Saturday, May 4, 2013

First Sightings

Today is a day of firsts. Spring has been sprung from winter's grasp...we won't count that tiny bit of snow left on the side of the house where the sun doesn't really reach.

The dandylions are coming out. Pretty yellow things that herald the coming of butterflies and bees. Speaking of butterflies, I saw my first of those this year. Sized between a quarter and a loonie.

Something I saw, heralds the coming of my lilies. I saw my first red lily bug. Last year, I left them alone thinking something so pretty couldn't be harmful. Harump!

I did manage to have some pretty blooms as you can see in the photo below. However, if you look closely at the photo, you will also notice holes in leaves and closed flower blossoms.

 In the next picture, if you look at the leaves, you will see a picture of the horrible destroyer bug. The ominous red lily beetle. This innocuous looking little beetle mated on all my asiatic lilies, left awful looking clumps of slime covered slug like babies that ate everything. Metamorphosed and started mating and procreating again. EEEWWW!

 You can see the "babies" on the stems of this plant, and the results of their destructive tendencies.

This year, I researched the life and habits of the red lily beetle. Seems my best shot is to get out there in spring, and seek out the beetle and crush each one as I find them. So today when I spied my first beetle I picked up two leaves off the ground and crushed the little thing between. Squeemish, but totally doable considering the alternative.

Then I went to the next section of my garden where I planted lilies and set out to seek and destroy. By the third beetle I decided to forgo the leaves and just did it bare handed. Totally gross but I do not want to lose my lovely plants again this year ( I read they only get worse) to some mettlesome little bugs that do not benefit my garden in any way. It didn't take long to get over my squeamishness. This is an out and out war. If I cannot control the beetle infestation, I will have to get rid of my lilies and I am not quite ready to do that.

I have lots of the standard orange day lilies. These don't seem to be bothered by this particular pest. The local IGA had a sale two years ago on the asian lilies and since they are perennials that increase in size each year I just had to have them in my garden. Their beauty however, comes at the cost of a tiny beetle.

My plum trees took a bit of beating this winter.

First we had snow and ice:
 Then more snow in between these two pictures. And then, more ice as seen in the picture below.

Here you can see that we had plenty of snow. The worst is that the snow banks were going down and we had a major dumping her. I took this picture of one of the dogs just to see the level of snow. He really had to crawl to get into his house.

Here you can see some of the broken branches before I cut them off.

There were quite a few. One plum tree has only the top two branches left. And many trees in our cedar hedge will need to be staked in an effort to bring them up straight again. The snow was so wet and heavy that it bent over the tops in the first snow storm, and the second snow storm caused many tops an branches to pass the winter caught in the resulting snow banks.

 Here is a gratuitous shot of a marigold plant started in early March that is now getting ready to bloom. When I hold the plant to my nose, like tomatoes, marigolds have their own distinctive smell and it so reminds me of a warm summer day.
 Have a great day.

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