They took advantage of my trip to Mom's, chowing down on about a third of the plants in the shade garden.
Casualties included phlox, coneflowers, asters, bellflowers, heucheras, monardas, an ornamental grape vine, hostas, baby hydrangeas started from cuttings, and more. The grape vine (photo above,) was looking so pretty with it's bright burgundy foliage. Asters, including a couple of blogalong passalongs gifted me by Gail earlier in the season, were in full, glorious bloom. . . were. . . now they're stubs. Golden ragwort, PPPP, and a penstemon (possibly Penstemon X?) Gail sent, though not in bloom, weren't touched.
They ate my favorite coneflowers too. These coneflowers, in bloom since late June, held their blooms a long time. Seeds still haven't matured. There's only one lonely bloom left to save seeds from. Even if time is running out for seeds to mature, they're not getting that one, nope, not if I can help it.
I'm thankful they didn't dig anything up. Squirrels have a habit of doing that around here, especially small transplants. There are quite a few small seedlings and divisions planted before the trip. They were, surprisingly, untouched.
If it had to happen, I'm glad they waited until nearly the end of the season. Maybe I should thank them for the time I won't be spending cleaning up the garden next spring. Surprisingly, (knock on wood,) they didn't touch the veggie garden all season, not even while I was gone, not even a nibble. I'm glad for that.
Still, I find myself fantasizing about rabbit stew and barbecued squirrel.