BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: It Was The Best of TImeS and …


Yes, for the past few weeks I have been absent from the blog but very present in my world. I have been in the company of four of the most amazing little men! #grandboys They continue to amaze me on all counts.


Well, not the worst of times really BUT during those same three weeks, we have been invaded and parts of the garden show signs of a massacre! The critter cam tells us the culprits are raccoons, possums, ground squirrels, rabbits, and at least two of the most destructive horrible creatures on the planet – groundhogs.

What have we done about it?

To date we have captured 12 raccoons, put up 3′ bunny fence, used tons of cayenne pepper powder and animal repellent pellets.

Has it helped? Not much.

The raised bed filled with my handpicked from pouring over catalogs, pre-sprouted for earlier bloom, gorgeous dahlias – many 2.5-3′ tall living in the beautiful raised bed Mr. G built … was invaded. Pictures do not do the damage justice. The day after we installed the 3′ bunny fence and lavishly poured on the cayenne powder, we caught the groundhog inside the fence and the damage was even worse. I think he was mad.

I understand they hate garlic so this week when I trimmed off my garlic scapes I placed them all around the dahlias that are trying to come back. #timewilltell


Nothing like this has happened before. Oh, we have had the annual visits from raccoons and ground squirrels. While destructive, they were mostly deterred by cayenne pepper. I am beginning to think most of the damage is groundhog damage. We have not been able to trap them but see them out and about. They are very comfortable here! Right up by the patio while I am sitting there!!!! 😳


Here is a list of plants that have been most damaged…

  • Yarrow – I have several varieties – all nibbled to the ground except a couple of patches I rescued early – before they found them!
  • Parsley – all leaves enjoyed by varmints
  • Coreopsis (4 varieties) – to the ground
  • Orlaya – all blooms gone / plants mangled
  • Cosmos – devoured
  • Daisies – new Variety Banana Cream devoured / old variety still standing
  • Lantana – to the ground
  • Supertunias – to the ground
  • Zucchini – struggling
  • Lupines – mangled & broken
  • Zinnias – mangled & broken
  • Dahlias – None of my 20 dahlias have been left untouched but so far some of the damage is minimal. Others… well it’s doubtful they will recover.

My garden looks like a war zone in many areas. And I’m sure you understand, seeing your plants behind fencing is no way to garden!! But while we use every trick we hear about, we are spending our time in prettier parts of the summer garden. Even the Japanese Beetle damage seems like no big deal compared to the massive varmint damage. #perspective

I am so grateful for every plant they have not touched (so far) and am taking note!


  • Lilies
  • Lavender
  • Glads
  • Hollyhocks
  • Phlox
  • Salvias
  • Scabiosa
  • Larkspur
  • Clematis
  • Sweet William
  • Lisianthus
  • Foxgloves
  • Snapdragons – I’m telling you if they touch my snaps, you will hear me scream. I have soooooooo many gorgeous ones this year!!!



Bokay Day this year was a dream. Those four little men and I had the very best time. Everyone was so into all aspects of the process. Taking wagons of buckets around to gather flowers (much fewer options this year but they didn’t mind) and filling the jars. Ohhh and they were such a charming delivery crew as they pulled the wagon filled with bokays and handed them to our neighbors. All of you who grandparent from a distance know just what a dream come true this was for me!! #preciousmemories

We were gloriously busy in “Thyme Out”

Read about past Bokay Days here AND here.

Back before the internet and blogs, we had bokay days too. Here’s my son all ready for delivery…

Precious Memories indeed!


If you see a copy of the current Midwest Living or Birds and Bloom, you just might find me there.


I have been chatting away with so many rose friends. The last one was with Kimberley Dean, AKA The Rose Geek. We had the best time talking about her trip to England and how it changed her garden and her as a gardener! Listen here…


GARDENS OF THE NORTHEAST Stephen Scanniello Stephen is a world-renowned gardener, historian, author, lecturer, designer, and consultant for gardens public and private. He currently serves as the curator of the internationally acclaimed Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden and as the consultant for the Elizabeth Park Conservancy in West Hartford, CT. Today Stephen will share updates from the beautiful gardens and garden projects in the Northeast.   It is said that every rose has a story and Stephen just may know most of them. I'm sure today we will be educated, enlightened, and entertained as we chat with a master storyteller about his favorite subject – roses. ROSE GARDEN IMAGES… DOWNLOAD HERE INFORMATION ON THE HERITAGE ROSE FOUNDATION… ROSE CHAT TEAM: Executive Producer & On-Air Personality: Chris VanCleave – Creator of the Rose Chat Podcast. Mr. VanCleave is a nationally known rosarian, television personality, speaker and advocate for the rose. Content Creator & On-Air Personality: Teresa Byington – Co-Host Teresa Byington promotes roses as an integral part of the landscape, as a Consulting Rosarian, Master Gardener, writer, and speaker. SUBSCRIBE: Subscribe to Rose Chat Podcast Updates:    


Friends, even with the varmint invasion, the heat, and the bugs that come and make things so ugly, I still just can’t wait to get out there! How about you? 💐

16 thoughts on “BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: It Was The Best of TImeS and …

  1. Hi Teresa! Sorry to hear about your garden invasion. We have had lots of deer, raccoon and now aphids! We use a bird net from Cox’s to keep deer out that might help. Gary used pvc pipe and it works well. Hope it helps with your groundhog! Enjoy reading yoir blog. Blessings to you and Greg.

  2. Oh dear, sounds like you chose the perfect title for this article! I sure hope you get the upper hand with the critters, must have been heartbreaking to see all that hard work destroyed. What a fun time with the grands though….!

  3. I’m sorry to hear about all the destruction, but I’m glad the roses are O.K.! I’ve had a sharp increase in varmint destruction this year too. I don’t have a critter cam, but the deer and bunnies are so bold that I’ve had to run them off or turn the dog loose. My zinnias and sunflowers are gone. I’ve replanted zucchini and cukes, and they ate most of my tomato vines and the bell peppers. The four foot rabbit fence seems to be helping. I was told that putting an ammonia-soaked rag by plants helps too. I’m not giving up!

  4. Teresa, I’m so, so sorry about the damage. Your roses look splendid, but I hear groundhogs are the worst along with chipmunks. Loved seeing those young grand boys. Hang in there. ~~Dee

    1. Thanks Dee. The boys so loved bokay day! That had a blast. My worst loss is the dahlias but I think some may have time to flower a little. We are having a professional exterminator come next week to assess the situation and see what they can do. The groundhog on the cam today is huge!!! Bigger than out big trap.

  5. We had a groundhog. Caught him (her?) before our garden was bothered. Use cantaloupe as bait in the trap.

  6. So sorry about the creature damage. We have deer, but netting has deterred them, but our worst troubles are with families of wild rabbits, never seen in 50 years here! They gnawed down my new roses, Ring of Fire, Black Magic and all of my established Rhapsody in Blue bushes. They nibble the bottom and new growth of all other established bushes, but never touch our array of weeds! Our little dog is wild to catch one, but we have to take her out on leash.
    I don’t know how I’d survive if my whole garden was attacked! Thankfully your roses are okay!

  7. Oh, the invasion(s)! If one critter does not eat it, another might. We are fortunate that deer damage only a small portion of our many acres of landscapes. No one knows why, and I am not complaining! Ground squirrels just recently moved in at the yard where our shop buildings are, but there is nothing for them to damage around the industrial buildings. I can not think of any reason to evict them, so they stay.

  8. In my part of the world, armadillos, neighbors cats, stink bugs, June bugs and one of the prominent caterpillars go to work in my garden! We’ve not had much rain so the armadillos are in the gardens after the worms! Neighborhood cats don’t like camphor balls. Those discourage both the armadillos and the cats. The bugs and caterpillars require a little more attention: a search light in the evening to catch the stink bugs and June bugs. Soapy water in a bucket reduces their population. The caterpillars require constant surveillance! A quick squish is all it takes!
    No matter where you garden, there THEY are!
    Julie Engert
    Southwest Louisiana Rose Society
    Lake Charles LA
    PS: Always left green with envy when I see your lovely rose photos!

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