Tag Archive: snail


SONY DSC‘The towering clouds recede; the storm has fled;

The dark and angry sky grows clear again.

The thunder faintly rolls, and slowly dies,

And skylarks twitter gladly as they rise.

Now many a flower hangs low a dripping head,

And here and there a patch of levelled grain

Recalls the violence of the summer storm.

The sun returns, the rain-soaked earth grows warm.

Slow and ungainly by the waterside

A solemn toad plods forth, and small snails glide,

Their shining shells enriched by golden rings.

A dragon-fly with wide and wondrous wings

glows like a jewel there among the reeds,

Above the tangle of the water-weeds.’

John (Jack) Kett

from ‘A Late Lark Singing’ (Minerva press 1997)

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jayA couple of interesting garden observations this week. Having just seen the first signs of slug and snail attack on my newly planted summer bedding (Portulaca) I resorted to the ‘blue sweeties’ to attract and ‘deal’ with the little ….pests.  (Yes, I know I shouldn’t, but I find that they are the most effective way of dealign with mass infestations).

The following morning, a nice ‘crop’ of newly frazzled corpses lay on the beds. I was sitting reading and glancing out of the french doors and saw a Jay land, pick up a snail in it’s beak, and ‘wipe’ it on some soil before flying off with it- and it happened again. An example of a bird that’s learned not to eat slug pellets?

Today, I fixed some supporting timbers to my ‘fruit fence’ (where I’m training a Cherry and a Plum as fans) and a pallet-based reinforcement to the bed the fence sits in (more on this little project in due course), As I was carrying out the summer prune of these two fans, I noticed (a bit late, I know) that the Cherry was covered in black fly. As I expected there were ants (who ‘farm’ the aphids for the sweet juice they suck out of the plant) and ladybirds doing their best to hoover up the infestation. But to my surpise, there were also many solitary bees finding their way into the furled up leaves – I can only guess that they too had discovered the free supply of sucrose!

 Have you seen either of these things in your garden? Do you have an explanation? Do you have any of your own interesting observations?

Old School Gardener

PicPost: Snail Trailed

PicPost: Dodman's Rest

Tombstone at Weybourne, Norfolk via http://www.ournorfolk.org.uk

‘A dodman (plural “dodmen”) or a hoddyman dod is a local English vernacular word for a land snail. The word is used in some of the counties of England. This word is found in the Norfolk dialect, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Fairfax, in his Bulk and Selvedge (1674), speaks of “a snayl or dodman.”

Hodimadod is a similar word for snail that is more commonly used in the Buckinghamshire dialect.

Alternatively (and apparently now more commonly used in the Norfolk dialect) are the closely related words Dodderman or Doddiman. In everyday folklore, these words are popularly said to be derived from the surname of a traveling cloth seller called Dudman, who supposedly had a bent back and carried a large roll of cloth on his back. The words to dodder, doddery, doddering, meaning to progress in an unsteady manner, are popularly said to have the same derivation.

A traditional Norfolk rhyme goes as follows:

“Doddiman, doddiman, put out your horn,
Here comes a thief to steal your corn.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894

The ‘inventor’ of ley lines, Alfred Watkins, thought that in the words “dodman” and the builder’s “hod” there was a survival of an ancient British term for a surveyor. Watkins felt that the name came about because the snail’s two horns resembled a surveyor’s two surveying rods. Watkins also supported this idea with an etymology from ‘doddering ‘ along and ‘dodge’ (akin, in his mind, to the series of actions a surveyor would carry out in moving his rod back and forth until it accurately lined up with another one as a backsight or foresight) and the Welsh verb ‘dodi’ meaning to lay or place. He thus decided that The Long Man of Wilmington was an image of an ancient surveyor.’

Source: Wikipedia

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