Wanted: Little Maids All In A Row

The above is a reference to the Nursery Rhyme "Mary, Mary Quite Contrary" for those who are Nursery Rhyme challenged. I've thought of redoing it something along these lines:

Beth, Beth, black thumb of death - how does your garden grow? With water and food when I'm in the mood and the rest? I just don't know.

Yet somehow the garden struggles along, and, since I remarked on my pruning efforts, I thought I would show the results. As it turns out, they're looking better than they ever have (amazing, isn't it? Follow the directions, and look what happens!) I'm hoping I can keep up the light pruning/deadheading throughout the summer.

Without further ado - my thistles*:

Now, while pulling out grass from among the roses (how it gets in there, I'll never understand) I stumbled across this little guy - anyone know what kind of caterpillar he is? And if I need to spray my roses and other flowers with something to rid myself of them (or are they harmless)? And if I do need to spray...got any suggestions/recommendations?

And this is an overall view of my jumbly garden. It's not much - just a traditional flower bed that builders stick in front of houses because they think they should, but I've taken out most of the shrubs and put in things I like - and I think it has a fun, cottage-y feeling to it. It's probably overcrowded, but it's colorful and (most important) manages to take the seriously long sun exposure that our garden gets.

* "Well, I don't know." Anne looked thoughtful. "I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage." (Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery)


  1. Silly girl, never ask the general web population a question when you should simply ask your all-knowing older sister.

    The caterpillar you show is an Eastern Tent Caterpillar and you should KILL IT DEAD immedately.


  2. Alrighty. Well, death to the caterpillar then. I think we even have tent caterpillar spray. Thanks! :)

  3. I'm going to bullet point this hehe:
    1. You can get specific spray for roses - try those. Ask your gardening centre if you need help in choosing as our brands over here might be different. You can get harmless sprays but if you are not keen to use spray...
    2. You could also plant something next to them that the pests would be keen to avoid - I.E. next to roses you could plant garlic or chives (It's called companion planting).
    3. If you are ever looking for a low maintenance plant, try a Kalanchoe blossfeldiana. They are had to kill. You can just pot them outside and basically forget about them if you plant them in the right place!

  4. Beautiful flowers! I'm so envious!! :)

  5. I love the roses, and your garden. Very nice! My thumb is blacker than yours, I can tell. ;-)

  6. Rach - Wow, thanks! :) Tim says he has something that's good for roses that'll kill the little guys (well, I only saw one, but you never know how many I didn't see) -he's going to double check and if not, we'll be off to the garden center. (Though it sounds so much more refined to go to the garden centre, maybe I should adopt more British spellings of things...hmm.) :) Companion planting sounds neat though...wonder if my neighborhood would mind if I had veggies in my front yard though. They get weird about stuff sometimes.

    Michelle - you asked on your blog for the secret to roses - here's mine: feed them (the MiracleGrow rose food) and then leave them alone except for watering. Oh, and cut off blooms (either for your house or when they're dead). Otherwise, I have no secrets. They've been amazingly hassle-free, which is good.

    Gwynne - this garden is luck. I'm guessing that Tim takes pity on them and actually waters it more than the 1 or 2 times a month I would otherwise get around to it. Also I know he weeds for me, so...I pretty much stuck the stuff in the ground and prayed. But thanks! :) I have killed the "unkillable" plants - jade plants, cacti, etc. I do have 1 indoor plant and it's hanging in, despite my neglect. It's a little bedraggled hosta. But it adds some green to the house.

  7. Very nice! Those tall ones are lilies, aren't they?

  8. Robert - yes, those are lilies. I have the tallest lilies I've ever seen. Last year the one on the other side (not pictured) got to be well over 5 feet tall. I'm not sure why exactly they get so tall - but it does make me think of moving them now and then because they look a little odd spiking up out of the middle of things. I'm fairly sure the package said 18-24" as their height. Ah well. :)