Friday, July 30, 2010

Another pest inundation has begun: the dreaded Japanese Beetle has made the leap from the grapevines on the fence to my scarlet runner beans. AUGH. Tomorrow I will go pick off the ones that are roosting there and spray the bean plants down with a solution of garlic puree, which was the recommendation from Richmond Nursery - but I am not optimistic, considering that the grapevines are so thoroughly infested; even if I tackled the impossible-looking task of de-bugging the vines on my side of the fence, they're planted in the neighbour's yard (and invading the yard of another neighbour to boot). Maybe if I make the beans unappetizing enough they'll stick with the grapes.

Interestingly, however, I am growing some of their reputed favourite foods - roses, japanese maple - and so far they haven't touched them. (This had better not just be a matter of time!!) Also interestingly, the beans are located in the shade bed, the only piece of the back garden that is not planted throughout with alliums (garlic relative). Hmmm! As if I needed another reason to stock up on those. Hopefully my inference is correct; the internets seem to suggest it may be so. C'mon universe, work with me here!

In more positive news, while at Richmond Nurseries, I happened across a stand of butterfly bush (buddleja). And OMG internets, I MUST HAVE THIS PLANT. It smells heavenly, and true to the name, in the couple of minutes I spent staring at the stand of plants at Richmond, they had attracted several butterflies of at least three different kinds.

The trick, of course, is that it needs full sun, and while you're supposed to chop it back to the ground every year, it grows back to about 4 or 5 feet high and wide. It's also only borderline hardy here. Basically, were I to plant one, it should be in the backyard for preference, since it's nice and sheltered there; that would also allow me to sit and enjoy the fragrance and butterflies. But I really don't have anywhere left for a 4'-5' shrub. I toyed with the idea of putting it where the beans are now - the digitalis and azalea would probably be done blooming by the time it got big enough to block them from view - but I don't know if that spot gets enough light, and I wouldn't want to hide the phlox and sweet rocket, nor cast the mockorange into total shade. A more promising spot is probably in front of the yew and peonies out front; I could crank the windows open to catch the fragrance, and we could watch the butterflies from the window, at least. Have to check how much light that spot would get before the shadow of the house falls over it - will keep an eye out for this tomorrow over the course of the day.

Meanwhile, I have dug up and divided the bee balm - dun dun DUNNNNNN - and am pleased as punch with the results so far. It already looks more balanced. And the relocated chunks of bee balm will be a nice repetitive element to tie the whole garden together, as my garden magazines always say. Photos to follow when I have the replacements in the ground.

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