Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Thursday, March 5, 2015

New beds


A couple of months ago, we had a very solid raised bed built for...milkweeds.  The Monarch butterfly has
greatly declined, as much of its habitat has been lost, and much of the loss involves the host plant, the milkweeds.  The Monarch caterpillar feeds on the milkweed, taking in the toxins, present in the plant, as part of its defensive arsenal.  We are planting common milkweed, butterfly weed and swamp milkweed.... And any other native milkweed we can find!  It is a necessary host plant to insure Monarch survival.  The raised bed is made from raw, untreated timbers, and should last 20 years.  As you can see in the photos, we lined the bed with garden cloth/hardware cloth to deter voles.
I will post photos as the milkweed emerges!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

I'm in Heaven!

I finally have a sunroom, and my plants are happily overwintering in it.  I have a space heater to keep the temp around 60.  On warm winter days, I might take a few plants outside for a spraying of insecticidal soap for aphids.  While checking on the plants, I noticed this Key lime tree, amazingly full of flower buds!



I can't wait for them to open and fill the air with fragrance!
Happy gardening, outdoors and in!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Handsome Plant Spells Trouble

You know the phenomena that, when you learn about something (in this case a plant), you begin to see it everywhere?   I first encountered Japanese knotweed near the home of a family member. She said it reliably grew every year and was attractive.  It took me awhile to identify the plant, I kept forgetting to do the research. Then, at a botanical garden, I learned that it was Japanese knotweed, an invasive import.  While on trips to Pennsylvania I saw it.  And again.  And again.  I saw hillsides of it, I saw it lining the highway.  It is all over the northeast US too. It seemed to be everywhere.  This plant can grow by the foot in a day and it crowds out native plants,  in Great Britain, mortgages have been denied until the homeowner eradicates it from the property.  Beware this plant!

http://www.hglivingbeautifully.com/2014/03/15/8184/

http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/faja1.htm

From Wikipedia: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallopia_japonica :


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Spotted Lantern Fly

A new imported, exotic pest threat to gardeners, especially those who grow fruits �� and and a nasty one it is:

http://extension.psu.edu/pests/spotted-lanternfly

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Pruning

Poor tree!



This poor tree was damaged in a bad storm, and 4 limbs needed to be removed.  Three were properly removed, but you see the one near the top of the photo, with the notch but out of the bottom?  It may be that this was the way that the storm damage occurred, but it also the kind of thing that can happen when you fail to make an undercut when you take down a limb.  If you do not make an undercut, you can even sometimes see a long, vertical strip of bark that tears off when the limb succumbs to gravity.  The notch taken out on the top cut may create an entry point for disease or pests, or the tree may seal it over and be ok.  So, if a storm does this, do the best you can.  But, if you are pruning, make an undercut to reduce the possibility of further damage!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Invasive Plants to Never Buy!

Just a quick post: a list of 16 invasive plants to NEVER buy (though they might look pretty!)

http://www.epicgardening.com/invasive-species-sold-at-garden-centers/