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That cute bunny can ruin a garden.

So how do you keep the rabbits away?

OK, Easter is over, and I can say what I think about bunnies. All of you fuzzy little babies need to cover your ears.

The Beast and I were walking the property Tuesday, him trying to water every plant and me taking stock of what needs to be done this weekend. He is thorough, so there is plenty of time to inspect each plant.

The ferns are unfurling as scheduled, the variegated hostas out front can use some thinning, and the hydrangeas need a massive cleanup.

Those overcrowded daylilies need to move to the mushy spot in the backyard, and … wait … what the heck happened to the redbud?

The 10-inch-high, nicely arching seedling I’ve been coddling – the perfect filler for the new front yard bed – is snipped off, right where the first heart-shaped leaves of the season should be.

The arching parts are gone. It’s a forked twig. The sharp ends look as if someone pulled out a pocketknife and decided to make the world’s smallest marshmallow stick.

If I hadn’t seen this M.O. before, I might have thought some juvenile was being delinquent. The culprit, as most of you gardeners suspect, is a rabbit.

What they do, in their “I can haz redbud, nom nom nom” fashion, is stand up on their cute little bunny haunches and nibble, nibble, nibble the tasty bits until they get to the parts that are a little tough and not so tasty.

That’s when they move on to your lettuce, your carrots and your flower beds, munching merrily away. Many a mild-mannered gardener has wanted to go all Mr. McGregor after a bunny raid. As a child, I cheered for Peter Rabbit in the Beatrix Potter classic. As a grownup, I can understand why the farmer was shaking a rake and wondering where he put that recipe for lapin À la cocette.

How can something so darned cute be so darned destructive? They make us go from aww to argh in 1 second flat.

I had a little cage around the redbud baby all last season but took it down after The Beast became fixated on watering it. Next time, I’ll be the alpha, leave the cage and make my dog lift his leg elsewhere.

In the meantime, how do you curb chubby bunnies without plugging in the Crock Pot for rabbit stew?

I plant lettuce and other tempting tidbits in pots that are taller than a rabbit standing up. Eighteen inches is likely to be enough. If you also have deer, though, these will be like salad bowls.

Experts say that Bambi and Thumper are grazers who follow their noses to the yummiest smelling snacks. Some people stuff people, dog and cat hair into pantyhose and hang the gross ornaments around their yards.

Some people scatter blood meal fertilizer, and some men have been known to do around their gardens what my dog does around my yard. Besides risking a visit from the police and fewer invites to neighborhood cookouts, I wouldn’t recommend that option. Besides, if carnivore Beast urine doesn’t do the trick, why should yours?

Motion sensors and lawn sprinklers might work as well – anything to interrupt the grazing process.

Or you could simply choose to plant more things that rabbits find less appetizing. If they are really hungry, nothing is safe, but these are my top 10 flowering plants that have never had rabbit damage:

•Daylily

•Peony

•Anise hyssop

•Daffodil

•Foxglove

•Lemon balm (Beware, it can take over the yard.)

•Lamb’s ears

•Catmint

•Hellebore

•Astilbe

What do you do to deter wascally wabbits? Send your tips to the email address below. Nothing gory, please.

Anne Gregory is a garden putterer, not a gardening expert, and JournalGazette.net writer and editor. Garden photos (JPEGs, please) and tips may be sent to garden@jg.net (please put “The Dirt” in the subject line) or 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

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