Renewed vigilance seems to have got the molluscs under control, with peas and beans finally clambering, unmolested, over one of my bodged constructions on the back-fence.

I have blasted a million aphids with the power of vegetable-based soap product, before the ladybirds turned up in the nick of time – a bit like all those scenes in the Lord of the Rings movies: just when all hope is lost (but the heroes are still fighting the forces of evil until their dying breath) dawn breaks and reinforcements appear on the hill-crest to save the day. (Note: though dramatically satisfying, it’s not much comfort to all the casualties of their tardiness, the deceased elves and peppers that would have preferred the said reinforcements to get going a bit earlier).

But I digress. The point is it seems that all that this effort has achieved is to free up space for a predator previously reluctant to pass within my borders, the pigeon. At least that’s my assumption, after my luscious basil babies turned to tatty stems in the course of one sunny day.

Though I wouldn’t expect a pigeon to choose basil over the juicy pot of pea-shoots sat alongside, I cannot think of another culprit.

How to proceed? Do I have to net everything, until my garden looks like a giant cobweb has landed on it? And could there be something worse than a basil-loving pigeon? If I deter them with some device or other, what will move in to take their place? Orcs? Vegetarian golden eagles? 6ft slugs?

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