Garden: Preparing for winter

The clocks have changed and it’s dark, and cold, and my motivation for most things is pretty lacking

However unless I fancy heating the greenhouse and moving things to be in it – which I don’t, then the garden needs some preparing for winter so things can stay in situ

This primarily means bubble wrapping the clematis and passion flower as well as adding an extra layer of woodchip to the pots they are in

Passion flowerjpg

(Photo from growfruitandveg )

The rhubarb and big rose get manure – unfortunately shop bought borderline-faux stuff for ease this year, then all the beds get a good layer of woodchip

oh yes, and clearing up the nasty leaves blown over from next-door’s nasty diseased tree. I wonder if next-door are as diseased as their poxy tree, if so perhaps they and the tree will die naturally next year; that would be very nice indeed

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Unexpected giant toad 

I was clearing the leaves out of the wood grate cover at the front of the house and one of the leaves moved!

Turned out to be a toad as big as the palm of my hand

It was probably feasting on the many worms that like hiding there

The giant toad was most put out to be moved into the back garden, however there was no way to get the wood back in place without risk of squishing – not entirely sure how I had moved the wood out without squish!

The trouble with gloves 

With a fun lacked weekend of fence erecting ahead of us I thought some nice new sturdy gloves might be in order.

So I went to Homebase and found a leather/cotton mix for myself and then saw some sturdy water proof looking ones that I thought looked good for the Husband.

Buying a promotional stickered three pack of the water proof ones was the same price as buying one – so I bought the set of three.

Get them home, ask the Husband what he thinks and he says “great, but they contain nitrile” which means that he’s allergic to them!

Bother doesn’t really cover it! So he’s going to steal my gloves. 

Garden: Decoy / companion plants

I can’t comment on if the chemicals are winning against the aphids as I’m so unhappy using them that I’ve not being using it as much as the instructions tell me to.

Thankfully the internet found me something that I was happier with – decoy and companion plants.

The idea is that you plant flowers that attract or deter bugs / disease near the flowers you are uber concerned about.

marigold

(Photo from Wiki)

I’ve planted some marigolds to try to attract the aphids from the rose, they also look pretty which is nice!

The internet tells me that planting garlic near roses might also help, so now I really fancy trying growing garlic!

Copyright © WhereEvilThoughts 2015 – excluding pictures! Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WhereEvilThoughts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

 

Garden: Freaky giant grubs

Ever since I started digging in the garden I’ve been finding lots and lots of large icky looking white grubs / larvae varying from tiny to nearly 5 cm long.

They are fat and gross looking – which hasn’t really narrowed down my Google results which just showed me lots of random ick looking grubs. I was working on the assumption that because it was a grub it ate plant roots.

As such I may have been treating the grubs as free bird food.

cockchafter

(Photo from Wiki)

However this evening we saw a giant flying scarab style beetles that look very out of place in the UK, the bug was so distinctive that a quick Google search revealed it to be a cockchafer beetle.

Also known as a May Bug, the beetles themselves are harmless they chop on plants – but to a lesser degree than the grubs which are also known as rookworms.

It was a shock seeing so many big flying bugs in the garden today, but it is nice to know what the grubs are!

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Garden: Scarlet Lily Beetles ate my Snake’s Head

A couple of months ago I purchased a Snake’s Head lily, AKA Fritillaria meleagris or snake’s head fritillary.

I’ve generally seen them in damper environments than my garden so I was aware they might need extra watering. What I didn’t think about was how tasty they would be…

The Scarlet Lily Beetles were a  fixture of my parents garden when I was little, my sibling and I used to carefully catch the little bugs (about 8mm in length) to listen to them squeak – in the straightforward naming convention that children use we called them “red squeaking beetles” and had rather fond memories of them.

snake's head lily

(Photo from Ebay)

What I’d forgotten was how quickly the lily beetles chomped through lilies (they utterly strip the foliage) and kill off the plant – my snake’s head has now entirely died.

Having done some reading it sounds like some pesticides might work but they will also kill everything else which seems a bit overkill.

Which probably means I won’t get another lily for the garden, I will just have to search the internet for photos of other people snake’s heads that didn’t get eaten.

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Garden: Roses VS Aphids

When the rose randomly arrived I did some reading about general maintenance and how to have a happy rose bush –  but at that stage no one mentioned aphids.

It turns out that aphids are actually rather prolific and once they get started they seem to multiple surprisingly quickly – which is bad as they munch through leaves and buds.

I had hoped for an non-chemical solution, so I asked the internet and was a bit disappointed at the response. Apparently ladybirds are best – but we don’t have any naturally, so I’d have to buy some online, hope the postman doesn’t squash them and then put them in the fridge for a bit so that they don’t fly off immediately the second you release them…

ladybird

(Photo from the Independent)

To be fair my in-laws happily told us that they put a dead mole in the fridge last week – to keep it fresh so they could show their grand daughter… so ladybirds in the fridge sounds almost sane by comparison.

Although ladybird larvae don’t have to be put in the fridge as they have no wings. I didn’t look up if I could buy hoverfly larvae or lacewing larvae online but someone probably sells them!

The other alternative is bug spray, toxic toxic bug spray – which is what I went for short term.

Longer term I am going to buy – or build, some ladybird houses and look at obtaining some ladybirds and hoping for a good postal journey!

On the plus side looking up aphids online taught me a new word, apparently lots of types of aphid are “monophagous” which means that  they feed on only one plant species.

Which means the bothersome black bugs on the cherry tree are probably some other sort of aphid – but it’s ok I can probably spray that with evil toxic chemicals too…  *bother* I really need to buy some ladybirds…

Copyright © WhereEvilThoughts 2015 – excluding pictures! Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WhereEvilThoughts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content