have bought traps or different devices for chasing them away, but did you know that some plants can do this better than any device?
The first time I met a mole was three years ago. I didn't know for sure what a mole does, but I've learned it the hard way. It was the first year when my lawn was growing beautifully and I had just gotten rid of the weeds after a very hard work, during all previous summer. And where do you think she started to dig? You guessed, in my lawn! At first it was a shallow tunnel in the flower bed along the fence. Everyday it got longer until it hit the lawn. What is it with these moles digging in people's lawn, anyway? Do they really know there is a lawn up there and they just want to mock of the gardener's work? Or, maybe, do they just find more bugs and worms to eat between the grass roots? This seems to be the truth, that the moles like to dig in wet, fertile soil because it's easier and because they can find lots of worms in there. The more you care for your garden and lawn and water them everyday, the better increases the chance of having a mole in your garden. So this is why I've been having "Miss Mole" (as I like to call her) visit in my garden every year! After trying different methods for chasing her away, I started to watch her when she was digging so I could catch her. Unfortunately, when trying to get her out I killed the mole, and it broke my heart, but the gardener in me knew I had to do this. It seems that I was lucky and not many people can catch a mole just with a shovel, as I did. Later I ordered two vibration devices for chasing away the moles and buried them in my garden - in opposite corners - so that no other mole will ever dare to dig into my garden, ever again. I'm sure the moles must have had a good laugh about this!
The following spring, another mole was digging in my garden, in a different location, farther from the buried devices. I was just figuring out the damages that the other mole did to my hyacinths - maybe because I had forgotten to step on all the shallow tunnels she had made, or maybe the voles came through the tunnels and ate the bulbs - I will never know, but I've learned from this experience. The most important thing is not to stamp the mole hills in the lawn because those are excess dirt coming from the deeper tunnels and it'll result a large bare patch in the grass. I made this mistake and I had to sow grass seeds on that bare patch.
When I first saw the shallow tunnels appearing again that spring, I first stepped on them and then hurried to move a vibration device closer to where the mole was digging, hoping it would stop her. I must confess I had forgotten to change the batteries from the only vibration device I had left in my lawn. I had managed to break the other one with the mower. I recommend remembering to keep the vibration device head clear of grass, if you don't want to buy a new device and maybe a new mower! So I changed the batteries and the device started to vibrate and beep, but the mole kept on coming towards it, through the garden, straight forward to my lawn. I had no peace, I had to find that mole and get rid of her! I kept on going out to watch what she was doing, trying to catch her while she was digging. I will spare you of the bloody details and I will just tell you that I caught her again. For the second time, I had to get rid of a mole all by myself, with all the vibration device beeping and vibrating, which seemed to be so reassuring at the time I bought it.
This leads me to this summer's new mole visitor which came about the same part of the garden the first one came, three years ago, on the opposite part from where the vibration device was - again, without batteries! The moles seem to have made many tunnels in there, like highways, which any of them may use anytime. I'm not digging very often in that particular flower bed, so the "highways" must have been still there. The mole came through one of those "highways" which led her into my flower bed. She started to dig it for me and I was so grateful for that. Yet, I still wanted to catch her! I tried several times, but she was too smart and managed to run every time. So I just continued to watch what she was doing everyday and stepped on every shallow tunnel she had made. I was happy that she was only digging in that flower bed and wasn't heading towards the lawn. She became my friend and I was talking to her everyday, thanking her for what she was doing. I never even thought of changing the batteries for the vibration device anymore! Watering was so much easier on that flower bed, after Miss Mole's digging, and the plants were looking great. But it was time I chased her away and moved forward, do other things that I needed to do. But this time I was going to use another method for chasing her, much nicer and easier than the ones I used before.
This year I sowed marigold seeds in my garden for the first time and the seedlings were already grown by the time Miss Mole was digging. I'm allergic to their powerful scent, but they remind me so much of my beloved Grandpa that I took the chance to have them in my garden, at all risks. Having the marigold seedlings already in my garden I told myself, why not? I could try the method for chasing the moles away I knew about for a few years, but which I never had the chance to apply before. I was always afraid that I would sneeze and have itchy nose, ears and throat and that I will need more allergy pills. As I've told you before, the first year I had a mole in my garden, I searched for different methods of chasing away moles and none was better at that time of year (in the fall) as the vibration devices. But I was still remembering about the marigolds and daffodills barrier which can keep away the moles from one's garden.  So I planted the marigold seedlings along the whole flower bed where she has been digging for a few weeks. The next day there was no digging anymore and Miss Mole seemed to have gone. I was so thrilled that I discovered the best method for chasing away the moles without having to watch them all day and kill them in the end. But wait, the story doesn't end here, there's more! My friend, the mole, wasn't gone yet, she had just moved to another location, in the vegetable garden, where she did her best too and dug up along the beans patch. Good girl!
I don't know what's got into her that she changed direction backwards and attacked my lawn. That was unacceptable and she had to go, by all means! So the war started, for real this time, and our friendship was gone! She dug up near all the bushes I have in my lawn, but she also made a small mole hill in the lawn. I started to watch her again, I even made a video with her getting the soil out and making a mole hill. But this video is much better than mine, if you want to see how a mole hill is made :
Something must have scared away Miss Mole again, maybe the same marigolds' scent, but she was gone after doing that last mole hill. Could have been Mr. Vole who seemed to like walking through her tunnels and dig his way out to my garden? Or, maybe, I scared her away with my camera. Whatever happened, I was so relieved and happy that she was gone! The marigold barrier is growing bigger and bigger everyday and they're blooming now. The allergy pills are doing their job and I'm feeling fine. All that matters is that the marigolds are keeping away the moles from my garden and they are also reminding me of my Grandpa. What more could I ask for?