I am so sick of bugs! We are really being attacked this year by both the dreaded red lily beetle and the awful green Japanese beetle. I often go out in the evening to collect them off of the plants, but it’s a losing battle. I’m ruthless, though, and when I spot them I either squish them right then and there, or if I’ve planned my attack better, I knock them into a container of water and let them drown.
There’s been a lot of damage to the lilies plants themselves, of course, with some of them completely stripped of all their leaves, poor things. Some of the plants seem to have faired better than the others, and I’m not sure why. The beetles are pretty hard to spot, even with the bright red color, because they tend to hang out on the underside of the leaves. I’ve also pulled a lot of the disgusting larvae stage as well, which present as little slimy brown spots. They are also attacking the milkweed which I’ve let go for the butterflies.
The Japanese beetles love all of my roses, of course. But they’ve also taken to hanging on on the red double impatiens in my window boxes, which is the first time I’ve had bug damage in my boxes. It worries me a bit because I try to re-use that soil a few time and I don’t want to propagate the darn things, you know? I’m not quite sure how to handle that at this point.
We planted a couple of new things tonight.
The best of the bunch today is a gorgeous blue wisteria, Wisteria Macrostachya ‘Blue Moon’, ordered from the folks who bred it, Rice Creek Gardens in Minneapolis. I’m totally psyched about a zone 4 wisteria, and trust a claim of that from a breeder in Minnesota. We planted it by the remaining post of the pergola, and I took out all of the soil in the planting hole and replaced it with compost and worm castings.
Then, we were in Home Depot again and got tempted into a couple of things there as well. First, Frank just couldn’t resist a pretty bearded white iris, Lacy Snowflake. They went in to the bottom of our iris hill, mostly because that soil is still so bad that iris are the only things that reliably thrive there. But also, having a hill of all iris really is quite pretty in the spring. And he was right — we don’t have white ones. How can we live without white ones?
My two temptations were two little short asters, nice compact plants full of buds and just a few blooms to show color. I bought several different varieties last year, and it looks like all but one survived the winter, but these two new ones are short and compact instead of tall and leggy, hopefully. I got “Professor Kippenberg’ (lavender purple) and ‘Sunny Almog’ (pink with a bright yellow center). One of the things I noticed is that the place I get my plugs and cuttings from grows (Jolly Farmer) Sunny Almog, so if it does indeed survive zone 4 and I like it, I might get some rooted cuttings from them next year. I need a lot more late blooming plants, and cuttings sure are cheaper than full grown plants.
And that reminds me that the Jollies have called twice now, wanting to know what cuttings I’m going to want from them next spring for my window boxes. I’ve got until October 1st to get my order in, so I need to start thinking about what my theme is going to be next year. This year, I’d done red, white and blue, and I don’t think I’ll do that again. It was really hard to get all three colors in balance, and I tended to have flushes of each color which wasn’t what I had planned. So I must think.