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


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