P!ss off fox

Glancing out of the back window I was looking at the border when my eyes zoned in on something out of place. I should have suspected it after Chris heard the telltale screeching of sex last week. Yes, foxes have moved into the garden next to ours and one of the blighters dug out a one foot deep hole from our raised bed, almost removing our Eucalyptus gunnii. It definitely dug out a patch of snow drops, though the bulbs planted four years ago were nowhere to be found, taking a chunk of fence with them.

Turning to Twitter to release one of those exasperated gardening moans into the electronic ether, I had a flurry of messages of support back. Unfortunately, all of these messages recommended the use of male human urine (I’m guessing mine) as the number one deterrent. Our garden is overlooked by about ten or so different flats and houses which means there’s no chance of my antics going unnoticed. Leaving me faced with the rock and hard place of urinating around my garden in the fresh, open air or walking around with a bottle wee spraying it everywhere. Neither option is going to happen.

I also had a message asking why I’d want to remove a wild animal from our garden anyway, which did give me pause for thought given our garden is a wildlife garden. I like foxes but I’ve concluded I can’t let one large antisocial animal destroy something I’ve worked hard to create, that feeds so many insects and birds. I also worry about our cat Rumbles, despite the fact he has the unnatural ability to make the sound of an air-raid siren when on the defensive. A particularly odd thing to witness coming from a small beige fluff-ball. It’s as unterrifying as you are currently imagining.

What will I do about these new unwanted guests. As yet I’m unsure – the suggestion of using a shotgun in Clapham is probably a non-starter, not that I would harm a fox anyway – I suspect nothing but trying to shoo it off when I can and hope the neighbour’s dogs catch the foxy stench and join forces with me. The worry of course is that a happy fox can mean foxy babies in spring. Given our garden is so tiny and I open it in late summer to raise money for NGS charities, this could be a big problem.

In large gardens fox damage is frustrating but can be hidden, in small gardens we run a tightrope trying to keep them looking good when we need them to. When hail, wind, drought, unexpected frosts and marauding foxes happen it really is down heartening but more than that, it’s seriously damaging. Months if not years of work goes down the drain in the blink of an eye. You keep going of course.

Last week I saw a squirrel back in the garden too which means many of our bulbs should enjoy life while they can. That said, perhaps if the fox does leave it’ll take the squirrel with it.

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Jack Wallington

I'm an RHS qualified garden designer living in Clapham, London who loves growing plants and designing with them. Follow me on Twitter.

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2 thoughts on “P!ss off fox

  1. For all sorts of reasons, human (has to be male, as usual) pee won’t work. The two of you won’t produce enough (BTW, have you heard of buckets – you don’t need to perform in the garden itself) and in any event urban foxes are used to humans and their smells. It can work with foxes in rural areas (if you have a very large family) but won’t with your city dwellers. There are sonic devices but they would bother Rumbles as well. As your garden is a little on the small side, try Scoot Fox Repellent (search for it on Amazon). Too pricey for a large place but you could probably afford it. It’s eco-friendly and perfectly safe for humans and pets.

  2. Perhaps I could send you all the rabbits chomping their way through the garden here and the Fox would have something fun to do

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