Preventing inch worm damage on Knockout roses and watching the garden develop

Getting ready for the garden tour—part four

Last Tuesday morning, I was sitting on the porch eating my peach yogurt, drinking green tea, and watching the lovely spring day develop when the phone rang. I looked at the caller i.d. Yep, I had been expecting the call.


“They’re here,” the female voice replied.

I said, “Ok, I’m on it, thanks a lot.”

She answered, “No problem, glad to help. Good luck with your mission.”

 I had asked Jennifer to watch out for signs of inch worms because she lives down by the river and they show up there first. Last year there had been a bumper crop of inch worms and they had eaten up everything in sight right at the end of April. I thought they might be early on account of the mild weather this year, and I was right. I have been pampering a group of roses on the mountain to have them ready for the Rome, Georgia Junior Service League’s garden tour on April 28 and I sure didn’t want the inch worms to eat up the leaves and flower buds. I finished breakfast and got in the truck. When I reached the job site I found that I was just in time.

inch worm damage on knockout roses
inch worm damage on knockout roses

The damage was minimal but I could tell they had started. I saw a little hole here and another there. The caterpillars seem to come out at night and eat away the leaves. They only stay around a few days before making a cocoon and going into the next stage of their life. But they sure can eat during those few days. I got out my killer liquid sevin and the spray can.

spray inch worms with liquid sevin
spray inch worms with liquid sevin

A good dose was applied to the rose leaves, over and under. I also went around and took care of the Japanese maples and hydrangeas

Spray to cover the tops and bottoms of leaves
Spray to cover the tops and bottoms of leaves

As a reward for myself for a job well done, I went for a walk through the garden to see what was going on and to guess what would be in bloom for the garden tour. I first noticed the plant that we call “English dogwood” which, I think is really a mock orange. If you know the variety, please leave a comment.

English dogwood or mock orange?  (or are both correct?)
English dogwood or mock orange? (or are both correct?)

and here is a close up of the flower:English dogwood/mock orange flower

I stopped to admire the first open flower on the rhododendron by the fountain.

first rhododendron flower this year
first rhododendron flower this year

The hosta has really come out in the last week. I hope the deer don’t get to it.

hosta early spring
hosta early spring

I was really tickled to see the development of the flower buds on the Nikko blue hydrangeas. They just might make it for the show.

Nikko hydrangea ready to bloom
Nikko hydrangea ready to bloom

And the oak leaf hydrangeas have really done some growing. Here is a picture of the working flower buds.

Oakleaf hydrangea early flower bud
Oakleaf hydrangea early flower bud

I now have three weeks left until the tour. This coming week I will open the pool and we will do all of the last minute pruning and put down a hundred or so bales of pine straw.

Next week will be the “big mow” in which we cut about ten acres of hillside grass.

And then the final week will be to get the fountains clean and working, plant the flower beds and urns, and fix everything that ain’t been fixed.

Will John the plant man make it?  Time will tell.

 To read part one of this series, Click Here

For part two of the series, Click Here

And Click Here for part three

 To see a previous article about this lovely landscape garden, CLICK HERE

To read about Johntheplantman and the rednecks, 

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?


If you want a consultation with John Schulz in your yard in N.W. Georgia, send me an email at

Published by John P.Schulz

I lost my vocal cords a while back due to throat cancer. The laryngectomy sent me on a quest to find and learn to use my new, altered voice. I am able to talk now with a really small and neat new prosthesis. My writing reflects what I have learned in my search for a voice. My site publishes a daily motivational quote and a personal comment. I write an article a week for my blog, which deals with a lot of the things that I do in the garden. I am also the author of Requiem for a Redneck and the new Redemption for a Redneck--novels portraying the lives and doings of folks around the north Georgia hills. I have an English Education degree from the University of Georgia and very happily married to the lovely Dekie Hicks. You may enjoy my daily Quotes and Notes at

3 thoughts on “Preventing inch worm damage on Knockout roses and watching the garden develop

  1. I am really enjoying reading about you and your gardens. I hope to be on the tour on the 28th. Janice

  2. Ohhh boy, I think I will be spending a lot of time reading your blog!!! I love it!!! Here, I just had to ask a question……. we planted quite a few knock out roses, around our cement patio, and one year, all the leaves were skeletonized (?), or dessicated (?), and I did find tiny green caterpillars under the leaves. I first tried spraying them, but couldn’t make sure I was gettiing every single leaf, top AND bottom side. So for the last couple of years, we have been putting Bayer 3 in 1 systemic granules in the ground around the drip line, and have not had much of a problem since. I also ended up using it on the shasta daisies (which would also get eaten up), and I also tried it on a few Rudbeckia plants, that would get all kinds of black spots on the leaves. So far it seems to be working well!!!! We also have a huge population of earwigs where I live in Michigan, so don’t know quite for sure how that figures into the mix. This last week I also noticed my peonies have, what is it called….. dusty miller? (no – I am just kidding), but it is some name similar…….that is a fungus, but I can never remember the real name!! And I have begonias (regular ones) in quite a few window boxes around our yard, and they also don’t look very well. I think this is how I initially started reading your blog, about 5 hours ago!!! Oh well, just wanted to say I loved your blog…….. and if you have any tips, please feel free to email me!!! I live in St. Joseph, MI, along the Lake )(not like really on it!)



    1. Thanks for the wonderful comments. I think you are referring to powdery mildew. This and other fungus diseases need a fungicide. I like Daconyl but there are many multi purpose fugicides on the maret. If you will email me at and send me a mailing address, I will see that you get a copy of Requiem. Thanks again, John

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