The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

It seems like there is an old movie playing in my garden…”The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. It’s a very popular movie that I think most gardeners have all watched.

Now playing, scene one…the good. Actually, the garden has been lovely this year. Most all the perennials have expanded and seem to be extremely healthy. In the month that has passed since I last posted photos everything has really grown.

House Garden Early

Above is the house garden earlier and below is the same garden now in bloom.

House Garden in Bloom

Tomato Garden July

The tomatoes are just as amazing in their growth in such a short time. The photo above is a month ago and below is the garden as it looks today. It looks like a tomato hedge and has lots of tomatoes…although none turning red as yet.

Tomato Garden Hedge

Green Heirloom Tomatoes

Herb Garden

In the photo above the six foot square raised bed had plenty of space and below it is really very crowded .

Herb Garden

The Oriental lilies and Endless Summer hydrangea add such color.

Oriental Lilies

Endless Summer Hydrangea

Now playing, scene two…the bad. Now you are going to look at these photos and wonder what I am possibly talking about. Yes, the chipmunk is adorable. My husband now spends time on the porch throwing him sunflower seeds. What could possibly be bad.

The Chipmunk "The Bad" Tomato Eater

His claim to badness? We have not and probably will not get a single heirloom cherry tomato. As soon as they start to turn the slightest hint of red, they are gone. Guess who climbs into the large wooden pot and up the stem.

Now playing, scene three…the ugly. Tomato hornworms, Japanese Beetles and ground hogs (woodchucks).  The tomato hornworm is by far the ugliest thing in my garden. They can quickly do so much damage. We check all the tomato and pepper plants daily.

Tomato Hornworm

The beetles have turned basil leaves and other greenery into lace. We have a lovely yellow and green trap bag for them but it only gets a small percentage of the beetles.

The ground hog in one evening ate every leaf of romaine. He is hiding in the woods just waiting for the large tomatoes to turn red. They absolutely love tomatoes. There is a Have A Heart trap laying in wait, stocked with romaine lettuce and apples from the market. Hopefully the villains of the movie will be behind bars soon.  If so, a poster will appear here of his next starring role…moving on down the line.

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63 thoughts on “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

    1. Hi Roger, Thank you for you compliment. Oh, I wish it was Bill Murray and not a ground hog. I could invite him in and make him dinner.

  1. LOL! The bad is awfully adorable. 😉 Your flowers are gorgeous!!!! I just love hydrangeas. Hopefully you’ll catch the ground hog before he eats all of the tomatoes. Good luck!

  2. Beautiful gardens! The flowers are so lovely and I’m so jealous of all the fresh produce you will get to eat. (We used to have a vegetable garden, but not for a while now.) I do agree about those pesky chipmunks. Totally cute, but very much a pain. We have a bunch of them darting across our yard. We have found that the animals pretty much eat everything around here, so we haven’t been very motivated to plant gardens. It is fun to enjoy the photos of yours, though. 🙂

    1. Hi Koritt, “The Bad” is totally cute…that is what keeps him from getting relocated. Thank you for your visit and your nice compliment about the gardens.

      1. You’re welcome! Well, it’s a good thing he has cute going for him. Maybe you can tame him to only eat what is put out for him and not your gardens. 🙂

  3. I had heard, but I have not verified, that using pheromone traps for japanese beetles was actually counterproductive. The traps lure the beetles from miles around to your yard, and they stop to eat in the garden when they get there.

    1. Hi Jimmy, Thank you for your comment. I have heard the same thing. We have the trap way on the other side of the property. There are granules that you can spread on the grass but we don’t like to do anything that can effect the lake. Everyone is complaining that it is a bad year for the beetles. Maybe next year I won’t put them out.

  4. I always loved the chipmunks—-until they ate all my blueberries last year.
    But they do leave me little “bouquets” of sunflower seedlings all around the yard. A lot of times, I let them grow. I have him to thank for a spot of sunshine tucked into an odd corner.

  5. OMG!! I have the exact same problem and so do other friends of mine. Those stinking chipmunks wait until the tomato is just starting to ripen and then they either run off with it or take a bite or two and render it unedible. I have started taking in the green tomatoes and ripening them in a paper bag. As far as the lettuce is concerned. I had no problem this year because I grew it in a wooden box with a screened top. Perhaps that could work for you. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one in a battle with tomato eating chipmunks:) Best of luck to you. Beautiful photos by the way:)

    1. Hi Judy, So happy to hear from you. I thought that anyone who lives in an area that has chipmunks would probably relate to this post. If they were nasty critters, nobody would think anything about relocating them. Our “The Bad” is sooo cute! What are you going to do. So far he hasn’t discovered the heirloom black cherry in the next pot. When they start to turn, I think I’ll do as you and pick them early.

  6. Photos as beautiful as the garden.
    You even caught the tomato hornworm’s good side!
    Enlarged like that, he makes me think of the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland. Does he put up a snide argument when you hand pick him???

    1. Oh, I love your comment. I will always think of Alice in Wonderland when I go to pick one of the hornworms off the tomato plants.

    1. Hi Karen, “The Bad” is living in Paradise. He is so greedy, that he will now eat sunflower seeds out of my husband’s hand. What more could a chipmunk want…sunflower seeds and heirloom cherry tomatoes.

  7. Oh everything look fabulous- even the “bad”! I am with the others, the bad is not so bad looking! it is adorable. The flowers are gorgeous. I wish mine looked liked that! Amazing pictures

  8. Loved your photos in the garden, especially the hornworm! Amazing… Just think of all the joy you are bringing to your garden’s visitors *wink*. I don’t even want to talk about the slugs in my garden in Germany this year, it makes me want to cry…

    1. Karen,
      Thank you for your moral support! I really need some now that I am attempting to garden on “foreign” soil, literally. In NY I never had the problem of slugs in my garden and I consequently have never seen slugs this BIG before living here…. Well, it’s been a challenge to say the least and we are attempting to mitigate without the use of poisons or pesticides by using a slug fence! We’ll see how that goes.

      1. Hi Laura, A lot of people here have your problem with slugs. If German slugs are like ours, some people have had luck putting saucers of beer in the garden. Your German beer might do the trick.

  9. Chipmunks are the devil. I’ve had my own problems with them too, although they’ve stayed out of the garden. Those suckers eat me out of house and home in birdseed! (I blogged about it once – Maybe the hot sauce trick I used with the raccoons in my corn will work on your tomatoes?

    Have you tried Sevin dust or spray on your plants? I hate to use pesticide on the garden, but this year the bugs were so bad that we had to. It works really well.

    1. Hi Julianna, Thank you for stopping by for a visit. I don’t use any pesticides on my garden. I’m not against chemicals but I don’t want to use it unless it is an absolute necessity.

      1. Julianna, Thank you so much for your comments. Sometimes we have to do what we have to do…I know I have. If you want a harvest, you sometimes have to use everything available. I like the hot sauce and went with cayenne pepper last year on some of my flowers. I hope your harvest will be successful and the pests fewer during the next garden season. This has been a very trying year for gardeners all across the country.

  10. Karen, Your flowers are looking beautiful. I sympathize with your rodent problems. In the past, I have had chipmunks eat most of the strawberries and woodchucks eat whole plants down to the ground. Happily, last year a fox family moved onto my property, with the result that the chipmunk population has been thinned considerably and the woodchucks have moved out altogether.

  11. beautiful beautiful garden! the colour of the lilies and hydrangea are so breathtaking! (id take a gazillion photos of these if they’re in my garden lol).

    haha the ‘bad’ looks too cute! and very cheeky indeed! i hope you will get at least a few tomatoes for yourself 🙂

  12. I love your tomato hedge! What a great idea for gardeners without a great deal of space to work with! As for your pests, I can feel your pain. My biggest problem up here at the cabin are the deer. So far, they’ve not been much of a nuisance, but I’m afraid they’re starting to realize where the good stuff is up here on the mountain. We try to stay away from pesticides if at all possible, so we’ve been spraying a very weak solution of dish soap and water on everything to keep the bugs off everything. It works, but you have to spray everything everyday and after every rain. It’s kinda time consuming, but totally worth the effort.

    1. I have been spraying with soapy water also. We are lucky that we don’t have a deer problem at the lake. In New Hampshire, its another story. The deer love the orchard but there is enough to share.

  13. Oh, the beauty of nature…all good really! Wow, I so miss summer’s up North and the beautiful growing season! I miss growing hydrangeas; I love their color so. Your backyard is gorgeous and your hard work shows for it!

    1. Thank you Linda. Having lived in Florida and now in New England, I agree with you about the growing season here. I really have to pamper the Endless Summer hydrangeas to get them to live through the winters in Maine.

  14. For us it is deer and rabbits, but mostly the deer mercilessly ravage the flowers, a.k.a. deer candy. It is disheartening to watch so much work walk away in a stomach you didn’t intend it for! Even if they are cute.

  15. Your garden is absolutely beautiful and I can’t get over how huge your heirloom tomato plants are! The bad ones in our neck of the woods are skunks, groundhogs, and deer…so far we’ve been lucky, but I think it’s because we have a fence.

    1. Hello Kat, Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and your nice comment. A fence really does help. I had one put around my garden in New Hampshire after a ground hog took one bite out of sixteen different ripe tomatoes. They never want to eat a whole one for some reason…just a bite out of each.

    1. Thank you for the compliment. “Bad” has become the star of this post. He is bad, I chased him out of the cherry tomato twice today. No telling how many times he was in it. Adorable is what saves him.

  16. Where I come from (western Pennsylvania) we called what your woodchuck is doing “preseasoning”. I knew plenty of folks back home who’d gladly dispose of him for you — so he could play a starring role on their dinner table! Yes, really…

    1. Hi Rachel, You gave me a real laugh…pre-seasoning. Let’s see, maybe a little rosemary in the trap. I know they are vegetarians but I think I will pass this time.

  17. I loved your photos and your garden is fantastic. My cherry tomatoes are growing but still green as well. It seems like things are taking a couple of weeks longer to bloom/ripen this year – I’m in Toronto. Maybe this week – we’ll see!

    Haha @ the Bad. What an adorable little guy… too bad he has such poor manners!

  18. Wonderful photos – I especially like the one of green tomatoes and bad as he is the hornworm. My bees would love your gardens! Unfortunately in Texas this summer it is impossible to keep anything green as we are into over 30 straight days with temps topping 100* – today 106*. Your photos looks so refreshing – wish I was there.

    1. Hi Linda, I feel so bad for everyone in Texas. Not only the incredible heat but the lack of rain just makes it that much worse. My mother, brother and nephew all live in Texas so I keep up with your weather. I hope you get a break soon.

  19. I’m drooling at the chutney possibilities, from those green tomatoes you have! The lilies look beautiful too, although they’re a real pain in case you have a white shirt. Just brushing against one is a disaster!

  20. STUNNING photos!! YUK on the worms! And the ground hog..well what can we say about those bastards! – My mom is battling one in her yard in southern NH – it just ate all the budding tops off her entire zinnia garden!!!
    As for my garden – small but productive and good luck this year without many pest problems. My husband is the flower garden guy and I am the veggie girl. You have inspired me to post some of my own…coming soon.

    1. Hi Carol, Thank you for your kind compliments. Ground hogs…so many people see them on ground hog day and think they are so cute. Little do they know the damage they do. I think you should do a post about your garden.

    1. Hi Carolyn, You made me chuckle. Yes, we are sharing are produce with the locals. The worms are so hard to find. My husband goes out every morning on a quest to find them.

  21. Wonderful photos and post, Karen. What a beautiful place and garden you have there. And all those tomatoes coming…so jealous! When I’ve tried growing tomatoes, our “bad” here in Georgia are squirrels and rabbits. I’ve had rabbits mow down entire tomato plants, as well as kale and hot peppers…everything there! They do make an organic spray you can spray on tomatoes up to a week before harvest that will stop the worms, and for the chipmunks and squirrels…got no solution! 🙂

  22. I’m jealous of your wonderful garden. I start each year determined to grow more vegetables and herbs and then life just gets in the way. It’s clearly a product of your hard work – congratulations.
    I’ve not heard of your “ugly” tomato worm thingy – fantastic looking creature but can see how it would destroy your crops :/

  23. The “ugly” is exquisitely beautiful! But then, I’m a biologist. Lovely garden! We are in the midst of dog days of summer here in Maryland and my flower beds pretty scorched. Hope it gets cooler soon.

    1. I’m so happy that you thought the photo of the ugly was beautiful. My husband thought it was a great photo also even though he hunts them down every morning before they start munching on our tomatoes. I hope your weather breaks soon.

  24. Hi Karen,
    I loved your post; even the “bad” was beautiful! My garden right now is like the end of any of the SAW movies… is a disaster. But I got some ideas from your pictures, so will work on it and let you know.
    By the way, I got here through Chicaandaluza’s blog.

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