Sunday, July 15, 2018

Rose Gall - Diplolepis rosae

Watering my garden this morning, I noticed yellowing leaves on my Rosa glauca. A sign of heat stress. Yet, as I looked closer, I saw a mossy mass which I've only ever seen once before.

I knew this is a rose gall, but I wasn't sure what was causing this gall.  Galls can 'grow' on all sorts of plants. Sometimes it's a sign that the plant is stressed.

I took my secateurs and cut the gall off with two sets of leaves at the base of the gall.

Mossy hard mass. Really cool.

Took my secateurs and cut the gall in half. Found several larvae in sections. Each within their own chamber.

They are in fact larvae from a wasp.

Non-native - an European introduction called: Diplolepis rosae.

The most fascinating aspect is: how the heck did they get in there?

Adult wasps lay eggs on the plant and once a larva hatches, it begins to feed on leaf bud tissue, and an amazing process begins. The host plant is stimulated somehow with the feeding, where cells from the surrounding tissue multiply, adding layers of tissue - forming this gall. The larvae within, creates a microhabitat, where not only they are protected and housed, but the chambers they indwell also become their food source.  A hotel with room service, if you will.

Pretty cool.

However, since it's an non-native intruder, I squished the gall and disposed of it. Removing and destroying it may sound harsh, but doing so before the gall dries out and the wasps emerge, will help to reduce the infestation. I fear if we don't handle these invaders properly, they will take over and cause major issues down the road.

Neat eh?

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Creeping Jenny Eaten By Sawfly Larvae

What's eating my Creeping Jenny?

Golden Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea'), is a staple in any garden. Used as a perennial ground cover or trailer for containers and hanging baskets - it grows in sun or shade.

So when I walked through the garden this morning, something was awry. I noticed foliage had been eaten; nearly every leaf was damaged.

On closer inspection, these Monostegia abdominalis larvae were happily munching away. Grrrr.

Great, here's another alien insect, reeking havoc in Ontario. Another introduction from Europe we don't need.

These "caterpillars" are in fact sawfly larvae.  Check out this link by Kansas State University to see the difference.

In total, I collected 23 from this one spot.

They are known to feed on foliage within the Loosestrife family of plants, which Creeping Jenny Lysimachia is classified under.

No spraying necessary, it took me no more than 4 minutes to gather them. They are quite easy to find as their silver/grey coating is a great contrast to the lime green foliage. Do Note: once you touch them, they coil and drop off the leaves.  They are known to have 2-3 life cycles per season. These came out in late June, so keep checking your plants for any other generation that may come 'calling'!

One bonus, they became a great snack for our Koi fish in the pond.

Here's Wikipedia's taxonomy description:  Monostegia abdominalis

Friday, June 22, 2018

Tree Sweaters - Yarn Bombing

This post may not have true horticultural content, but I felt compelled to share.

I usually have many distractions walking downtown Toronto. There's so much to take in. Like today, I couldn't help but notice colourful, eye catching sweaters adorning tree trunks. Well, not actually sweaters, but crocheted/knitted items that were wrapped around trunks.

I must say, they are quite creative.

Some are simply granny squares, colourfully designed...

...others are whacky characters.

They certainly took a lot of time and effort to make. They also made many a passer by smile.

Part of me giggled, enjoyed and appreciated the effort and the skill the artist(s) demonstrated.

Part of me worries about what may lurk under these yard bombing sweaters.  You can be certain, many insects nest and hide beneath these crocheted items. I checked. I found earwigs, pill bugs and two egg sacks. That and moisture are not a good combination for the health of the tree. If the yarn stayed sopping wet, it would be the equivalent of wearing a bandaid around your finger all the time. Not the best way to preserve the tree's health.

I'm divided. I would say depending on the type of crocheted/knitted stitch, I think there could be a happy middle ground. The more air that a tree trunk receives the better. The more the community engages with trees, the better - as I hope this "art" achieves. 

To the artist - well done, but make sure you keep the best interest of the trees in mind first before any other intention.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Living Walls - Update

I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised when visiting this living wall again. It has been nearly 4 months since I last stopped to take a look.  Here is my last post to refresh your memory:  Living Walls - Still Not Sure...

My hunch was correct.  A slow state of decline is apparent.

 Lots of yellowing foliage is seen in various spots.

Simple care plants like Philodendrons even yellowing is not a good sign.

Large pockets of missing plants.

Dieffenbachia plants's so sad.

Well, I hate to report such a sorry state, but like I mentioned in my original post: living walls require attention and constant care. Great idea - but to say it takes minimal maintenance, the evidence proves otherwise.

Be sure if you decide upon installing one, to invest in a maintenance routine that creates great results.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Evergreens Falling Over in Wind Storm

If only my phone camera could have captured as many fallen evergreens as my eyes have seen in the last 4 days.

The GTA suffered from a serious wind storm that took shingles off roof tops, toppled limbs off of trees and uprooted many a tree within my neighbourhood.

This is our neighbour's Spruce. Two limbs went straight into their back window. It could of been so much worse!

A common denominator that I've noticed: each had their limbs lifted to quite a height off the ground.

I get it - folks want to have clearance and to enjoy perhaps shade or what not under the tree. But doing this practice isn't encouraging optimum plant health.

These evergreen trees aren't supposed to have growth and branches only on the top 1/2 to 3/4 of the tree.

Removing the branches from the bottom half, makes the above growth act as a sail of sorts - which puts added pressure at the base of the tree. Once you remove the branches, foot traffic at the base of these pruned evergreens just compacts the soil and allows the base to dry out.

Evergreens should have a "skirt" to protect the root mass below and to shield the trunk from heavy winds.

Trees pruned like the ones above have no defence mechanism to bear the weight and force of wind.

The skirt protects the base of the tree from drying out. Needles, fall cast and cones are nature's own mulch. They help keep moisture locked in, enabling the tree to flourish despite drought conditions.

The wind flows all the way around the tree as apposed to through it when trees have a skirt. This stabilizes the tree and keeps it at bay.

So if you're interested in planting an evergreen, give it ample space to sprawl out and allow it to spread to its natural width and breadth.  Don't limb it up and park your car close by.

Or, you'll have a hefty arborist bill awaiting the next time we have one of these storms.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Spring Ice Storm 2018 - Garden Woes

This isn't the first time I've experienced snow/ice in mid-spring.

I have recollections of snow falling in May. Global climate change may be a factor but I think this is just a strange meteorological blip.

Our gardens are covered in little ice pellets.

Nonetheless, not to fret. I post this as friends have contacted me worried about what they should do with the garden.

The interesting fact is: snow and ice are great insulators as long as the ice coating around the foliage and flowers will thaw in a day or so. It's the COconcentration that remains in the cell structure of the plant that is more worrisome.

Citrus growers and fruit farms use sprinkler systems to ward off heavy frost damage.

Ice is a good thing. Frost isn't.

Ice insulates as it prevents cell tissues from bursting or getting damaged from frost - frigid below -0°C temperatures.

As the ice rain pelts down, I continue to read the weather reports indicating the ice rain will turn into just rain later this evening. That's a good thing. Temps are to go up to 7°C. It will melt quickly. Hoping for the best and looking forward to seeing how resilient my bulbs/plants are.

#whereareyouspring ?

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Garden Inspiration - Collaging

Sometimes the length of the winter just drags on....all I want to do is dig in the garden.

Over the years I have collected many gardening magazines and if I were to have kept them all, I'd have to buy a bigger house to store them.  Instead, I cut out memorable snip-its of what caught my attention for the moment.

Collecting them for ages, I have seen how my tastes have changed and how much I have learned over the years.

The easiest way to get started is being organized.  I have categorized items based on colour and based on my knowledge of plant requirements. Groupings: sun vs shade conditions, garden designs, specific  cultivars and contrasting colours. This way arranging photos is simplified.

Beginning with a blank canvas, I just arrange plant photos, laying them out on the page - rearranging until they click.  I have come up with many plant combinations this way. Complete garden inspiration.

I go back to the collage scrapbook each winter and engage in arrangements, plant variations and it refreshes my love for gardening every time.

By doing this, you find plant cultivars that catch your eye and help you remember them for any future gardening plans.

Pure eye candy for me.

I get so engulfed in arranging that I lose all track of time.

In the spring, I keep it as a invaluable resource for gardening ideas.

It's a great way to recycle old gardening magazines and it keeps me inspired. Try it yourself!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...