Home on the range

All I did was glance out the bathroom window while brushing my teeth, and who did I see enjoying a snack in the back yard – a groundhog. Now I’ve got a groundhog? Is Mother Nature kidding me?

There isn’t a photo because I was so dumbfounded, I didn’t grab my phone. I would describe him as big, and it was obvious he hasn’t missed many meals. So, I guess after I write a little, I need to get over to the hardware store and buy myself a trap and some cantaloupe.

I’d better tell you about plants quickly before they’re gone. April and May were wet, now the heat and humidity have settled in, and the plants are responding differently.

The Daylilies and Phlox are doing pretty well, but I have quite a few Daylilies that just don’t have any flowers, just leaves. I’ve never seen clumps of Daylilies with no flowers. There are a couple of Mexican Sunflowers grown from seed that are gorgeous.

I have at least seven regular blue Hydrangeas, which as you know have certain pruning requirements and soil amendments necessary for them to bloom. But, I’m partial to the Annabelle. They are so easy to grow because in the fall you just cut them back to the ground, and in the spring they pop right back up like other perennials with their huge flower heads.

The tomatoes have not been happy. I have four plants, three in a tank and one in the ground. The one in the ground is just all leaves. Two in the tank have a few flowers, and there is one cherry tomato that finally has a few green tomatoes.  I bought four Strawberry Berried Treasure™ Red plants. They all arrived alive and well, but only one has made it. There were six Knockout Roses. One died, one is stunted, three are fine, and the one above looks like it’s on stilts. It’s at least four feet tall and all the blossoms are on the top. It is truly weird how this weather is affecting the plants..

But, I saw two Monarchs yesterday and caught a couple of shots with my phone. It was so happy with the milkweed that I grabbed my garden tractor seat and watched for a while and found there were actually two visiting.

Now, if the groundhog doesn’t eat all my plants, maybe they’ll be back, and I’ll have a better camera with me.

I want to end with a chuckle. A fellow blogger mentioned on Facebook that July was ‘The Duke Days of Summer,’ and she was having a drawing for $100 of John Wayne merchandise for anyone who would mention their favorite John Wayne movie. I commented that Hondo is my favorite movie, and I won because I was the only person who entered. Too funny. Now, I keep wondering what I will possibly find for $100. Thoughts?

Happy Monday, and I hope you don’t have any uninvited visitors in your garden. 🙂

About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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57 Responses to Home on the range

  1. Your flowers are lovely despite all the pests you’ve had. Good luck capturing the groundhog. The Mexican Sunflower is one of my favorites now. Butterflies and hummingbirds love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dawn says:

    Oh no, Judy! Very hungry groundhogs often treat my garden as their own personal salad bar. They have a special fondness for newly planted perennials. When I bring new plants home, I have to hide them in the garage until I plant them. Otherwise, the hungry groundhogs nibble them right in their pots on the driveway! I haven’t found a way to discourage these hungry critters yet. One year, they kept nibbling on my Hollyhocks. That Summer, I had miniature Hollyhocks in full bloom! People would ask about these unusual Hollyhocks and I would share my groundhog tales. Please let us know any ideas you come up with, Judy. Such an unusual year for gardeners everywhere!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nancy says:

    A Mexican Sunflower! Now that’s enough to do a happy dance over. But that darn groundhog is enough to squash that thought! Last year, I had one here at the LakeHouse that wanted to take up residence under my sunroom. I blocked the hole with cement blocks and spread stinky stuff (Critter Ridder like) all around. He stayed away! He did not like the smell!
    GoodLuck trapping him! But you may want to look into stinky stuff around your flowers.

    I have a leafy red lily… but yesterday I saw one little bloom. Very late and very little blooms!

    Good luck with your picture taking! How fun to have monarchs! I have Japanese Beetles everywhere! Ugh!

    But my daisies are doing great! Happy Thursday!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Murphy's Law says:

    I’m jealous that you have two monarchs visiting your beautiful flowers. That’s a great shot you captured! None here. 😢 I”ve been experiencing weird plant activity too, but on a much smaller scale than you. Weather seems to affect our plants just like it does us.

    So you won $100 worth of John Wayne merchandise! I wonder if there’s anything in that collection that would deter groundhogs!! Just sayin’…….

    If anyone can bring those plants back to good health, you can. You’re like the Flower Whisperer! 🤗
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was afraid if I ran into the house to get a good camera, I’d miss them so I sat and watched them cavort all around that milkweed. It was amazing. 🙂 If I can stop laughing long enough to comment, I’m thinking maybe the only thing John Wayne might have for me to combat groundhogs would be a gun. He wouldn’t have messed with a trap. 🙂


  5. Rent a trap? Lovely pictures from your garden, Judy, and I prefer them to pictures of groundhogs, anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jkitt750 says:

    I too have had problems with woodchucks (groundhogs) in my gardens. The Havaheart trap I use is very effective. I use broccoli and cabbage leaves to entice the critter into the trap. I have lots of stories about this and my gardens at vegetablegarden.home.blog That is my blog site.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Joyce says:

    LOL I saw that John Wayne raffle too and thought, “Huh? OK Pass!” Guess I should be glad I didn’t enter just to be supportive like I sometimes do! I suppose you could buy something and then donate it to a church festival or something like that. But, too funny!
    Those darn groundhogs – they probably heard the deer chattering about the bounty they found and sent over a scout to check it out. I hope you’re successful in relocating them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now, come on Joyce, surely you could have entered and then figured out how to incorporate it into a craft for the grands, but then you’d have had to spend too much time trying to explain who he was. 🙂 Yes, the deer need to be quiet. 🙂


  8. Dan Antion says:

    Between Mother Nature and the chubby groundhog, you’re plants sound like they’re taking a beating, Judy. I’m sorry. My wife’s garden is not happy. Not at all. The animals that we have around here seem to be at a loss for gathering food. Everything seems to be off track.

    Good luck on your spending spree, and although it’s a selfish wish, I hope the weather breaks for you soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t seen any explanation for the increase in animals since we really didn’t have a bad winter, but everyone up here is being challenged. I wonder if they’re just becoming too accustomed to easy pickings like home gardens and landscapes. Yes, just a little cooler would be nice.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oddment says:

    I am so sorry to hear about the groundhog! As gardeners, we try to keep a sense of humor about a lot of things, but this year it’s harder to laugh off all the losses. Between the weather and the animals, we are really clobbered. I congratulate you on your prize while at the same time I do chuckle, but winning is winning. I say buy chocolate!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Eliza Waters says:

    Ah, the ups and downs of gardening. To quote Gilda Radner, “It’s always something!” 😉 Hope you get your groundhog!
    Congrats on winning that cash. Maybe there are a few nice David Austin roses in your future? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Norm 2.0 says:

    We’ve had a few cherry tomatoes so far but there are lots on the vine that’ll be ready soon. Our 1st cuke is almost ready and we should get our 1st zucchini and some snow peas by the end of the week.
    So far no groundhogs here. Just the neighbourhood cats.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Annie says:

    Oh my. That’s a horror story! Yikes! Just don’t release it down Exeter way! I fear we are on a newly discovered meal trail for deer in our small neighborhood. A gardener two doors away lost 80% of her shade garden last night. That’s a first. I might have to start sleeping days and sit in the garden all night.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Almost Iowa says:

    Wonderful to hear about your monarchs. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent chasing them with a net. Now I wish that I caught fewer than I did.

    I vote for The Shootist as the best John Wayne movie ever. I would even classify it as one of the best movies ever. Perhaps it was one of the most “honest” movies ever made. Wayne’s character was without a doubt, his most believable.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh, your garden is lovely! I hope the Groundhog doesn’t eat it all. What a problem to have! I’ve never considered them being a gardener’s problem before. I only think about them February 2nd!

    I really miss my blue Hydrangea which is probably in full bloom now. I did nothing to it except plant it and cut it back each fall/winter. I might have a shady enough spot for one, but need to check on their zone liking, and of course, my soil is probably all wrong for a blue one here. The water has a lot of calcium in it.

    Congratulations on the win! The Quiet Man is my favorite John Wayne film, but Rio Grande is a close second. I loved him and Maureen O’ Hara together. $100 would make a dent on my Amazon wishlist and would be fun to spend at the camera store, but that’s me. I imagine you’re heading to a garden supply or fabric store real or online. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Isn’t it funny that you can have too much rain and plants don’t really like it. I found that with my rhubarb. After such a prolonged drought, during which the rhubarb flourished and I was giving it away to everyone I knew, we had torrential rain for days and then the rhubarb went all soft and squashy and keeled over. Our citrus trees didn’t like it either and didn’t get many flowers. I hope that cheeky groundhog doesn’t help himself to too many flowers.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. joey says:

    Oh my. It’s practically Wild Kingdom over there on your lot!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I don’t even know what sort of John Wayne merchandise there is! Have fun deciding. I saw a few monarchs in our yard and it makes me very happy. 🙂 Enjoy yours!


    Liked by 1 person

  18. germac4 says:

    Your Groundhogs make our cockatoos look mild in terms of garden damage! I love your Daylilies, and all your flowering plants ..absolutely gorgeous…and nice to see in our winter!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. KerryCan says:

    You put out such a smorgasbord of yummy food, what’s a groundhog to do? Or deer, or bunny . . . The flowers are looking good but, I agree, what an odd year it’s been. My hollyhocks are either non-existent or very stunted and they have been utterly reliable for years. One hundred dollars of John Wayne merch, huh? That’s a tough one . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • The nurseries must be doing a booming business with all of us coping with plants that died or others that aren’t producing. I guess they are the only winners in this climate dilemma we’re learning to deal with. It’s in the 90’s with high humidity all week here which is the same weather we left when we moved from the Midwest.


  20. Ally Bean says:

    I’m impressed with your photos and your report on your garden’s progress. We don’t have greedy groundhogs but we have bouncing bunnies who do the damage. And congrats on winning the contest, regardless of the extenuating circumstances.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Joanne Sisco says:

    If you are having that much trouble with all your plants, can you imagine how someone like me is managing?! All I can say is that my weeds are doing magnificently. It’s just too hot for me to weed and they are thriving!

    As far as your chubby groundhog goes, I wouldn’t assume it’s a male. We made the same mistake a number of years ago. Our chubby male turned out to be a very pregnant female. The next thing I knew, we had chubby little babies running around. They were sooooo cute.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my, I never thought the he could be a she with extra company. Now, that could be a real problem. LOL 🙂 And, those weeds are prolific this summer, and my back is suffering from it. 🙂


      • Joanne Sisco says:

        If you are going outside to weed in this weather, you are made of stronger stuff than I am. It’s finally raining here this morning and I can practically hear the weeds singing.

        Good luck with your furry little squatter. Relocation before you discover babies might be a good plan.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Had Garry heard of it, he would have said “The Searchers.”

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I think if once you decide on your $100, there should be a post about that, I’d be curious to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. You’re Mexican Sunflowers are doing better than mine. Mine are about half their normal size for this time of year, but with the hot weather they seem to be catching up.Good luck with the groundhog! Mother Nature sometimes has a sick sense of humor.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Rose says:

    First, before I start rambling too much, I love your photo collage of the flowers. They are beautiful.

    I may have seen one monarch…but I can’t remember where. I saw so many last year that it is just strange to not be seeing them at all. I have not seen many butterflies at all…at the end of spring/beginning of summer I was seeing Red Admirals, and some others and thought oh, boy, its going to be a good year. WRONG! I hope butterfly viewing improves, but I am not holding my breath.

    We live a block from a railroad…across the railroad is farm land. Our neighbor has a groundhog that lives under his shed. One summer we had left the garage door open and then closed it. I don’t remember the reasons…but when we went out there, it was like a tornado had been let loose. Rakes, and tools knocked over/down…I had some shelves out there and some canning jars in it. Everyone was knocked down and broke. I cannot remember all the mess. Well, we could not see anything, and cleaned up the mess. Anyway, we thought ‘whatever’ it was had run out…could not see anything under the truck or anywhere. So shut the door again, only to go out and find a mini-mess again. I don’t know if Roger actually seen it…but found where it had tunneled back in behind some tools, fold-up lawn chairs…we are positive it was that ground hog. And I still see it several times a year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow – you had quite an experience and mess. I’ve had no interest in my trap yet but have looked out several times to see him snacking. We’ve never had one before and this one seems to be a pretty happy which is not a good sign for me. And, thanks for the reminder to keep my garage door down. 🙂


  26. tonytomeo says:

    Am I the only one who does not ‘get’ John Wayne? When his big statue was installed in front of the Bank of the West (or whatever bank it was at the time) on Wilshire Boulevard, up the street from where I lived down south, people protested because John Wayne was supposedly racist. I would have preferred to not know that.

    Liked by 1 person

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