Sunday, 2 October 2011

Floral Forensics

Okay everybody!

Get out your deerstalker...

...grab your magnifying glass and a little notepad...


(You may even bring along a calabash if you desire - just don't blow the smoke anywhere near me!)

Sold on Etsy here

Raise one eyebrow and adopt a quizzical pose...

(If that's your idea of quizzical, you're not trying nearly hard enough!)

...for there is sleuthing to be done!

Take a look at my little violas...

Not very blooming, are they?

A distinct lack of colour to brighten the cool days. (Okay, we'll have to pretend about that at the moment!)

This is the only near-complete flower left...

There are about five like this...

And the rest are like this...

Lots of flowerheads, but all stripped of their petals...

Two culprits have been suggested.
Birds or woodlice.  

(And by the way, seen scuttling away from the scene of the crime, were these two 'characters' (said with a Chicago accent)...

I nearly got close enough for a mug shot!

And I detect a certain purple-y red hue and the gargantuan proportions (for a woodlouse) may well come from having chomped its way through its 'share' of twenty-four burgundy and deep purple violas!

More circumstantial evidence: 
  • The wood pile is nearby.
  • I have never, ever seen a bird on the wall.
  • None of the plants look like they've been tugged at by birdy-beaks.

So are the woodlice guilty?  
Or is it some night-time birdy thieves?

Whoever it is,  what do I do about them?
Your detective skills would be much appreciated!


  1. I have no clue! How rubbish am I at sleuthing?! I had this happen to my flowers, but they were all got at by slugs who stripped them down over-night. I've never heard of woodlice doing that, and would be really interested to know how to deal with it. Sorry I can't be more helpful. Em xx

  2. Your case is so well presented and no doubt this case is solvable, however, I have not got one clue to offer to help. I do, however, thank you for keeping me in suspense. As the plot thickens, I remain,
    Helen xx

  3. So long as I can leave off the hat (too hot) and pass the single-eyebrow-rasing on to Son 2 and his dad (they practice, you know...), I'm up for the challenge!So far, a bit of Googling has told me that woodlice perfer to eat already decaying plant matter, but that they can chomp small holes in soft, new growth, particularly in greenhouses. It seems to me that the case against them is not yet watertight... I'll be back.

  4. The plot is thickening! Thanks for sticking up for the woodlice, Floss (if it gets to the point where they're charged, I'll point them in your direction for their defence!) Keep the comments coming!

  5. OK - Alan Titchmarsh says they're not guilty. Someone of unknown provenance (Diggin' Jo) says she saw them eating her violas in 2006. Reference here:;topicseen

  6. Well Watson, mmmmmm, difficult one here. I think the woodlice have been unfairly fingered for this particularly heinous crime as they are usualy to be found clearing up a crime scene not creating one.
    Looking at the leaves, I have a suspect, the leaf cutter bee, but as for those petals....... an accomplice of dastardly cunning, whose identity has yet to be revealed..........
    Carol xx

  7. Oh dear, I'm not going to be much help with this, don't know much about gardening! Call in CSI!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  8. This happens to my violas, I'm afraid I've always blamed snails/slugs...

  9. Violas are one flower that I cannot keep, ever! they always get eaten, exactly like that!! my Mum is a keen gardener so I will ask her as I have not a clue. I have always blamed slugs but you never know!
    Have a lovely week,
    Andrea x

  10. I will just hold that pipe in my mouth but no smoking for me at all! :-) My first thought was not to blame those little rollie-pollies as we call them but slugs and snails. I also just looked it up and spider mites like to nibble at them too. Not even sure if I have ever seen a spider mite but there you have it. :-)

    Hugs from Holland ~

  11. I'd put earwigs in the frame though I must admit I didn't know woodlice ate plants. You have seen woodlice loitering in the vicinity and they do say the culprit always returns to the scene of crime.
    I'd suggest you put your deerstalker on after dark and go out with a torch and see if you can catch the culprits red handed or in this case purpled mouthed!

  12. Guilty as charged.
    No idea...a shot gun?
    love your new photo header, cute hedgehog
    love jooles x

  13. I think it's

    Mrs Hedgehog
    In the garden,
    With her prickles


    (well I blamed her for eating mine)

  14. If it's Mrs Prickles, she can have them - her need is greater than mine!

  15. I wish she'd eat those slugs too
    (the big fat orangey ones are horrid)