|Neon Flash Spirea adds another layer of protection for the rose bushes.|
My nearby nursery was having a sale, so I was sure to get something. Sassy and I cased the joint on our morning walk. All the plants were set out, so I walked among them to see what might be good at this time of year. That was Sunday morning about 7 AM.
Mid-afternoon we went back in the car and picked out Neon Flash Spiraea, pictured above. Sassy had a great time with the owner's son. Almost Eden said, "Are your roses blooming? I want to see them." We had a discussion about likes and dislikes (hosta, ferns, and fake snow-on-the-mountain).
I wanted to form a low barrier to discourage traffic and encourage beneficial insects.
I was thinking about the thankless task of digging in maple-rooted clay when our new neighbor offered to help with his friend. They figured they had plenty of time before sunset, so they dug 15 holes just the way I wanted. I gave them my Gandalf staff to measure distance between bushes.
Spirea went around the roses because the plant hosts many different beneficial bugs, including ladybugs, pirate bugs, assasin bugs, butterflies, and bees.
The Air Force
The rose garden has many layers of protection against pests. The birds patrol from the maple tree, so I added stumps so they can rest just above the garden to look for food. Pests are very sensitive to vibration and hide quickly. The stumps give the birds an advantage.
We also have many ways to make toads welcome and hydrated, from flat pans of water to new bark shelters. They can tolerate sun but like the shade. Naturally we have plenty of logs forming a rustic, low fence. Toads love the shade of logs and the creatures log attract and feed.
The large area covered by wood mulch attracts spiders, because they know insects and other creatures will be around. I often see a web cast over the mulch a few hours after the mulch is put down. Spiders also lodge in the rose canes and enjoy their food dropping down or trying to get up. Many of my best cut roses come from right above the spider's nest.
Beneficial insects vary quite a bit, but in general the adult like tiny flowers for their tiny mouth parts. Often the babies devour the pests and the adults sip nectar and gather pollen. Ladybugs are beneficial predators at both ages.