The Joy of Roses,Pollinators & Butterflies
Working in the garden this morning. It’s remarkably changed as the pollinator garden has filled in completely. It’s happening! The Monarchs are flying around, swallowtails & little skipper butterflies. Lots of honey bees and bumble bees & a few lady bugs. The Monarchs are flying including 2 doing a lovely mating dance. One almost brushed my cheek as it flew by. So incredibly beautiful! I’ve been watching females visit the milkweed this week going from plant to plant. Sorry, no pics. I watch from a distance so they can lay their eggs undisturbed. Peace & joy just wash over me!
Correction from Last Blog
Thanks to Laura Reynolds for her correction on name of butterfly in last blog. It’s a Red Spotted Purple! So beautiful!
Top picture: Red Spotted Purple Bottom: Easter Black Swallowtail
The milkweed is full of Monarch caterpillars on every plant. Big ones and baby ones! I sheltered some Monarchs last year and caught the emerging of two Monarchs. How does a Butterfly with a 4” wing span come out of a ¾” cocoon?!?! Decided to leave nature alone this year. Lots of emerging videos on YouTube. Mine is Monarch Butterfly Emerging The Rose Blog
Last year I planted dill around tomato plants to repel tomato worms. Worked for tomato worms but mommy Swallowtail laid her eggs on my 3 small plants. The super hungry cats devoured every bit of dill. I had to call my friend Carol Puckett to rescue them to her garden full of dill & rue. This year, I planted 4 dill, 4 rue, a green & bronze fennel & parsley. Yep the dill was devoured but the cats moved on to the other plants now full of caterpillars. Love their polka dots! Pictured on rue.
Aphids & Milkweed
Last year my milkweed was literally orange with aphids. I tried squishing them, spraying with water and spraying with Castile soap solution with very poor results. This year I tried Worm Castings…yep worm poop! 1 Tablespoon spread around base of plant. It’s incredible! Not an aphid in site!
Update on Roses Gophers
The gopher has done a lot of damage eating on the roots. The Solar Mole/Gopher Chaser is working but believe it was too late. I want to dig up a rose & see what damage has been done but know that would kill it for sure. No new gopher holes. The amazing thing is the roses are fighting back, valiantly putting our new leaves and buds, smaller than usual but progress. I now have the Gopher Chaser in each garden area.
Pics of David Austins growing again. Note garlic chive growing above first rose.
Only seen two recently. Unfortunately their life cycle means they’ve gone underground creating grubs & more beetles coming back in a vengeance. Researching the milky spore treatment. Fighting them will mean keeping an eye on the research. I learned to plant garlic chive around roses this year to repel them. Had a total of 6 plants It will be favorite companion plant next spring.
Here’s 2021 info on dealing with Japanese Beetles. https://www.pests.org/how-to-get-rid-of-japanese-beetles/
it’s been a tough month watching the roses suffer with gophers & Japanese Beetles. But it’s also an inspiration to see them fighting back. Every new healthy leaf, every new bud, makes me smile. An encouragement in these difficult times. There are no words to express the peace & hope the Monarchs and all the other butterflies & pollinators bring me. Very special to be a part in helping these incredible little creatures who sustain our environment.