Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The perils of inviting them in

Once inside, that gorgeous plant that you rescued from your balcony or garden before Jack Frost could 'nip it in the bud' reveals that it really was a bug incubation station for some minute flying or web making thingy.  However  insecticidal soap or just plain dish soap diluted in water makes an effective spray for leaves and spines of plants.  The problem is, where to conduct the sanitation procedure.  The bathtub makes the perfect lab. A spray bottle makes it easy to get the undersides and nodes of branches where bugs hang out. Once the plant is dripping with foamy water leave it to 'stew in its own juices' to be sure the soap has penetrated the brittle carapaces of the bugs then, the shower is there to hose it off once the soap has done its magic.  You must be vigilant for the birth of the next generation of plaguing insects, though.  Be prepared to follow up with a fresh application if new bugs are seen.
For the time being my hibiscus is bug free. 

I was moved to bring in a hibiscus that had unusual peachy blossoms with a darker hued trim along the outside edge of the petals. But hibiscus are notorious for getting bugs and I thought I would do a preventative spraying. Here's hoping I am rewarded with blossoms this winter and the plant survives to go back outdoors.

I'm almost ashamed to show you a picture of my mis-shapen Jade.  But I live in  hope it will blossom from an ugly duckling amomg Jades into swan like graceful proportions. 
I also have a Jade plant that I must confess has never had a pleasing shape in spite of all the pinching and proping it has received. Spider mites were detected on it.  So in a way I have the outdoor plants to thank for me discovering it.  If I hadn't brought them in I wouldn't have been examining my plants for signs that the bugs had spread. It too received a dish soap application and hopefully  it is on the road to good health and better structure soon. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bring it indoors

I don't bring many plants indoors - lack of space, lack of time, and potential bug problems to name a few of the reasons that discourage this practice. But there is always one or two plants that I hate to see perish outside as the weather worsens. This year it is the papyrus plant that I wanted to salvage from my pond to put back out next year.  The roots must be kept submerged all winter, but I have a beautiful chinese pot to put it in and I will house it in my solarium and hope for the best. My ulterior motives are that, like all gardeners, I picture the plant in my mind's eye as lush, abundant and tropical luxuriating in my pond next year, and one season of growth will not achieve that effect.  So I have to winter over this plant or it will not ever live up to my expectations.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Deer At Riverwood

We almost missed seeing this deer, as incredible as it may sound, but they appeared behind us and if we hadn't turned around....

I had some visitors from Korea and I wanted to take them to a relatively 'wild area' so that they could see the Canadian forest.  This lovely walk in Riverwood Conservancy is just the ticket. They were very impressed with the site and kept telling me that in Korea there would be many people on the paths, not the occasional couple we encountered. It looks grey in the photo, but some of the trees still had their colour and it was a mild day.  The deer were coming to the stump to eat the seeds people had left for birds.  Photographers put seeds on the stumps and wait for birds to appear to eat the seeds.  I guess the deer have figured this out.  This is a mother and two fauns.
Once they had moved into the bush and were sitting under a tree one would not have seen them if you were walking and talking on the path. I often walk about this time and miss them.  I guess I need to keep my mouth closed!