||Deep Forest & Rahul Sharma - Viva Madikeri
Thanks to all the rain, the oregano and chocolate mint have a bit of anthracnose. I’ve removed the infected parts, but I have a feeling I’ll be seeing more of it. I’m not terribly worried about the plants yet; mints are a robust family and mine get massive. Even all that I’ve removed isn’t even 1/4th of the whole plants.
Then again, everything around here seems to be larger than life. After the first big rain, I stepped outside close to midnight to dump excess water collected by that dehumidifier I have to constantly, only to find what was perhaps the largest spider I have ever seen next to my compost pail. At first I thought someone’s pet tarantula had gotten out. But the general rule in Virginia seems to be that the bigger they are, the more harmless they are. The biggest ones we have around here are these, and they’re one of the ones we really like having around. (Though as shy as they are, you rarely see them…and this girl was probably only out to dry herself off from the break in the deluge) Far preferable to the big Eastern cottontail lounging around in the herb garden.
Yes, lounging. Not even browsing; he was laying there as comfy as could be until I spooked him. He (or she, not completely sure which at the moment) belongs to the warren beneath one of the sheds, where Sasa likes to spend considerable amounts of time attempting to dive into the hole to get at the “toys”. They’d be adorable if they weren’t so destructive and forgetful; they even try to eat the lily-of-the-valley each year before they find out once again that they don’t like it. A little insecticidal soap and cayenne pepper seems to discourage them from demolishing the coneflowers…for the moment.
Now, I tolerate a surprising amount when it comes to pests. I admitted that the rabbits are cute, but cabbage whites are pretty, and even the aphid-farming ants perform some great aeration on my compost pile. (I just wish they wouldn't bite.) Usually, my control just means a little discouragement so that they don't overgraze. But there is one pest that is entirely unwelcome in my garden.
As much as gardening in full hot sun is not recommended, it's one of the only ways to avoid being assaulted by the Asian Tiger mosquitoes I mentioned when we first moved out here. I had to burn one of the OFF! patio candles in the middle of the square foot path to keep any more from chowing down on me; itchy bumps all over for the past 3 days. They even swarmed Sasa when I let her out back to do her business while I worked...I think she thought I was punishing her when I swatted several off her.
The only thing that seems to deter them is full sun and hot weather. And with this year's cool summer, they're getting even more plentiful and aggressive, coming out of the shade they usually stay in frequently to make me miserable. And as I mentioned in the same, nearly all of Virginia's bats on the endangered list thanks to white nose, so I can't rely on them.
But other help might be on the way. If you recall this girl, she apparently left an egg casing that I missed.
( Baby European mantises! )
The buddleia seems to have enough aphids to keep them from eating each other. (The only thing to worry about is that they'll eat the butterflies. Fortunately, only cabbage whites seem to like it and if there are a few less of them, I won't be too upset) But just to be on the safe side, I relocated one to the vegetable garden in the back. And if that (large) dragonfly I freed from my netting the other day returns, those mosquitoes won't know what hit them.
And now, for the late spring blooms!
( Menton tulips, blooming at last, and Muscari )
( Allium 'Persian Blue' )
( Columbines )
( Siberian iris 'Caesar's Brother' )
( Not a bloomer, but have some 'Cascade' hops anyway )
Next time: veggies!