Saturday, May 16, 2009

Beat the Rain, Beat the Beetles!



Saturday, May 16, 2009


A quick morning walk with Karl the Wonder Dog made me happy about how well the hostas are doing (Pacific Blue Edger pictured here) but dismayed about the state of lilies east of the Rockies and on into Canada. The lily leaf beetle has taken control and a predator wasp which is successful in zone 5 just doesn't do the trick here. It's too cold for it to survive.

If you search my blogs from last year you'll see some comments and some solutions but the battle is a big one and here in Vermont there are at least 3 generations per year so you have to love your lilies a lot to help them through the disaster. I'd say 3-4 people a day stop at the nursery and ask for advice. Click on the pictures and get a better look at the beetles--about 3/8's of an inch long.












I have to get clicking here myself because I'm trying to beat the rain. I'm putting a new roof on Gail's mother's house so we can sell it and the rain in recent weeks has slowed me down. I have the sun room roof stripped and will add some more insulation inside and then top it off. Rain is coming after lunch so time is short.

If you are out and about today, the wild flowers are still beautiful around here. Painted trillium are out down the road. At the nursery where we rototilled last fall for the new hosta and shade garden, millions of blue and also white forget me nots grew. We never saw them before but they are bountiful. I won't be at the nursery today but Gail is there so stop and say hello if you have a minute. We're working our way out of "spring disarray" so Gail may need a minute to locate what you want but we do have a nice selection.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where tom turkey just chased 6 hens by my window. Turkey life is good!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener

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2 comments:

Sylvia (England) said...

George, lily beetle is a problem here as well. It is fairly new to this county but quickly spreading. I spray, it is that or not growing lilies and related plants. I dread to think what it is going to do to our native snakes head fritillary, which is under threat anyway.

Thank you for your comment on Jodi's blog, I will try Trilliums but need to find an affordable source first. I think it is the cost that makes me think they are difficult.

Best wishes Sylvia (England)

George Africa said...

Hello Sylvia;

Private comments have come in from many places outside the US and gardeners everywhere are very upset by the beetle. An experienced and enthusiastic hosta grower from England commented that he ended his lily growing because of the threat to hostas. As with your native fritillary, this is of great concern.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener