Sarah Coles



Snails!  Living under stones and bricks and hedges, in winter glued together in a bumpy mass, how they feed.  On lettuces, seedlings, any soft green leaves until only holes and ribbons or bare stems remain.  They like eating what I like growing.

One year we collected scores in a bucket, doused them in salt – oh how they hissed as they expired – rinsed and cooked them with garlic and butter.   They tasted good, but I haven’t cooked them since.  Other times I threw them over the wall into our neighbour’s garden.  Now, I mostly leave them.  I am thrilled when I see the broken snail shell of the path because it means a thrush is around.

Snail shells have swirling Fibonacci spirals proceeding from a single point to the openings where their soft inner parts, soft as entrails, extrude, and their heads appear with their two pairs of sensory tentacles, the longer upper pair tipped by eyes.  No question, they are beautiful.

One snail which does no harm in the garden, the banded snail, Cephaea hortensis, its shell lined in whorls of yellow, brown and white.  It feeds on dead vegetation, and algae on plant stems. It’s not often around – I think it likes the sun, and I have a shady garden.

Not sure yet about slugs, but slowly, I have learnt to love my snails.

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