|Sweetheart calladiums like the shade.|
Their pink matches the crepe myrtle blooms above.
Our cul-de-sac neighbor had a garage sale, so we took the old computer desk down for the sale. I cut some roses and we discussed gardening a bit. "You and your wife garden a lot. Does she like to garden?"
I said, "She likes the effect of gardening, and she encourages me to grow roses. I got 10 new rose bushes for Father's Day."
She said, "Roses are hard to grow, aren't they?" I answered, "Not at all. We don't use any poisons, just mulch and earthworms."
We talked about the crepe myrtle bush, which is tree-like in many parts of the South. She liked the deep pink blooms, now forming, and the Sweetheart calladiums growing below in the shade.
I brought back sacks and sacks of pine cones. Several people asked me, "What are those for?"
When the wild garden is expanded, after the dead tree is cut up, pine cones will make good decorations and a contribution to the mulch. Think insects, folks. The increase of natural ingredients will affect the variety of wildlife.
I was coveting a flowering weed along my walk with Sassy and thought of borrowing the seeds. The flowers look like little daisies. Soon after I found them growing next to the bird spa, which raised my suspicions about how they spread.
The Father's Day roses, $5 each, are leafing out well, and all the others are in various stages of blooming. The Knockouts are six feet tall and full of blooms and buds, not only the reds, but also the pinks and whites.
I trust the beneficial insects to do most of the work, but I have been astonished at the transformation of the white and yellow roses. The aphids and chewing beetles massacred the Pope John Paul II roses during the first round of blooms. I did nothing and now the papal roses are perfect, gleaming white. and stronger than the rest in budding and flowering.
Two white KnockOut roses were disgusting from the damage caused. All the blooms were distorted, eaten, drained, I used the pruning shears and chopped them in half, leaving all the blooms and branches to add to the mulch and feed the beneficial insect brood. Often the babies do the pest control. Those same roses are pristine now and provide a pleasant contrast to the pink and red KnockOuts.
Peace roses were also hit hard at first, and they are producing well.
I learned this month that the beneficial insects answers the chemical call of damaged plants. They do not lay eggs unless the damage is detected. They lay eggs on or near the pests, and the hatching larvae eat the pests alive.
I also learned that the beneficial insect adults need nectar and pollen since most of them do not attack the pests directly. Like bishops in chess and in the church, they move obliquely.
I was cutting a junk bush growing along the fertile and well watered path of the Jackson Aqueduct. As I bent down, a tiny flower fly hovered. One side said, "Spare the bush. The beneficials are hunting and hiding there." The other side said, "They have a thousand other plants left for shelter and food."
The bush lost.
A few weeks ago I was becoming aware of this interplay between plants, pests, and beneficial creatures. I suggested to one reader, bend over close to the flowers on a sunny day, you will see a flower fly hovering (also called a hover fly). And guess what? She did.
I did not even try to harm the beetles I found chewing on the rose blooms, though I was tempted to burn, fry, spray, chop, and smack them. I even saw obvious earwigs hiding in the blooms. "A little Sevin, if I had it, and boom, Gone." But I would have killed the pest-food that brings the beneficial creatures by inciting the plants to send chemical help signals.
Meat Market Suet
The two least expensive bird foods are finch mix for the little ones and suet, for -
|The grackle looks like a crow until the light strikes him right,|
highlighting the yellow eyes and the metallic colors.
- Use traps with scent to attract the love-struck bugs, clearing the yard for more.
- Poison the ground to kill all the grubs, though many of them are beneficial. The poisons will likely harm all the healthy soil creatures as well.
- Attract birds with slug spearing beaks - grackles and starlings.
- Provide plenty of water for drinking, bathing, and dropping their disposable baby diapers.
- Feed them suet, fruit, nuts, bread, all kinds of food - but suet most of all.