I knew it would rain today, so I got busy. How did I know? Not from the weather websites, Accu-weather, or Weather.com. We were supposed to have rain yesterday, according to those experts. But one key sign was missing. Mr. Gardener always mows the lawn just before a storm. Today he was mowing early, and I dug out my seeds. Weather websites said - big storm at 4 PM. Ha! But the big storm should arrive tonight.
Yesterday I combined pruning with gathering roses for each lady on our cul-de-sac. The number of baby roses needing extra care had declined, but I noticed some canes with dried out canes on the end. Pruning that off helps the rose jump into leaf production.
|Name this plant - too easy.|
Later, we dug out two holes for Elephant Ears, planting them, and placed cardboard over the sunny garden, where raspberry canes were not yet growing.
I have been gathering seeds for the Wild Garden, so I planted those all over the back yard. The chief selections were:
- Beneficial plants packet - for plants that host beneficial insects.
|Comfrey is also called Knitbone,|
but experts caution against using it as a tea.
|Comfrey's small cousin, Borage (Bee Bread), has similar flowers and foliage.|
Both plants can look a bit weathered and bug eaten,
but they grow well.
|Forget-Me-Nots are in the same borage family.|
Nothing beats planting just before a long storm. Now we are past 4 PM and hardly any rain has fallen. The big storm was going to hit this afternoon, and it felt like it. Sassy and I were almost blown sideways by the gust at 4 PM, a sure sign of a storm, but it blew by. Mr. Gardener is never wrong, so I suspect we will have the promised storm this evening.
The Feverfew should take over the low growing flowers easily, especially in the Wild Garden.
The Comfrey seeds were planted with Feverfew, to get some starts going. It is another herb, often grown for copious compost high-nitrogen greens.
My idea is to have plants naturalize, take over the growing spaces so they fill the growing spaces instead of the worst weeds (ragweed). Good plants will reduce the opportunity for noxious weeds. We also have plants to reduce the last areas of tall grass with cardboard and autumn leaves.
Naturalizing flowers takes some adjustments in thinking. I was sorry about planting Feverfew in Midland, because those little white flowers soon appeared everywhere. I did not know about plants loved by beneficial insects or I would have welcomed their omnipresence, which began with one gift from an herbalist.
Tanacetum parthenium feverfew SYNONYMS Chrysanthemum parthenium, Matricaria parthenium, Pyrethrum parthenium FAMILY Asteraceae (aster) • perennial in USDA zones 5–9; grown as an annual below zone 5 • native of Eurasia • blooms late spring to early summer • 1–2 feet (0.3–0.6 m) high and as wide Feverfew is tough as nails. Thriving in lousy soils and full to partial sun, feverfew grows like a weed, and thus the caution I give in the next paragraph. Each small daisylike inflorescence comprises hundreds of tiny yellow disk flowers surrounded by a row of white rays. The ferny foliage is heavily fragranced (I don’t like the scent, but others do) and medium green. On any given day in my garden, the flowers of feverfew are crawling with tachinid flies, lacewing larvae, ladybug larvae, minute pirate bugs, syrphid flies, damsel bugs, assassin bugs, spiders, and lots of other natural enemies.
That said, be aware that this plant likes to make babies—a whole lot of babies. So much so that my stand of feverfew starts every year as a carpet of fuzzy green seedlings. I have to pull the vast majority of them out so that my other plants have room to grow. If you plan to incorporate feverfew into your own garden, be prepared to religiously deadhead it before it goes to seed. Even then you’ll find yourself yanking some out.
Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 2752-2766). Timber Press. Kindle Edition.
As Walliser warned, naturalized can mean run-amok. The Star of Bethlehem bulb is known for that - and given away as a bonus by Michigan bulb retailers.
Currently I have all my white and Peace roses under attack by aphids and some other pests. I am counting on Feverfew to welcome the beneficial insects that will fight back in the second round of blooming. For now I will let the white and Peace roses get juiced, because they are providing food for the pest eaters.
Birds are also essential in the battle against pests. They need fresh meat for their nestlings, so they are on the prowl for anything that moves. Helping birds is the same as eliminating pests.
|Dill and the entire carrot family will|
attract beneficial insects.