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Saturday, March 7, 1998 Published at 18:12 GMT


EU flower show eaten by rabbits
image: [ Bunnies winning but the hotel has a secret weapon up its sleeve ]
Bunnies winning but the hotel has a secret weapon up its sleeve

A colony of rabbits has eaten thousands of flowers designed to welcome European finance ministers to a hotel in York later this month.

The Royal York Hotel spent £20,000 overhauling its garden in the run up to the high-profile meeting in North Yorkshire.

Floral welcome

Hundreds of rose bushes were replaced with thousands of yellow and blue blooms to match the colours and pattern of the EU flag.

But the hotel's gardener says he is fighting a losing battle against a colony of rabbits who emerge at night to nibble on his flowers.

Battle against the bunnies

Hotel landscape gardener, Dave Mercer said: "Although we are doing a round-the-clock watch to keep our plants intact, it looks like the Euro-bunnies have beaten us.

"It is a real headache and has cost us thousands of pounds already.

"As soon as we plant them they eat them again, particularly the daffodil bulbs.

"But we are keeping a secret stock of reserve plants which we will bring out at the last minute to put on a fine display."

Hotel general manager Greg McGarry said it was important to portray the right image of York to its European guests.

He said: "It is important the hotel's gardens look their best as the eyes of the world will be focused on the city."

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