Squishy Squishy

 

A few weeks ago, I started to notice that my normally beautiful delphiniums were not thriving like they usually do. Something was eating them and also using them for a baby bug nursery.

I thought it was maybe aphids or some kind of fly, so I tried an organic spray that I had been given. Everyday I sprayed every inch of my delphiniums. I did this for an entire week and there was NO difference. There was also zero activity on my rose that is right next to the delphiniums. So I looked a little closer and there was little caterpillars covering both plants. The little buggers were the exact same colour as the plant. So I went to the internet and tried to find out what these caterpillars were, and what was the best course of action.

My best guess is that they are delphinium worms or ‘delphinium leaftiers”. They are the caterpillar of the Golden Plusia Moth. Apparently there is not much chemically that will be as effective as just picking them off and squishing them one by one.

They overwinter in the stems of last years growth, and since I typically just leave my plants standing all winter instead of trimming them back to soil level in the Fall; That is likely why I have a big problem this spring. So I will try to get my delphiniums all tidied up this fall, so there is no home for the worms this time around.

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Now that it has been a couple weeks of squishing every caterpillar that I see, my plants are starting to come back. I ended up cutting everything back to the base because of how bad the caterpillar infestation was. Then I grabbed a set of gloves and got to squishing. Don’t squish them near your face, because they are quite explosive, and you’ll be covered in electric-green coloured caterpillar guts. Not that I speak from (multiple) experience ;). Now I just check on the plants at least once a day to squish any caterpillars that have surfaced. I used a pair of the thicker nitrile grease monkey gloves, and just hose them off and re-use them.

I don’t anticipate my plants being able to flower this year, but I do think I saved them from destruction. I wish I hadn’t tried the spray I had been given, and just started squishing things from the beginning, but now I know for the next time.

Not many photos, because I wasn’t intending on blogging about this whole situation. Mostly because I thought my poor beautiful delphiniums wouldn’t pull through. Now that they are, I feel confident in sharing my squishing technique. Sorry Golden Plusia Moth, but you are going to have to find a safer home for your next generation.

 

 

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Still Alive

Okay, it has been well over a month since I posted ANYTHING here. I am sorry about it, since it is kind of the time of year where I have tons of things growing and all the gardening enthusiasm forever. However… I’ve been going pretty non-stop with making things which keeps me away from gardening. (You can check out the Etsy Shop here to see some of the things!) This was a benefit a little earlier, when I didn’t allow myself to start sowing a million seeds. It’s all fine when they are seeds but then they grow and need potting up and then take up triple the space. Space that I do not have. Plus my creative brain gets to be happy and just do as it pleases.

But it meant that I severely neglected my blog. I tried to think of a schedule that I could try and follow for posts here… but I know myself better than that, and would end up apologizing infinitely for not meeting promises of posts because I got distracted. So instead, I’m just going to do what I kind of already do, and just write when the mood strikes. That might mean I write 4 posts in a day and then schedule them, or it might mean (unfortunately) going weeks between posts. I will try to keep it regular, but sometimes it can’t be helped, and me apologising every few weeks is pretty lame.

I wanted to pop in and show you that I legit do have things going on in the garden. So here are some photos:


Rhubarb is taking off! I hope to use more of it this year.


I rescued some raspberries from a garden that was getting a complete makeover. I wish I had grabbed more of them, as I have room for at least 4 more plants. I’m hopeful these fruit on old wood, and I’ll get a harvest this year from them.


Strawberries are looking good. I still need to figure out how to keep the squirrels off of them.


The Sweet Williams that I sowed last year survived winter and I cannot wait to see them this year. They are for my grandpa.


I bought myself a rose for my Birthday. Partly because it is white and I love white roses, and partly because of its name: “Iceberg”. As you can also see, the delphiniums are growing like crazy too. I even divided them and you can hardly tell I took away anything.


Spring onion patch. These just keep coming back so I leave them. I get fresh Spring onion, the bees get a flower they like, and I get fresh seed. Behind them I sowed the Garlic I had left from my crop last year. They are just starting to poke their heads up now. In the back corner of the photo, in front of the orange bag (full of leaves im going to use for mulch and the compost like), are poppies that survived winter! I’m pretty excited for them and hope they are as beautiful as I’ve imagined in my head.


Both my Taragon and Sage survived winter (in ground-not containers)! Possibly the Thyme, and Oregano too, but I’ll wait til June to decide if they legit survived or not.


I sowed this Lupin from seed! I’m glad to see it survived because my big beautiful one was completely destroyed by aphids last year. A second one also survived as well!


And I started digging everything and getting it ready for planting! AND as you can see in the top left, one hollyhock survived the winter, so keep your fingers crossed for me that the flowers are as beautiful as I remember my grandma’s being.

Ps. My clematis died, so if I still have clematis dreams I’ll have to get yet another new plant.

Backyard Update – May 20, 2014

I intended to work mostly out at the greenhouse on May 12, but instead, I ended up working all morning in the backyard. (I also intended to get this update posted a lot sooner than now, but my amazing boss bought us VIP tickets to go and see Cavalia so I was a tenny bit distracted by that)

I stapled some chicken wire up on the shed for some sweet peas and Scarlet Runner Beans. I intended to do this last spring, and then I tore my shoulder, and any heavy work ended up being pushed aside. I can’t wait to see the shed covered in beautiful flowers (and delicious beans) later in the summer.

The rhubarb is doing amazing. I would guess we can have a harvest in a few short weeks.

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Chives are doing great as well. I am waiting a little longer to put in the other seedling chives and other alliums in until its a little warmer at night.

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You can almost see the Delphiniums growing in front of your eyes. They may end up being moved when we re-do the patio area of the yard… But I hope not. They are very happy where they are.

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I planted my container potatoes that day as well. I just mixed a bunch of them up, so when I harvest them, it will all be a surprise. Hopefully there will be no hail like last year.

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I made a little flower bed around the huge poplar tree in the front yard with rocks we had near the tree. I will wait to put my little flower seedlings out until its warmer at night. I am trying to keep just flowers in there, but I may sneak in some Swiss Chard or Dwarf Kale out there too. I did pick up a pack of Iris bulbs, and stuck them in, so with any luck, they will start showing through anytime now.

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My amazing boyfriend made me a gorgeous Veg-trug style planter, and I can’t wait to fill it with dirt and plant some seeds! Next up, I am trying to get him to build a window box for our bedroom window.

My Lupin self-seeded its self all over my flower bed, and I’m still debating weather I want to let some of them stay where they are, or clear them all out. I have the lupins I started from seed to go in still too, and I think I will keep them all together to get a more colorful show.

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The lilies are also starting to poke through. Which makes trying to get all the grass out of the bed a nightmare. There have been a few lily casualties, but hopefully nothing they can’t recover from.

I planted out some of the lemon balm and spearmint by the shed area also. I’m looking forward to all the drinks and summery dishes I can add them to.

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We are over-hauling our garage at the moment too. I will have shelves to keep all my pots and gardening things in there, and Boyfriend’s tools can be all organized. It will be a much more creativity-friendly place soon, rather than a covered area where we throw everything we don’t want in the house. I’ll share some pictures of the project soon.

Previous Update: April 26

Backyard Update – April 26/ 2014

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While I don’t have much to update here, I thought I would start anyway, since in a few short weeks, everything will be taking off. There are not a lot of pictures to show, but I’ll give you a quick rundown of some of the things going on out here. (Side note- That picture above is my pony. She obviously doesn’t live in my backyard, but I couldn’t resist putting her picture in here to counteract the lack of plant pictures)

Rhubarb – It really started poking thought the ground at the beginning of April. So I took the opportunity and added some recycled potting soil and compost around it. It really needs to be divided again, but I will wait until next year. I have plans to actually use the rhubarb this year (like Rhubarb Barbecue sauce), so I didn’t want to mess that up.

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Chives – I am always amazed at these. Popping up while it is still basically winter. And these ones overwintered in one of our coldest on record… In a pot! I can’t wait for their little flowers – and the bumble bees that love the flowers too.

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Delphiniums – Again, I am amazed at these. They come up early every spring. After spending some time underwater (the grading in our backyard is not well planned), and freezing and thawing and freezing and thawing. They are another favorite of the bees.

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Lupin – I bought this the first year we lived here, thinking it wouldn’t really live past the first year… but it did. And it is thriving! I have even discovered that although I thought I had taken all the seed heads off, It has self-seeded its self all over my flowerbed. I may let some live if they survive, but I will be adding in the few lupins that I started from seed, near this older plant, so I will get a cool mix of different colours.

Lillies– My lilies remind me of my grandma, and almost every year, she buys a new variety and shares it with my cousin and I – so all 3 of us get one. I have mixed them all up, so I don’t know which is which until they flower anymore, but they are still gorgeous. Want more info? Here are pictures from my 2012 Lily garden.

Clematis – I wish I could grow clematis even a quarter as good as my grandma can. I don’t know if this plant is going to come back this year, but I’ll keep hoping. If It doesn’t, I may wait until we have our own house to try again.

I will show you pictures of the whole yard once we get everything cleaned up from this long winter.