Friday, May 23, 2014

Sweet Spring

In the patch of Royal Purple Iris one group has variegated and is stripped.   I have said before that variegation is the product of a systemic virus that doesn't hurt the plant other than to change its color.  It is amazing to see several dozen Royal Purple with this one stripped Iris in their midst.  The Columbine are lovely this year as are the Bleeding Hearts.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Iris and Friend

The extraordinary beauty of the Standard Bearded Iris cannot be over estimated. In many ways she is the loveliest of the early summer blooms. - even rivaling the rose in richness of color and scent.

... and of course, a rose by any other name may be Jasper.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Spring, Finally

Here is my new rose "Smoke Rings."  She is pictured first as she is opening and then when she is in full bloom.  Also with her is the Royal Purple Iris and her court of Corsican Violas; the Firewitch Dianthus; the Hardy Ice Plant and the Little Johnny Jump Up also a viola.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bee Alert

For a number of years I have used and recommended, “Bayer Advanced All In One Rose and Flower Care.”  Bayer Advanced is a systemic feed, insecticide and fungicide.  I am discontinuing use and recommend that others do so as well.  It contains two Neonicotinoids which are insecticides that are nicotine derivatives – Imidacloprid and Clothianidin.  Neonicotinoids have been linked to the death of bees. 

I believe that the solution which I recommended in an earlier post to discourage rabbits from eating flowers and leaves will be very adequate in discouraging insect infestations.  I will be researching feeds and antifungal preparations immediately.  I will post my findings soon.

Monday, May 5, 2014


Here is Jasper who lives in my yard.  She has been digging in my gardens and eating my lovely violas, also pictured here.  The squirrels dig where she doesn't, so I have had to treat the gardens and my pots to discourage Jasper and her buddies from interfering with my lovelies.  The pots are currently planted with oregano and thyme too small to repel the digging creatures with their scent. 

First, I have used MoleMax.  This is a granule that is spread in the garden or on the lawn to repel burrowing animals.  Its active ingredient is castor oil.  Apparently this, like the aforementioned herbs, is what is known as a "scent barrier."  The critters can't stand the smell of castor oil - who can?

In order to discourage Jasper from eating my violas and rose leaves, I have sprayed them with a concoction of my own made of water, Tabasco, garlic powder, dish soap and a touch of vinegar.  Now, in the first place the soap and garlic discourage insects.   Indeed this is the organic garden's first line of defense against infestation. The Tabasco and small amount of vinegar are not palatable to Jasper.  Thus, encouraging her to eat grass and the things I am growing for her.  I am spraying this liberally on any plant being eaten by Ms. Watership Down. None of this discourages bees to my knowledge.