True stories with a twist!


Since it is June, and time for gardens, I present an important tip about gardens. We are always told to “Read the Instructions” before using any garden product. Especially products containing poisons. That would include products made for the elimination of garden pests.

We cannot be the only gardeners with the frustrating issue of chipmunks. We all say that we wouldn’t mind sharing our garden produce with these irritating and destructive little animals, but they won’t share. These cute curmudgeons take little bites out of tomatoes, ruining a tomato from ever bring enjoyed by the grower. That makes us angry. So angry that we forget our humanity and want a way to destroy these pests, At any price. Just get rid of them, we beg to the Gardening Gods.

One summer afternoon, in a fit of rage over terrible damages to our beautiful Hibiscus plants,


Harried Husband furiously decided to find a way to get revenge. So off to the gardening supply store he went, determined to do away with the pests and make them regret ever cavorting in our garden. Shades of the children’s tale, “Peter Rabbit” floated through my mind. In those childhood days I always rooted for the rabbit. The farmer, whose crop he stole from, was the villain. But not any more. Now it’s “Go Farmers: down with Varmints.”

He came home determinedly, unscrewed to top of a strong looking, dark colored bottle and started pouring the noxious brew directly onto the hibiscus plant. The healthy, bright, cheerful Hibiscus.

That was the end. The leaves of the plant blackened, the flowers wilted, and we gasped in horror.IMG_0222.jpeg

The potion that should have deterred furry little animals from nibbling on hibiscus flowers destroyed the plant instead. Chipmunks: 10, humans: 0.  Is there no retribution for the damage they foisted on those innocent flowers?

 All we know is that beauty was destroyed in the hope of taking revenge on perpetrators of a crime against nature.

So who won? And what was the message we can take away from this incident? And what should we do about those darn chipmunks?


Comments on: "READ THE LABEL" (24)

  1. Ah, the subject of those cute chipmunks and squirrels that some folks including a neighbor do so enjoy feeding. I had to give up growing strawberries and tulips because I was just providing lunch for them, and the acorns buried everywhere provide me an opportunity to pull out small oak tree seedlings. I’m in the minority and understand that, but they are rodents no matter how you look at them, and I’m not a fan of rodents. 🙂

  2. Couldn’t help but be reminded of the groundskeeper’s battle with the gopher in “Caddyshack.” Maybe dynamite would have been less destructive. Hmmm….

  3. Oh my gosh! This is awful. LOL! I’ve had similar gardening miscalculations, but they’re painful while you wait for the poor living thing to regenerate. I don’t have chipmunks in my area, but squirrels. Squirrels dig up plants, but that’s much less a problem. I hope your hibiscus makes a full recovery! 😦

    • Thanks for your good wishes, Debra. I contacted a couple of me gardening friends who advised me to cut off the brown leaves and to take the plant out of the pot, wash the roots and replant it in new soil. Since it has been raining all week, with more rain forecast for the next two days I’m hoping the poisons will be washed out of the plant.

      Squirrels are destructive animals too, and to think that as a child I used to feed peanuts to them because I thought they were so cute! It’s always Man against Nature.

  4. A funny/sad post. Oh your poor hibiscus! We have chipmunks but they are not brazenly destructive. The deer are worse and caused us to take down the raised bed fenced vegetable garden. I kept saying, “They were here first.”

  5. Cathy Wilson said:

    Great piece! It made me laugh and cry at the same time.

  6. I feel sorry for your beautiful plants, but the story is funny.

  7. harvey hammer said:

    sad part of Ronnie’s blog. In haste and error, what was sprayed on the plants was DEET. while not found in the “cautions”, DEET is a powerful herbicide as well as a bug deterrent.
    worse yet despite the plants suffering, it did not deter the chipmunks.

  8. It happened to me, i tried a chemical to kill my black algae on my anubias plants in my fish tanks, my anubias melted and died

  9. Anonymous said:

    Love the way you write Ronnie. I just bought two electronic repellers and a scented stone to keep these pests – and others like deer – away. So far so good. Gaye

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