Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Rare Moment Against the Garden Flow

When it comes to the garden, I'm not a complainer. I go with the flow. I worry, but I don't complain b/c I can't do anything about nature. Wind, rain, insects happen. Mold, mildew, and drought happen. I go with the flow.

But, I just checked our forecast, and more storms are a comin' tomorrow. I feel a gripe coming on. An actual complaint. So bare with me. I live in the upper Midwest, and I should expect storms in the early summer. In fact, I should welcome them for the rain! I just can't help but wish I could toss a tarp over the yard and pass this one by. The winds have destroyed all of my garden phlox and bachelor's buttons, sending them flat the ground, the base of the stems snapping. The ground is saturated even 24 hours after our last rainfall. I've had several container plants just up and die b/c of saturation; two succulents actually rotted in just 3 days time, despite having excellent drainage, and another container somehow didn't drain at all, killing it's contents. I've staked and tied my plants more than I've ever needed to. With the ground wet some newer plants have actually just tipped over. The mulch is being pushed aside by the wash of rain pouring off the roof, forming piles of mulch beside bare mushy soggy soil. Outside the garden drama my basement's flooded a bit, too. This is madness like I've never experienced, and just plain want a week of dry hot sun, please.

I'm ever the positive one. I always find the good spin, folks. The rain hasn't been all bad. My jasmine are growing like mad. My roses are pretty happy. I see new blooms coming on all my bougainvillea. My tomatoes look better than they ever have before. The weed preventer is working, so not a lot of weeds to contend with. The best part, I have not had to water in a week or more. I love that!

I think after the brief dry weather today I'll pull my rotting succulents in the house during the storms, and set them in a sunny window. I'll definitely pull that saturated and dying container into a covered area. I'll adjust. And pray the rain doesn't float us away. But the rain isn't my only "urk" this morning.

As if horrendous rain were not enough, last night I discovered the first garden pest of the season. Thrips. (Tiny whitish sliver-shaped bug that get into the rose buds causing them to brown and shrink a bit). I've never had them before, to my knowledge anyway. I had just read an article about them yesterday and coincidentally found them for the first them the next day? I recognized them as soon as I saw them on the rose, and I ran into the garage and shuffled through my fertilizer to see if I had anything that could kill them right away. Aside from veggie insect spray I had a tiny bit of rose pest spray left in bottle from last year's Japanese beetle infestation, and I used every last drop to prevent the thrips from going to every rose in the garden. I painfully pulled the infected buds. 8 promising Brother Cadfael rose buds into the trash. Heartbreaking, folks. Perfectly good roses turned to a bud of brownish crumbles. I hate using a chemical, but what else could I do? In my climate I'm lucky to get two solid flushes of roses a season; three in a really good year. The first flush could be completely destroyed by these bugs, and I could only hope to have the problem under control by the second flush, and that would be it. No rose season.

While we're on the topic of pests, the Japanese Beetles should be here, soon, too. I've been reading about them and I've decided to try a method I read about here:

This year we applied one preventative dose of Sevin. When the beetles do arrive, I plan on plucking them into a bucket of soapy water. Maybe someday I'll gather a group to help me inject the larvae with disease, LOL. Read the article. Cool stuff, people.

I used to be an arachnophobic person, freaked out by spiders, and insects to point of panic and screaming, followed by shaking and paranoia. I get better every year. Having my primary bug killer, my husband, in Iraq for a year caused me to face some heavy spiders all by myself. In one year's time I darn near conquered my fear! This year I can actually dig in the dirt, find a spider, and let him crawl away to safety and continue digging. Progress. The Japanese Beetle, though, is one creepy bug. He's big, shiny, and if I remember correctly, he's a bit noisy when he flies. They cluster in groups, making them extra creepy. And they can totally destroy a rose bush in days! You actually have to remove the leaves and buds they've eaten b/c they flock to the area to meet each other. If I'm not mistaken, they can sense where their buddies were/have been eating. Needless to say, in just a short time, I'll be able to show you a picture of them. Sigh.

If anyone has any great methods for taking care of thrips or Japanese Beetles, please pass the on to me.

So, around here, the garden work has begun.
Have a great day gardening everyone!


John said...

Great blog. Hope you get the Thrips under control.

Karen said...

I feel your pain. My corn has drowned uh let's see...... for the 4th time this year! ARGHH

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