Land of my slugs (and snails)

Right, that’s IT.

The flaming slugs have eaten my strawberry (note the singular, by the way – that gives you some idea of its significance). It’s turned my mind, and I’ve turned to song – this is Wales, after all, Land of Song and all that.

So imagine the tune of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (aka Land of my Fathers), a male voice choir on the top of some mountain, probably Cadair Idris as the cafe on top of Snowdon (above) would distract from the moment, and a LOT of rain.

Do feel free to sing along.

The slugs ate my strawb’rry, they noshed it with glee
They chomped it and chewed it, they left none for me,
They’ve lunched on the lettuce, they’ve slimed the courgettes,
The broad beans are calling them home.

Hens! Hens! What I need now are some hens!
A cock’rel, some pullets or a nuclear device,
Machetes, an UZI – or hens.

My slugs like a beer and seem partial to salt,
And skanky old fleeces don’t cause them to halt
They abseil down hedges, they climb up the pots,
The mangetout are calling them home.

Hens! Hens! What I need now are some hens!
A cock’rel, two pullets or a nuclear device,
Machetes, an UZI – or hens.

And now, with an extra stanza and a revised chorus thanks to recent events – which I regard as blatant provocation – and the comments received, I bring you Hen Wlad Fy Ngwlithenni (aka Land of my Slugs, or at least I hope it is – I had to look it up, mae’n ddrwg gen i), part 2, to keep you up to date:

A slug in my greenhouse left traces to see,
Slime trails and chewed leaves were all waiting for me,
I sifted, I lifted, I rootled it out,
The peppers were calling it home.

Ducks! Ducks! Now what I need are some ducks!
Hens won’t help a bit as they’re really quite thick,
For action, I really need ducks…

and in case anyone thinks I’m being disrespectful, I’ll just add ‘pleidio wyf i’m gwlad’, and add that I was once a stand up comic. That probably explains a lot.

Here’s the real thing for anyone who doesn’t know it, as sung, inevitably, before a rugby match (with Scotland, in February this year):

(You might like to turn the volume down – the roof was on, so it was a bit on the loud side. How sensitive are slugs to noise? Do they have ears? Can I stun them by yelling?)


35 Comments Add yours

  1. paulinemulligan says:

    Fantastic, I sang along with it, husband out so I could sing as loud as I wanted!! Good to know you haven’t lost your sense of humour! The rain must stop soon mustn’t it, please?!

    1. kate says:

      Well, you’ve got to laugh… haven’t you????

      When is St Swithin’s Day? Hmm….

  2. Chortle – I woke up this morning and said to Shedman “we need some hens”, so funny that you have posted this to-day too.
    My Dahlias have been eaten to nubs, the larkspur has gone, and Shedman says he is never going to grow veg again.

    It is enough to make you weep 😦

    Actually, I am thinking a couple of ducks …..they might just do the trick and they could live in the middle of the pond.

    1. kate says:

      Um – I did wonder about using ‘ducks’ instead of ‘hens’ but decided the unavoidable rhyme would be just that – unavoidable…

      I’m with Shedman. Bugger the veg. I picked 23 slimy bastards off the broad beans last night – 23! – and another friend picked up so many they climbed out of the container. She and her partner are really organic and are usually (comparatively) nice to slugs, throwing them over their stream on the grounds they can’t swim – but the escape bid made her so cross she threw them IN the water, so they were presumably washed into Cardigan Bay pretty quick. Another friend has taken to chopping them in two with his secateurs (ergh).

  3. Christina says:

    Poor you! I am glad your sense of humour hasn’t deserted you; I feel a bit the same with the heat and wind; why am I trying to grow anything at all? Christina

    1. kate says:

      The winds are appalling, aren’t they? All – evidently – all over. Here last night it sounded, yet again, as though the house was going round Cape Horn in a tea clipper. Happily it’s calmed down now, but for how long?

      As I said, you’ve got to laugh….

  4. patientgardener says:

    Slugs were even on the news this morning – I think they said they were spanish ones! I use slug pellets (organic of course) and am getting through them at a rate of knots – at least the manufacturers will be doing well

    1. kate says:

      Spanish? Are they sure? I haven’t seen a hint of a celebratory flag, bowl of paella or castanet. Mind you, I suppose the latter would be useful for splatting….

      1. I heard something on the radio last week that the dreaded spanish slug was in the south, they are really bad news, I hope they are not in Wales, Frances

        1. kate says:

          I’m not sure what the difference is between Spanish slugs and ordinary pesky bastards. My lot are richly varied, and one (or more, agh) has got into the flipping greenhouse again and chewed holes in my peppers. I searched the greenhouse after the last attack, so my slugs are evidently masters of disguise. I’m thinking Zorro…

  5. jan rushby says:

    Excellent, I couldn’t agree more. Slimey bastards have gone beyond a joke. However I would suggest that you need ducks, not hens. Hens are remarkably dim, hide in the woodshed when it rains and don’t eat slugs. They do mug you for worms when you dig anywhere and scratch up your seedlings and mulch. I am fond of my rescue hens but they are useless in the garden apart from their bedding being a compost accelerator. They are too old and knackered to lay many eggs either but do have comic value. We have had a population explosion of slugs since our ducks were eaten by the fox. Must get some more.

    1. kate says:

      OK, the last thing I need is dim hens. I do have a friend who has ducks, perhaps they’d like a holiday? Good location – nice views; lots of entertainment (the male voice choir) and all the slugs they could wish for: large ones, small ones, black ones, grey ones, yellow ones and LOTS of the Big Orange Bastards. Karen: take note – ducks are the things to go for.

      I’ve just removed another NINE slugs – I thought they were supposed to lurk in daylight?

  6. wellywoman says:

    Oh Kate what can we do? I’ve actually got quite a lot of strawberries although a significant proportion have gone to slugs but it’s just so wet I can’t get out to pick them. I got soaked and covered in mud just harvesting some spuds yesterday. It’s chucking it down here and feeling thoroughly miserable. I’ve replanted a trough of baby salad plants 3 times now. Caught a slug in the daylight munching on them yesterday having wended its way around the slug pellets. Aaaaaaarrrrgggghhhhh!

    1. kate says:

      It’s impossible, isn’t it? I’ve lost track gf how often I’ve replanted the lettuce troughs, then I moved two into the greenhouse – checking them over first – and then I discovered a bastard slug had followed them in. Agh.

      My spuds are starting to rot. Not surprising as they’re sitting in what is effectively mud. Looks like the Western Front. Am harvesting like mad. Aaaaaaaaarrrrrgggghhhhhhhhhh indeed!!!

  7. Harriet says:

    Brilliant! The sing-a-long tune in this house is Al Stewart’s old hit ‘The Year of the Cat’ – sorry – ‘Snail’!!

    1. kate says:

      OK, you’ve got me doing that now. Argh….

      Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all these songs worked like snake charming, and they would rise up and allow themselves to be picked up and disposed of with ease? Hm.

  8. Dobby says:

    Oh dear Kate. It is either laugh or cry, and I would much rather laugh. Have you thought of putting sum lamps in the garden? If they are Spanish slugs, they may be attracted to the warmth and then shrivel.

    1. kate says:

      Hah Hah Hah. That’s hollow laughing.

      Went out last night, and I swear there were bastard slugs and snails all zooming towards the broad beans from various directions as though focussing in on a target. I threw some of them in the lane – they won’t come back after they’ve been squashed by a pick up – and the rest went in the green waste bin. Well, they’re compostable.

      1. Dobby says:

        I’ve just looked up slug recipes. How do slug fritters sound? There are other options as well. Tea at yours on Saturday?

        1. kate says:


          (Unfortunately I have a deadline, oh what a shame, but I’m sure Karen will love them…)

      2. Err …. Beggin’ you pardon, but Karen would not love slug fritters at all 😦

  9. elaine says:

    Don’t talk to be about slugs – I am just going out to collect another bucketful.

    1. kate says:

      Where are they all coming from? It’s like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but with extra slime…. I had one in my kitchen yesterday (YIKES)…

  10. LOL this is the second slug post I’ve read tonight where slugs ahve devoured strawberries! Loved your poem and sense of humour!

    1. kate says:

      Maybe there’s something sinister going on! Maybe they’re all communicating – ‘attack the strawberries, attack the strawberries…’ No, that’s too nightmarish!!

      1. Zombie slugs! Wait until the GM slugs move in! and we are their victims LOL

        1. kate says:


          (Mine are big enough already)

  11. Crystal says:

    As a fully paid up member of the Save Our Slugs campaign, I feel I must complain about this post. They are only doing what comes natural to them, which in your garden happens to be eating your strawberries and lettuce and…….
    Hang on a minute, I’ve just found one has been eating my strawberries too. Right that’s it. Where can I get some ducks ?

    1. kate says:

      Hah! Save Our Slugs, my ****.

      I’m wondering if cats could be trained to go after slugs, because I’ve just been given a very damp shrew – deceased – and it strikes me that shrews are inoffensive (well, until they go off), while slugs are BASTARDS and need to GO. I haven’t got any ducks, but I do have Next Door’s Cat, who must have some sort of purpose in life other than killing shrews and crapping in the flowerbeds.

      1. Crystal says:

        Just read your comment about throwing snails into the lane. I used to do that until I saw a TV programme about snails being like homing pigeons. They marked the shells of several snails and then dispersed them nearby. A few days later they were all back in the garden. So yours are probably heading back right now. Better head them off at the garden gate.

        1. kate says:


          Mind you, tractors use my lane quite a bit – well, one person’s tractor does. If I can get the timing right when I’m snail-hurling, then Goodbye Snail… No crawling back after being driven over. That’ll larn ’em. Eat my lettuces, will you?

  12. Haven’t laughed so much in weeks – thanks!

    1. kate says:

      Well, you’ve got to laugh, haven’t you?

      Apparently there’s a village show in England where they’ve introduced two new competition classes: longest slug and heaviest snail. I’m now chasing my slugs with a ruler.

  13. oh Kate lol,
    seriously sorry you are all having such a bad time in Wales,
    have you tried sand or fine grit around plants slugs don’t like it as it scratches their delicate skin,
    hedgehogs, we have a surplus on the Uists and Benbecula where they are not wanted as they eat the native ground nesting bird eggs, Frances

    1. kate says:

      I’ve tried ash and coffee grounds but I think I may have found a solution (or partly). A friend of mine has come up with a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar, not – I hasten to add – on the planet but nearby. Or on the slugs, if you can. He seems to enjoy using it…

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