Being magic and all that, I bet they're a bugger to get rid of too. Fairies can in fact be a highly detrimental pest to gardeners, and if you don't deal with them early on, they can start swarming, cultivating toadstools and suchlike, which is a real nuisance.
The Gorgons at the bottom of our garden yesterday. Kylie at centre.
Of the original Gorgons, Medusa was sort of like the Queen Gorgon, the one the others looked up to. Sort of the Gorgon's Gorgon, if you like. All Gorgons have a Queen, it's a well known fact. Like bees. Stands to reason. However, unlike bees, Gorgons are not insects, believe it or not. They don't fly as a rule, and they don't visit flowers to sip nectar. Nor do they make honey, and they tend to hiss rather than buzz.
Gorgons are in fact a species of Monster, distantly related to Harpies, Furies and Sirens.
Just in case you've never had mythical female monsters in your vegetable plot, here's a brief Field Guide to some of the main types...
"Harpies are fierce, filthy, winged monsters who have characteristics of a bird and a woman, similar to that of the Sirens. Their hideous faces of women with sharp claws mounted on the bodies of vultures inspire both horror and disgust. They can fly as fast as a bolt of lightning."
Left: Harpies. You know when you have these buggers on your bird table! Look, they've wrecked the shed!
"The Furies were considered hideous in appearance. They take the appearance of clawed women dressed in black and red with hair bristling of serpants. They are sometimes represented by flies which harass their victims as remorse. "
Left: Furies. "considered hideous in appearance", presumably by gay men and ugly women
"The Sirens or Mermaids were odd looking creatures who had features of a bird from the waist down and a body of a woman from the waist up. Often found in garden ponds ."
Left: Sirens. Phwoar. Welcome in my pond any day.
There. That should help you identify any Monsters with tits that you find amongst your brassicas.
Another species of Monster sometimes found in gardens in the UK is The Minotaur, though this is becoming increasingly rare as a result of persecution by farmers, who blame it for spreading bipedalism amongst their cattle.
Minotaurs can become quite tame if you put food out for them on your patio
I'm told by a Greek bloke down Meersbrook allotments that the best way to get rid of Gorgons is to use biological control. He recommends Gay Austrians to drive the Gorgons out, rather than kill them. The Gay Austrians are immune to the Gorgons tendency to turn blokes into stone, and their bitchy secretions are intolerable to the Gorgons, who will move on and settle elsewhere.
Note: Gay Austrians are ineffective against Minotaurs.
To illustrate this, here are the stages in the life cycle of one of the better known species, Sophia Loren...
Above: Larval stage of Sophia Loren - just about to start eating a bush
Sophia Loren: newly emerged nymph - still vulnerable if dealt with early, but soon becomes more than a match for the weekend gardener
Sophia Loren:First stage nymph - becoming difficult to control
Sophia Loren:Late first stage nymph - a real handful
Sophia Loren: Second stage nymph - impossible to eradicate.
Sophia Loren: Young adult - your garden's fucked
Sophia Loren: Mature adult - eating everything in her path
Sophia Loren: Mature adult, late stage. Move house now!
Above: more images of the agricultural pest Sophia Loren, taken from "Common Pests and Diseases of Soft Fruits Vol. 1" (Royal Horticultural Society).
So you see, the life cycle of the Hollywood Screen Siren is a comlex one, and they are hard to tackle once past the first nymph stage.
Other species of Hollywood Screen Siren which may be encountered in the garden are...
Rita Hayworth - Feeds on strawberries. Use warm soapy water with a touch of baby oil (worth trying for Sophia Loren too).
Above: Julie Christie - Lives in a silk coccoon beneath the bark of ornamental japanese maples
Cyd Charisse - Forms hollow cysts on potatoes. Elaborate courtship dance.
Lauren Bacall: man-eater
As well as Mythological Vermin and Hollywood Screen Sirens, the gardener of today also has to contend with several other nuisance species. I shall be taking a look at these in future editions of my blog, in particular the growing menace of Dr Who Monsters, which are becoming more widespread due to the increasing tendency for mild winters and hot, dry summers.
Happy gardening, and watch those garden monsters!