I wanted to use live rabbits in my ‘Mr McGregor’s’ garden for the Gardening World Cup, but the rules wouldn’t allow it. This was a pity because nothing could have been more authentic. Beatrix Potter kept a rabbit hutch by her back door – for the pot of course, not as pets. When I was doing my research at Hill Top the orchard there was overrun with rabbits and there were obvious signs that they’d visited the vegetable patch. The National Trust, who run Hill Top, didn’t know what to do with them, but Beatrix Potter wouldn’t have hesitated. They’d have been shot in a trice and then into the pot.
In the absence of live rabbits I’m very happy to make do with Peter Rabbit. Alan Ward has created this amazing model of Peter Rabbit eating radishes. I’ve taken this photo of Peter in my kitchen garden and I’m hoping that he’s going to look just as splendid in Mr McGregor’s vegetable patch.