Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Garden Pests

Theodor Storm, August (Agony Column), tr. Leonard Forster:
I beg to request the esteemed young gentlemen who intend to steal my apples and pears this year to restrict themselves as far as possible to this form of enjoyment, and not to trample down the carrots and peas in my vegetable beds.
Eden Phillpotts, My Garden (London: Country Life, 1906), pp. 198-200:
Prime of garden pests is the human boy. In the pupa stage this creature evadeth every lure, and causeth much anguish of mind within the confines of cultivated ground. He hath no eye to distinguish between the grass plat and the garden knot, but trampleth indifferently upon either, and loveth best to frisk over soil wherein rare and curious seeds are germinating. Glass hath an affinity or attraction for him, and when he breaketh the same, he lifteth up his voice shrilly in merriment; but maketh still louder sounds to indicate anguish, when captured and chastened. At the season of Spring he haunteth shrubberies, and leapeth out upon the innocent traveller with horrid, inarticulate sounds. The ear may mark his unseen progress through plantations by the snapping of green boughs and by the outcry of parent birds. Occasionally, in his efforts to secure the nurseries of fowl upon lofty trees or precipices, he falleth and breaketh his neck; but this seldom happeneth, because he hath a feline plenitude of lives, and, in the art of self-preservation, is ever very nimble, discreet, and unscrupulous. During the autumnal months he affecteth the place of fruit, and by strategy may there be taken at any time in the day with full pockets and full cheeks. He hath no special taste in fruits, but devoureth with the impartial profusion of the caterpillar and canker worm. The birds of the air surpass him by their wise patience, for they know to an hour when the perfection of plum or pear has come; but not so he.


There is no cure for the human boy save time. Then, by exceeding slow stages, he groweth into the adult organism, and either turneth from his mysterious courses toward justification of existence, or else, as too often happeneth, doth wax in wickedness, as well as in the power to perform it.

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