Thursday, September 25, 2008


I am always excited to see the change of seasons in my garden. For me the season I love the most is autumn. I love the flowers, the insects, the harvesting. I even love the clean up to get ready for next year.

I am so fortunate to have a Hunny who loves to take pictures and is so good at it. He has the patience to wait for the insects to lite on the plants. Here we have a wasp resting on Golden Rod. Seconds later he was treated to a honey bee. We have had hardly any honey bees year, this was quite a treat.

We also noticed we have not had the bumble bees we have had in previous years.

This is a good place to insert my favorite hint:

If you get stung by any stinging insect, pull out the bottle of ammonia. Non-sudsing ammonia is recommended but any ammonia works. Also products containing ammonia work, although I can't recommend them because of health problems. But when you are stung you'll do anything to stop the pain. You'll need cotton balls too. Saturate a cotton ball with ammonia till it is very wet but not dripping. Place on the area of the sting and hold there for at least 5 minutes (if the ball needs re wetting with ammonia, do it). If the sting is on a place near the eyes or nose cover them with water soaked cotton balls to prevent the fumes from the ammonia irritating them. In all the years I have used this hint I have never had any irritation at the sting site from the ammonia.

This treatment should be done immediately but I have had it be effective when applied 20 minutes after the sting. I believe it neutralizes the venom. I have also had a sting flare up the next day and redoing the ammonia treatment worked. We raised bees and learned about this from an aged Bee keeper 40 years ago. I used it on my children all their formative years.

My Waiver: I am not a doctor, or even a nurse, I do not have any degree except from the school of hard knocks . I recommend you consult people in the know before trying this.

This year we did not have the influx of the spotted cucumber beetles. We did have a deluge for 2/3 of the summer of the Japanese beetles. We can't treat the surrounding area with milky spore disease because we have 15 acres in pasture. It would be financially impossible. Not to mention i would have to get all the neighbors on all sides to do it too. It is heaven for the grubs of the Japanese beetles.

We garden organically, we only use biological controls that do not harm more insects than what we are targeting.

Another insect we abhor, and had an overdose of, is Squash bugs. If any one has a good control that works we'd appreciate the hint. All the accept safe sprays do not seem to work for us (we do use spun bond row cover while it is growing but have to reove it when they start blooming.).

This year I had great success in taking cutting from my mums and starting them. Last year we planted 20 different colored mums. None of the red , white or pink mums went through the winter. Yellow, bronze, and lavenders did fine. I only lost one of my purple varieties.

This is what you will see as you leave the center gate in the garden. The grass is purple majesty penstemon. It is very slow to germinate and grows very slowly in the pots. It is not freeze tolerant so must be started indoors and not set out till all danger of freeze is gone. It takes off when set in the garden. I was very pleased with my first year of growing it. It does not come back each year.

The purple in front of the mums is Purple ruffles basil. I use it for accent everywhere in the garden. It's deep purple frilly leaves are outstanding. The only problem is you have to bite the bullet and if you see it setting blooms cut them off. (they are attractive but you will set the scene for your plant to go dormant.) Mine will continue to look good till the temps start holding below 40 degrees and not going above 50 during the day.

These are the mums as you enter the center gate of the garden. The yellow one was perfect till the man unloading our mower after repairing it fell off the truck into it.

Thank you for visiting with me today.

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