7 Quick Takes is hosted by Jennifer Fulwiler over at Conversion Diary. I've been reading her Quick Takes and some of the other bloggers that join the weekly meme for a couple years now but this is the first time I've ever participated.
I have really awesome Russian neighbors. They are older than me and have an adult son so I try to keep my kids from driving them crazy. On the whole we have a very nice neighborly relationship. Gardening is the main bond at this point as it seems the one thing we've got in common. They've given me a pie for making the view from their kitchen sink pleasurable while they do their dishes. I spend all summer trying to convince them to take the surplus of veggies out of my beds. So far they've been happily accepting cucumbers. We live on small lots so if we are outside at the same time doing yard work, chances are we are going to bump into each other. We share our gardening successes and aggravations, ask for advice and plot future projects together. None of us are trained horticulturalists or landscapers. We are trial and error and like to trade our hard learned tidbits of info. with each other.
My neighbors have been driven batty by the onslaught of japanese beetles that are devouring almost everything in our gardens. My rose leaves are lacy, they are eating the buds before they even have a chance to open. My apple trees, gladiolas and crape myrtles are also suffering. They are now onto the chaste trees and munching happily away on both flowers and leaves.
I hate them with a blind passion. At least the rabbit who is visiting often is cute and there is only one of him to contend with. No solution had been found to adequately deal with this dreadful little insect. I kept meeting my neighbors outside as I shook my rose bushes as they were trying and collect beetles in a bucket of soapy water - every few hours.
A few days ago I mentioned that my granny would dump "grey water" otherwise known as used dish water on plants at times. I wondered if the soap in the water would deter the bugs. With nothing more than a hunch a spray bottle was procured, a few squirts of Dawn were added to the water inside and we stood together as my front bed rose bushes were inspected and found to be loaded with japanese beetles. He sprayed and we stood there hopefully watching. Within 30 seconds the beetles looked drunk and sloppy. Within 5 minutes they were all dead. DEAD!
We stood together and laughed. I do believe some arm cheering occurred. I almost hugged him!
Do I think this is really a longterm effective solution for japanese beetle control? No. But I DO know that it makes me inordinately cheerful to watch those suckers die right before my eyes. Creatures of God they may be, but my roses are prettier and deliciously fragrant so in comparison the beetles are extraordinarily low down on my list of creatures to appreciate as part of the miracle of life. Yuck is about all I can muster up when I think of them.
They died! This solution is cheap and easy. I've done the expected poking around on the internet and it appears that this is indeed an old-fashioned remedy. There are heated arguments over which dish liquid to use and whether to add anything else to it to make it more effective. Dawn is cheap and working well so I'm sticking with that for now.
ETA on June 28th: I have been spraying once or twice a day and it does work. Unfortunately the cottoneaster planted right behind it is shouting its displeasure as it is turning yellow and looking pretty sad. It's got to be the detergent bothering it. So, the beetles will get to eat my roses and I'm going back to shaking them off instead of spraying.
While in Williamsburg my mom asked me to post another round of pics of my yard so she could see how things are progressing. Mostly everything is looking bigger and a bit more wild. My secret is Miracle Gro indoor fertilizer spikes for all my containers. I have no idea why they are listed as indoor use when they work perfectly well outside in containers as well. I put in one for each plant in a pot sticking it right down into the root ball. I have to replace them about ever 4-6 weeks.
We made a trip to Williamsburg to visit my sister, Rachael, and for our girls to celebrate their birthdays. I stopped by the Williamsburg farmer's market on Saturday to pick up some Rockahock Farm Cherry Butter, which is perhaps the best fruit spread ever produced on the planet. Yum! Anyway, when I was in Colonial Williamsburg getting the cherry butter I realized that there were mature, full sized, huge and gorgeous chaste trees (vitex agnus-castus) everywhere. I have two in my own yard that are still shrub sized and I liked how the trees in CW had been de-limbed at the bottom to make a multi trunk tree (similar to a crape myrtle) with a large canopy on top. Of course, I needed to drag my husband back to CW so he could see the trees and figure out how to trim one of our chaste trees into a more tree like form.
My mother and sister agreed to watch my children and we headed back out. Those of you with young children will appreciate that all the stars have to align and your karma must be brimming with positive juju to make an occasion such as this happen. To be out, alone with my husband and in a pretty place for taking a stroll? AND the weather was perfect - not too hot or too cool or too humid or too anything. Perfect. We left saying we'd be right back but ended up spending at least an hour. Bob saw the trees, made the appropriate oohs and ahhs to please me and then we headed into the historic district to walk around. We popped into a little shop that sold soap and candles and overpriced pottery. I spotted this new Colonial Williamsburg garden themed book:
I have murder in my heart. I have a hit out on a little brown bunny and I will show him my southwestern VA roots if I catch him. I don't think there are any members of PETA who garden or they would no longer have such warm and fuzzy feelings about animals. Many years ago I read a book called This Organic Life by Joan Gussow. In the book she goes round and round with possums, rabbits and other critters who want to use her garden as their personal buffet. A student in one of her classes displayed shock at some of her critter control tactics (traps and drowning to name two) and she was amused by their naivety. I could relate because there is nothing more aggravating than working hard and looking forward to your harvest or blooms and realizing that a little pesty creature is benefitting from all your hard work. My children love the book "Whose Garden Is It?" and I've got to say I always identify with the gardener!
I've come to the conclusion that I am far more tolerant of mammals and birds than I am of bugs and reptiles. I don't care if it is their habitat that I am intruding upon - get the hell out of my yard! Bees and pollinators - fine. Please come visit. Spiders are occasionally tolerated if they help manage the swarms of mosquitos that seem to enjoy eating my kids and me alive from late afternoon through evening, but only in small doses because I am not particularly fond of hairy, creepy spiders. The japanese beetles have descended upon my yard and I am not happy. I've never seen them so thick in any year before and I am at a loss on how to control them. I'm thinking of getting several bag traps and hanging them in the woods that are near my house to try and draw them away.
Let's just say that after gardening for a few years I have a lot more empathy for large scale farmers who are trying to grow produce to support their families. I can see why big agriculture has turned to pesticides and insecticides and who knows what else. It would be devastating to lose your entire crop because a swarm of something decided to come in and decimate it. I'm not justifying the use of poison on food, just that I can understand wanting a little security.
Years ago I fell in love with daylilies. It was when I lived at the townhouse and the soil was horrid clay. I had over 50 varieties and I left them behind when I moved in 2009. At my new location, I began to figure out what to do with the nine or ten large flowerbeds that had been untended for years. It has been slow going, but I'm back to putting in daylilies. I began last year and then waited patiently for this summer to arrive so that I could see the fruits of my hard work. And now they are beginning to bloom! I think I have about twenty varieties so far, but not all of them will bloom this year because I planted some of them early this spring and they need to get established. Here's what I is blooming this week:
|Ack! I can't remember the name of this one.|
|Blushing Summer Valentine|
Well, I'm utterly smitten and am constantly trying to create new beds so I can have even more lilies. Poor Brien. :oP
What follows are the daylilies that have bloomed or are currently blooming in my yard.
I have no clue what that sweet little daylily up there is. What I can tell you is it's a rebloomer that first blooms early.
Oake's Daylily Festival last year. She too is rather peachy/coralish but wow, what an eyezone!
Lily's garden. Those Frankly Scarlets are so very red. They look almost velvety and are so stunning.
I'm still awaiting a number of pinks and will post after they bloom.
Lissie, the girls and I are all heading to the Daylily Festival again this year. I'm dying to place an order before we go so I can pick them up there--they give you the BIGGEST plants!--but I have no clue where I'd put them. It's official, I'm obsessed. :o)
I finally decided on what fabric to use for drapes in our family room. A circular arrived promoting a Calico Corners sale and on it were drapes made in a fabric that I immediately loved. The colors will work perfectly in our home and I love the bright, bold print!