BEWARE! A certain amount of WHINING directly ahead!
So no goslings this year.
About those YELLOW APHIDS, watch for them vigilantly. They will ruin all of your milkweed and make it inedible for your monarch caterpillars. If you have lots of milkweed, as we do, pull the affected one out, check very carefully for all sizes of caterpillars to move and put your foot on it. If you have limited milkweed, crush the aphids with your fingers (ugh!). Spraying obviously is not an option, you will kill what you are trying to protect.
Keep an eye on your LAVENDER. Excessive rain causes fungus infections. This can do them in fairly quickly. Be sure to keep the base and middle cleaned out. If necessary, prune some out of the middle to open up the plant for light and air.
I always start with the WEATHER. ‘It’s Spring again, and birds on the wing again, start to sing again the old melody.’ That is all I have to say about the lovely weather.
Customers and friends (Wait, my customers are my friends.) always ask me, “How was your winter?” My answer is the same as other years; had big plans as to what I would get accomplished, didn’t do it.
Go there! Many , many (they say 4000) plants and trees, all well marked and cared for. You walk around the college campus, through wooded trails if you like and also admire some of the beautiful buildings. And it is all free. It is about a 45 minute drive, but don’t go during rush hour because you must go out the Blue Route
I believe many of us lost more plants and shrubs than usual this year. It wasn’t really the cold, it was the wet. Lavender especially suffers from wet feet and sometime never recovers. Hidcote is the most likely to get over being mostly top-killed. Cut off the dead and very weak, clean out the leaves and don’t mulch!
Can you believe that the State of New Jersey tax commission, in its infinite wisdom, has set the SALES TAX RATE at 6.625%? Very frustrating. It means I have to use the calculator for every transaction.
As I am sure I have mentioned before, I HATE GROUND IVY. I must admit, though, that when it is having its moment it is pretty. Apparently, it is also appealing to our insects. I was very surprised to see a big bumblebee passing by all the blooming violets to work the ground ivy.
We have a NEW GOOSE! If you hate geese, skip this section. Our female goose, Gracie, has for the past two years laid eggs and set on them faithfully only to hatch nothing. The reason? Our gander is 31 years old and while he is willing, he is no longer a ‘good’ gander. So I took action. I ordered four fertile buff goose eggs online and we exchanged them with her non-hatching eggs. So why the new goose if we are expecting goslings? Our gander is so lonely with Gracie on the nest most of the time, he was driving us nuts with his loud incessant honking. Therefore we got him a girlfriend. Now he is quiet, but the new goose is loud. Oh well, she will settle. We are due to hatch May 10.
Angus also had a pretty HEN I couldn’t resist...
Did you seem a bit short of butterflies last year? We did. Look around your property for PRAYING MANTIS EGGS. These voracious insects eat your butterflies, they eat your caterpillars and a big praying mantis can even catch a hummingbird. I was shocked to see nine praying mantis egg masses in a shrub nearest our best milkweed area where we always have caterpillars. I removed them and will be more vigilant in the future.
A few years ago I was weeding my perennial bed and found many butterfly wings under a phlox. There was the praying mantis, sitting in the blooms, waiting for butterflies. He found a new home somewhere with the grasshoppers and crickets.
We have in stock AQUILEGIA CANADENSIS, the native columbine I love with the red and yellow blooms. There doesn’t seem to be a common common name for this plant. I have seen it called ‘Little Lanterns’ and several other names. Anyway, come and get it, you will love it, too. Likes a bit of shade.
Our variety spotlight this issue falls on STOKES’ ASTER (stokesia laevis) Botanically, it is not an aster, but looks like one. It is native to coastal areas south of us but is generally hardy here. Annnd it doesn’t mind our sandy soil. It comes in various colors of fine big fluffy blooms. Named after Jonathan Stokes, English physician/botanist (1755-1831), we have the variety ‘Honeysong Purple.’
MIGRATORY MINT Sometimes I forget my own advice. I have several big assorted pots out by the road. I was looking at one and asking myself, “Why is this orange mint popping up here and there?” Oh, that’s right, mint moves from where you plant it. The original plant? Dead.
We all have our TO DO LISTS whether mental or physical, but sometimes you need to throw your list out the window (virtually, of course) and do what has been bugging you the most. For example, we have an enormous white butterfly bush that we have both been picking at when we have a minute walking by it. Two days ago I had enough and just finished pruning the whole thing. Should have been doing many other things like maybe writing this newsletter but it was bugging me.
And sometimes you must rise to the occasion and do what you must do, like RUNNING.
#1 You all know we have chickens. You also probably know we have foxes. I was working in the market when I heard squawking and saw the fox making off with one of my hens. I gave chase and the fox kept losing her grip. I was gaining at a fast clip and she dropped the hen and ran off. The hen settled her ruffled feathers and went back to the barn.
#2 Andy was working under the hood of our baby Volvo, changing the fuel filter. He started the engine and saw to his horror that one of the clips was leaking drops of gas onto the hot manifold, making a little fizzing sound. He turned off the engine and made it to the house and back faster than a speeding bullet with the fire extinguisher. Thankfully, no fire. You do what you hafta.
HERB STUFF The rues look great this year. Get one of two for your swallowtails. Nothing else eats it. If your rue gets gangly over time, cut back hard to new growth in spring.
Come and get your parsley before I kill it. It looks really good right now if a bit small, but parsley and I do not get on well together. I guess I am not boss of the house. L
We have five varieties of lavender and five varieties of rosemary. What’s in a name? Phenomenal lavender is very popular. I have yet to plant one myself.
I don’t know if you ever notice the STAMP on your newsletter. Newest one out is a Peace rose, which is my favorite and the only hybrid tea I own. It says PEACE rose. Clever.
PERENNIAL STUFF We have two colors of Buzz butterfly bushes, sky blue and magenta. That is the variety that stays a reasonable size without much pruning.
No Snow Lady shorter shastas, but I got one called ‘Adorable’ which is kind of mounding with lots of short blooms. Also have a fluffy one called ‘Banana Cream’.
We have a new penstemon. It is named ‘Dark Towers’ and has burgundy foliage like ‘HuskerRed’. The difference is that the blooms are pink.
Balloon flowers are so indestructible. They just keep coming back, in the ground, in a pot.
In case you’ve forgotten how to tell BUMBLEBEES from CARPENTER BEES, bumblebees have a furry rear, carpenter bees have a shiny one. It’s pretty obvious. Male carpenter bees can’t sting, females will if you pick them up and squeeze them. Males sometimes act aggressive but it’s all bluff.
Last year I told you about a weird trick to repel carpenter bees, stuffing a brown paper bag and hanging it up so they think it is a hornets’ nest. Believe it or not, it seems to work! Try it and report back.
I have set myself a CRUSADE. I want to get our little Mount Laurel State Park on the list of state parks and recognized as the smallest state park, sixteen acres. In case you don’t know, our park is on the corner of Hainesport-Mt. Laurel Road and Moorestown- Mt. Laurel Road back of Farmers’ Hall. It is a nice little park with marked trails, lots of up and down and a few benches. This is the Mount in Mount Laurel. If you look at the State map of parks and trails, it is there, but when you go to the lists, it is gone. I intend to fix that.
I am considering a mailing list PURGE, but I hate to do it. Perhaps if your tastes have changed, if you stopped by on a whim and will never come back or if I offended you in some way (nah, I am too nice for that) you could email me and I will take you off the list.
Remember, Andy sharpens tools for a nominal fee. If it’s hopeless, he will tell you.
Now? A newsletter at the end of September? Absolutely! Let’s clear out the market so I don’t have to carry all these lovely things to a winter spot. And as I keep telling you:
FALL IS FOR PLANTING!
Plant a perennial flower or herb in the fall and it has all winter to put down roots and come back big in the spring. No scorching sun, no hot drought, no bugs.
Most of our perennials look great with their new post-bloom growth and the herbs have, of course doubled and tripled in size. Even the French tarragon, which has looked terrible all season, is putting out from the base.
Do you know you could probably live on PUMPKIN PIE? Think about it. All the food groups are there: bread in the crust, pumpkin or squash for vegetables, milk and eggs for protein, and that other life essential, sugar. By the way, don’t try to get away without the sugar. Mark bought a sugar free pumpkin pie on sale last year and it was terrible. Tasted like perfume. Not even fit to bring home for the critters.
White Snakeroot is one of the more attractive pain-in-the-neck weeds. Growing up to three feet tall, it makes a good filler in bouquets, looking like tall white ageratum and holding up well. I am sorry about Abraham Lincoln’s mother, but I do allow some fairly large areas of snakeroot. Oddly, it almost never grows in the cow pasture.
HYSSOP is another underused butterfly herb/flower/sub-shrub. We have the one that blooms blue. Hyssop is semi evergreen, which means it pretty much keeps its leaves until new ones in the spring. If, by chance, you hate butterflies, the blooms dry extremely well and hold their color.
The JAPANESE KNOTWEED ‘Crimson Beauty’ is going to be spectacular. Just ask and I will cut some for you, but you have to pick the leaves off yourself. Hang to dry and it will keep its color indefinitely.
A few years back we tried to sell Queen of the Prairie, filipendula rubra, which I got from my friend Lorna. It is a really wonderful native (plains) perennial with a tall naked stalk of shocking pink bloom. I was having trouble coming up with a bloom description so I consulted the internet. Here is some of what I found: plumes, cloud-like, spray-like, wide panicles and wind-tossed fluff or foam. Its only drawback is that the large leaves look very much like pot. People were actually hesitant about those nosy neighbors peering over the fence. Perhaps with legalization on the horizon I should get seeds and see if I can produce a crop of Queen of the Prairie.
want to gamble.
We transplanted a huge RUSSIAN COMFREY from WV and hid it behind some things deer don’t eat. It looks fabulous! Also on that note, we put several pots of comfrey in the middle of a large area of variegated vinca vine, which deer do not like. So far, so good.
Perilla works too, except it gets so tall. We have big drifts of perilla here and there.
at WJEJRadio.com) He can still sing and sounds like himself. Appears a little older. Do you think it could be because he is turning 80 in a few months?
Obligatory comment on the WEATHER: I am sure that the basils and tomatoes among others would like the weather a bit hotter but I am very happy we are having spring this year instead of winter into summer.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS from last newsletter:
The Alaska fern is alive.
We now have three colors of BALMY BEE BALM. Not a lot of rose, so if you want that, better come and get it. Plenty of pink and purple.
The goose eggs didn’t hatch in spite of her vigilant setting. I suppose at age 30 our Knob is no longer a ‘good’ gander. Sad for her.
Last call until mid-August to try the Persian syrup. Call or email if interested.
My LAVENDER POLICY, right or wrong: We currently have five different varieties of lavender in stock. All of them are winter hardy, all of them are traditionally aromatic. The differences are in ultimate size and shape of plant, color of blooms and shade of green in foliage. All need full sun..
That being said, your LAVENDER should be blooming now, so here is some info on harvesting. Skip this section if you know what to do.
If you want your blooms to have color, cut as soon as the first flowers open and hang to dry. Some varieties may be already too far along for this. If you are making wands, stems must be flexible.
If you are only after the dried blooms you can wait till bloom is done, then harvest. Hanging is not necessary as slightly dried stems will be stiff. Don’t wait till stems turn brown and start to drop. Fragrance will be shot.
Obviously, you can choose to let your lavender bloom and not harvest it at all. You will need to trim blooms at some point to keep your plant looking good for next season.
ROBINS made a nest head high right beside our driveway. I thought it was a dumb choice but they successfully raised two babies. Of course they raised a fuss whenever they saw Marmalade or any other perceived threat.
Perennial GERANIUM (Not pelargonium) has always been on my list of plants deer don’t eat. Then they came into my shade garden back of the house and delicately nibbled all the leaves off my two geraniums. But they stopped after two assaults and now both plants are quite large. On the list or off the list? I haven’t decided. Need a list? Just ask.
Let us have a few words about those SCENTED GERANIUMS that are supposed to keep away mosquitoes. Do they work? I have heard many differing opinions. It may depend on the amount of mosquito pressure, in other words, how many mosquitoes you have around. Personally, I feel that any of the rose-scented ones are as helpful as the much more expensive citrosa. To that end, when I am working in the back of the market, I have been bringing my flat of rose geraniums with me and roughing them up every ten minutes or so. It could be stanping my foot to keep away the elephants (You all know that one, don’t you?) but I haven’t had mosquito problems there.
Is LADY’S MANTLE (alchemilla mollis) an herb? Yes and no. It is one of those plants with many possible uses, especially for women’s problems, but not proven effective. As you may see from the botanical name, it was also somehow involved with alchemists quest for gold. From a historical perspective, inclusion in a medicinal garden is certainly proper. Oh yes, if you rub those pearly dew-drops on your face, they will keep the wrinkles away! In stock? How could I not? Sun if well watered, otherwise part shade.
CARPENTER BEES are eating my market! I don’t usually worry about a few holes and a little sawdust but some of my roof beams are getting scary. One of my customers had a weird solution. She said to take a medium size brown bag, stuff it full of paper or plastic, tie it at the top and hang where bees are problem. They are supposed to think it is a hornets’ nest. (Hornets kill and eat them) Will it work? We will find out.
We have a new critter hanging around; a very cute SKUNK who I have of course dubbed Flower. She seems to be fairly tame, no itchy trigger finger if you know what I mean. Andy wants to pick her up and hug her, but I think not a good idea.
While on the topic of skunks, I promised one of my neighbors the formula for cleaning spray. It’s not 100% effective but pretty good. Keep out of eyes.
Skunk remover: 1 Qt. Hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
1 teas. dishwashing liquid
Plants are so determined to grow, sometimes anyplace will do. Back of our house is a door with two cement steps. In the crack between the steps, about one half inch, was growing violets, lemon balm, bittersweet, a black gum tree, one unknown weed and poison ivy. Amazing! As I have mentioned before, in a sidewalk type situation, all the moisture that falls goes in the cracks.
Andy says I shouldn’t mention TICKS because then nobody will come here. I said, ”Nah. Ticks are part of life.” Anyway, the deer ticks have been horrendous this year and they especially love me. I am becoming quite flexible removing them from those hard-to-reach areas. I may be in the running for contortionist of the year!
BUTTERFLY REPORT I think it will be a good year for butterflies. The parsley is loaded with black swallowtails and I have already seen a tiger swallowtail, several silver-spotted skippers and, surprisingly, a red-spotted purple.
As usual we are rampant with common milkweed but I haven’t gotten in any swamp milkweed yet..
I FOUND MY SEEDS! I don’t know about you, but I never get all the seeds planted that I buy. Until yesterday, I was mystified as to the whereabouts of last year’s seed, most of which would still be viable if stored kinda properly. Then, there they were, in my shed, in a plastic container with a proper lid. Wow! Plenty of time to plant gourds and pumpkins, maybe even some odd basils and malabar spinach. Very exciting.
Call me crazy but after my installation next week, I will once again be President of the MOUNT LAUREL GARDEN CLUB. It is a fine group, very active in events and projects, including several scholarships for Mt. Laurel students, with good meetings and good food. We have two (2!) very active male members and a number of husbands who show up to help on projects. So fellows, if you are interested, you won’t be alone. We meet at the Mt. Laurel Community Center the third Monday of the month, starting again in September. We are active all summer in several areas, so if you are interested, you don’t have to wait till fall. Call me or check out our web site.
Are you chewing your way through your shrubs and plants? Could you do it faster with your teeth? Don’t waste effort and ruin your expensive pruners, not to mention mutilating your victims. For a small fee Andy will sharpen any of your cutters. He can usually have them in a day or two. Mt Laurel GC members get free sharpening.
We would be rich if we didn’t FEED THE BIRDS. Tractor Supply loves us.
As writer of this rag, I can put in pieces that have absolutely nothing to do with herbs or flowers. This is one of them.
When my Mother went in the Home, I got the contents of my Grandmother’s china closet (and the china closet itself) As I knew, in with the dishes and glassware was a bowl, which, as I also knew, was the christening bowl for my Grandmother and Uncle Bert, her younger brother. This was not a large bowl or very pretty and besides it was very badly cracked. What to do? I didn’t feel I could just throw it in the trash. I decided to give it back. Two weeks ago I went to the cemetery in Woodsboro MD with the bowl and a trowel., (It’s a very quiet cemetery.) found my grandparents and buried my problem. Very satisfactory solution.
The old saying is, ”No news is good news.” This is not so good when there is a newsletter to write! I am trying to reach waaay back to the fall and winter for something to excite and inform. Wait a minute! Did I say reach back into the winter? I don’t have to reach very far! Temperatures went down into the 20’s several nights last week. My poor baby plants and sensitive perennials were huddled in the little greenhouse and the minivan. Hopefully all have adjusted now. I put them out and told them, ”You are just going to have to deal with it!”
Just finished spring cleaning our DRIFT ROSES outside the fence. Weather was warm for once so I had short sleeves. Now I look like I have some terrible disease. It is worth every scratch and puncture, however, as they are going to be fabulous. After a couple years of struggle, they are doing just what they are supposed to do. Drifts stay fairly low, about 30 inches with a nice spread. Blooms are smallish, double and profuse and, unlike knock-out roses, very fragrant. If you get them, buy the largest you can for the money and water them religiously the first two years. They have several bloom cycles and deadheading is not necessary.
BIRD REPORT (Not interested in birds? skip this article) Believe it or not, we have just had our first English sparrow in forty years. Yes, I know, they are at the grocery store, flying around in Lowe’s and so on but not here. I keep a list.
We are awash in cowbirds and red-wing blackbirds this year. The chipping sparrows, new to us last year, are seen almost every day. They are very cute, about the same size as the chickadees with a little red-brown crown.
Then there are the crows. They come when I call them, or, if I am slow with the food, I come when they call me. One bold fellow even occasionally comes on the deck for suet.
I find that I have gotten lax with my stock of BASEBALL BAT PLANTS. You know, the ones that you can’t kill with that bat. I intend to do better. I have several already and will soon have more. Plumbago, ajuga, lysimachia, etc.
We will have proper GREEK OREGANO this year, but no basil mint. My source lost their stock and I lost the pots that I planted for stock. I bought a strawberry mint at a show in MD, put it in the basement and killed it. The BAYS in the basement look great. They will be out this weekend for you.
OUR WINTER LOSSES Apparently our two big butterfly bushes by the market have died back to the ground. I hope they recover. The enormous santolina in pot by the market turned up its toes. We lost almost half of our American elm to that heavy snowstorm. The tree people said “You want us to take down the elm now?” Nooooo!
VEHICLE SAFETYALERT! We never plan to have an accident (That’s why they’re called accidents.) but here is something we gardeners need to do. In a collision, any unsecured tool- trowel , pruning shears, hand fork- can become a dangerous projectile causing damage or injury. Please secure your tools in some way or put them in the trunk. I have a heavy blanket in the back of the minivan and my tools go well under that blanket. Do it!
THISTLE LESSON Perhaps you already know your thistles but we didn’t. We thought we had a stand of the dreaded invasive Canada thistles in our pasture, but on better observance I realized they are biennial. Looked in my book and found that we have bull thistles. They are still big, tall weeds, though actually very pretty in bloom, and very painful! Much easier to control and I always leave a few for the blooms.
UNDERSTANDING BIENNIALS It seems that many people don’t understand the life cycle of a biennial so here it is. We will start with the plant in bloom, almost always in summer. The mature plant will produce many seeds and then die. The seeds will germinate in late summer or fall making baby plants that are winter hardy. In spring the plants will grow to maturity, bloom, and the cycle starts over. So biennials take two years for their cycle but if a good self-sower, you will have them every year. That means if you buy a large foxglove in bloom you will lose it after blooming unless it produces an offshoot which occasionally happens. Now read this again to be sure it sank in!
It’s time to clean up your LAVENDERS if you haven’t done it yet. Get all the leaves and plant debris out of the middle and away from the base. This will breed fungi which are death to lavender. Don’t mulch under the plant. You may gently fluff off dead foliage and prune out dead branches. Done. Ready for bloom. We have ‘Phenomenal’ variety again. I didn’t have one left to plant so can’t give comprehensive report. Anyone?
We have been informed by many sources that PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE is a bad guy; an alien that is taking over our wetlands and fields, so I was amazed to see one growing in our sandy, dry cow pasture. I watched it bloom for a while then went with shovel to take it out. Imagine my surprise to see this non-native, which supposedly nothing eats, well inhabited by a number of good-looking caterpillars. Also to my surprise, I could not find them in my Peterson’s caterpillar book. For once, the internet did not disappoint. They are caterpillars of the HAPLOA CLYMENE moth, which besides being very attractive, does resemble the Star Trek badge. I wanted to include a picture, but didn’t find one to do justice in black and white. Look it up. Loosestrife stayed, at least for the season.
We have our usual selection of yummy sounding CORAL BELLS: Plum Pudding, Cherry Cola, Peach Flambe, Ginger Ale and so on, plus Fire Alarm with amazing bright red foliage.
The little BALMY BEE BALMS that were left survived in their pots which is always a good thing and makes them a desirable variety. Of course, nobody has them available this year so we will be dividing and conquering, we hope. I am not sure if they are patent protected which would mean they will just be called ‘short bee balm’ but you will know what they are.
We went to the POULTRY SHOW last October and came home with a few new chickens , two very expensive ($25 each) golden lace Wyandottes and a frizzle rooster. Frizzles show up every now and again. They can be any breed but do not breed true. You will love him. Very wild looking.
Since I listen to my hometown radio station so much (Have I mentioned it before? WJEJRadio.com) I get pulled into activities there. For the third year, two years with my friend Shirley, I went to the Washington County Art Museum’s Art in Bloom. As you may know from other places, this is where the museum picks works of art to be interpreted in flower arrangements. It is in March. Anybody else interested? We stay over one or two nights and try to get in as much trouble as possible.
GOOSE STUFF This could get really long. I will try to abbreviate. Last winter in the snow and very cold, an enormous red-tail hawk went right under our deck after the geese. Camille was ok but Knob was injured in defense. If you remember, they are 30 years old. It was so cold, Knob was going to go into shock, so in the house they came, where they stayed for, well, it seemed like a year but I guess it was about two weeks. By the way, the hawk moved on and got one of our $25 hens.
At a later date, we lost Camille and Knob was very upset, so we found him another woman. Even at his advanced age, they got it on, so to speak, and she decided to set. So she is setting on six eggs under the deck, which left him at loose ends again. So we got another goose, a tufted Roman, but he doesn’t like her much. I’m not sure where we go from here, but if the eggs hatch, I will have to take geese with me to the old ladies’ home!
At the end of the season, I usually plant some leftovers that I have been lusting after in my SHADE GARDEN back of the house. Then through the winter the tags either disintegrate or get carried away by the chickens. Then the game is on when spring arrives, trying to figure out what is coming up. I do buy plants sometimes you know. Sorry to say, the expensive Alaska fern apparently didn’t like the cold.
REMEMBER, MAY 15 LAST SAFE FROST DATE FOR YOUR SENSITIVE PLANTS!
First, as usual, my obligatory comments on the WEATHER. Our thoughts go out to those areas who have had some nasty and scary times this year. Our own summer, however, wasn’t so bad. Not too much heat and enough rain to keep stuff growing. The weeds especially have had a good time. I let a large evening primrose grow outside my fence with the lilacs. I believe it has finally topped out at about eight feet.
Some of the BOOKS have gone but there is still a pretty good selection. Don’t make me carry them in the house!
I do feel there is a bit of fiction included. White fringe tree (chionanthus virginicus) is a native small tree or large shrub. No possibility of being 12 feet in circumference. It’s not far away. We are going to track it down.
Coming soon, sorry for the short notice: the EGYPTIAN FESTIVAL at St. Anthony’s Coptic Christian Church on Hartford Road near Lenape High School. The dates are Friday evening Sept 8, all day Saturday Sept. 9, and Sunday afternoon Sept 10. We have been going every year since they started having it. The food is fabulous, there is neat stuff to buy, if you are interested they have e brief presentation on the Coptic Christian church, annnnd you can dress like an ancient Egyptian and have your picture taken. Bring the kids; they have amusements for them, too.
I discussed mile-a-minute vine before but here is brief re-cap. It is a fast-growing annual vine with L-shaped leaves and wicked little back-facing thorns. If it hasn’t got berries (watch out, they are pretty) just pull it out. As I said, it is an annual
. Oriental bittersweet is probably the worst invasive going right now in our area. I see large areas of it in the wooded parts of Medford and it will eventually kill the trees. If smothering doesn’t work it will wrap around the trunk and girdle the tree. It looks like an innocuous vine and doesn’t berry until quite large. Leaves are simple; slightly shiny light green. When you pull it up, you will find the roots are orange. Hard to kill. Keep fighting.
You cannot totally defeat Japanese honeysuckle. Battle it where necessary, enjoy the smell where you can tolerate it. It will also smother trees and shrubs but more slowly. You can often pull creeper out of trees easily, but honeysuckle wraps around too much.
Remember FALL IS FOR PLANTING!
I always feel a little like Cassandra of Greek mythology must have felt. In case you don’t know, she was a prophetess who was always right, but her curse was that no one would ever believe her. She probably got the curse from that randy bad boy Apollo, whose appetites we also have to thank for bay.
I keep telling you that a healthy perennial planted it the fall will grow a sturdy root system with no heat stress and come back bigger and better in spring. Ok, I tried again.
We have some new pictures on our web site. I especially like hummingbird clearwing moths and got a couple of good pictures. Check them out.
BUTTERFLY REPORT. Since we have lots of parsley, we also have lots of black swallowtails. We had five at once on the balmy bee balm in stock. I seem to be seeing more buckeyes this year. Or maybe just seeing the same ones often? Not so many tiger swallowtails. I have a nice picture of an eight-spotted forester, but Mark said my filthy fingernails ruined the picture. (I looked. He was right.)
We love the little skippers that light and then spread their wings like a miniature fighter jet. Silver-spotted skippers favor the butterfly bushes.
We don’t see many monarch butterflies but they obviously have been around because we have a fine crop of caterpillars in the milkweeds wherever they are growing.
On our way back and forth from WV, we couldn’t help but notice that the wide median strips are about 1/3 milkweed. (And half teasle)
Butterflies do love zinnias. I rate them the top butterfly annual.
I always let at least one large EVENING PRIMROSE grow amongst the market plants because the Japanese beetles seem to prefer it above all else. To my surprise and to the surprise of my nice customer, a female hummingbird spent a lot of time with the primrose. I guess they are the right shape bloom. Nevertheless, I won’t sell them.