As one of the greatest loves of my life (growing flowers)….my garden is blasting away as usual for this time of the year! Although a sense of melancholy overcomes me this time of year, because it’s a sign of winter’s approach. It is also one of my favorite times of the year in the garden, and growing flowers. All the plants and animals are fiercely working to reproduce and ready themselves for winter!
Every year I search high and low for a few particular plants…annuals that I feel are MUST halves for my garden list. One of those is the butterfly weed. It is the ONLY plant that I know of in my part of the world….that the TRUE monarch will lay her eggs. I get all kinds of larva…but there is something mysterious about the monarch. For one thing….the larvae are some of the most interesting around…and maybe because I recognize them….the rest…I have no clue what they make. I have so REALLY gorgeous fluttering creatures…but I wouldn’t know their babies from Adam!
I strive…and take pride in my yard being a haven for all kinds wildlife….and I’m DYING to have some honey bee hives…but the rumors say that in an agricultural area…it’s near impossible because the farmers continue to use chemicals to fight insects….I know I know…it’s a vicious cycle…no hate mail please. My husband and I farmed for years and I really do understand that livelihoods depend on crops making the best yields possible. But I have also discovered a secret in my garden…and I actually think it would work if neighboring farmers would work together. One year I had an EXTREMELY bad infestation of something in my flowers….Dave and I were in shock when we discovered how bad these marauders got over night. We were discussing what we should use to get rid of them….I cringed…I just despise using any more than necessary pesticides. We decided to wait a few days…as it seemed exclusive to one plant…and I had more in another part of the yard if this grouping got destroyed. Checking vigilantly every day for the next few days…I was so distraught by the thought of losing such a huge grouping….or having to spray. One evening Dave and I were making the rounds…and to our surprise….there in the infested plants….was another invasion….lady bugs had EXPLODED!!!!!! They had come….and come in full force! By the end of the second day….the enemies were wiped out!!!! I was amazed by the work of nature! From that moment on….I have not used a pesticide to control a pest in my flowers. Now…I won’t lie…I DO use mosquito spray…if they get completely out of control….but I really try not to do that either, because I have tons of mud swallows and dragonflies that do a pretty decent job of dealing with them….but I DO worry about West Nile! Now…I didn’t start this post to lecture about pesticides…but I AM making a valid point. In your quest to have a beautiful garden….try this. Try picking particular plants just for the sheer intent to feed what invades your garden. Give them what they love the most….plant it behind something if you don’t particularly like the looks of it…but just make room for it. (I grow dill and fennel every year….just for the tomato worms) You will find that your plants will benefit…and you might be surprised how attached you become to some of them! If your favorite plant….is theirs….then plant more! One for you….and one for them! You might also be shocked by how nature deals with the other problems in your yard. Remember….when you spray…you’re killing the good with the bad…man made chemicals don’t discriminate. Remember also….if you plant it…..they will come! If they come….so will nature. The next time you find a detrimental invasion in your yard…I’m not saying to just stand back and watch….but give it some time first….or better yet…hunt for the natural solution. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly your yard will start to tend to itself. Now…I’m not gonna lie…sometimes it looks a little ragged around the edges because of “natural nibbling” but it really isn’t avoidable even in the most manicured garden…and your garden….and YOU will be healthier for it!
I don’t know what these little darlings make….but I let all my volunteer passion flowers live…just to provide them with food.
These are nibbling on my broom….and it looks bad…but I’ve seen the rabbits take my brooms to the ground for the last three winters…and they come back bigger and fuller every spring….so….I’m not too worried! The only one they seem to be bothering is one of my very established brooms….so for now…they stay also! =]….Besides…the birds keep most of the caterpillar numbers in check!
Okay….this isn’t a bug…but I think it’s cool….and it’s smells like heaven! I think…it’s called a sweet pea vine…and it grows like a weed!
What’s eating in your flower garden? Do you growing flowers and other things….just for the critters?