In my case, I have four full rain-barrels, a waste-basket full of rain, gardens with plenty of rain, and 10 days ahead of rain. Accuweather is usually too optimistic about rain, and Weather.com dismisses a lot of rain predicted. Weather.com has 10 days of rain.
I have an idea - brush up on beneficial insects. Here are some from Jessica Walliser's newsletter -
Spined soldier bugs
Big eyed bugs
The best part about beneficial insects is recruiting them through plants. If I want a certain type of beneficial insect, the most important part is having plants loved by that species.
For example, yesterday, when putting roses into two vases, numerous tiny ichneumon wasps hovered around the flowers. They were doing their work when I cut the stems and followed the roses. Were they saying goodbye to their kids - or looking for one last meal before the roses left? I do not have to figure that out. Their presence tells me I am using the right plants to support their work on the roses.
Or there is this little tip. The Tachinid flies look just like houseflies, and they are major enemies of pests. How do I know if I have Tachinids in the garden? Simple - the only insect in the garden that looks like a housefly is the Tachinid, and it has to be a Tachinid. Why? - Houseflies are never in the garden.
|/Feverfew is especially attractive to beneficial insects|
and spreads by seed. Fortunately it is a small plant.
What Are Some Plants for Recruiting Beneficial Insects?
Like most of you, I was new to beneficial insects a year or two ago. I was aware of them, thanks to my mother's fascination with insects, but not exactly well versed. Walliser's excellent and readable book on the topic got me especially interested.
So I study the plants more than the bugs. One vendor at the farmer's market said there was no cure for squash bugs. I had trouble believing that, so I began reading up on the subject and found this - Tachinid flies are potent enemies of the squash borer, so he can encourage them with Feverfew and some other easy to grow plants, like Sunflowers and Mountain Mint.
Another great part of getting plants to recruit these beneficial insects - many host plants are perennial. I got some Mountain Mint and Horse Mint, fun plants to watch in the garden. Mountain Mint has constantly buzzing insects around it and Horse Mint (Bee Balm) attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, as well as bees.
The squirrels have decided that I plant sunflower seeds to feed them, so I have given up on that weed - very exasperating, given the reputation and hardiness of the sunflower. I may look for its relatives as potted plants.
|Mountain Mint caught my eye in Washington DC,|
with insects flying around it in a constant buzz.
Almost Eden and Opie Give Us a Tour
Sassy and I were headed left for a walk when Almost Eden and his dog appeared on the right. That gave the dogs something to do while we talking gardening, mulching, and beneficial insect host plants.
|I am hoping Honeysuckle will be|
as aggressive in the Wild Garden as they say.