It's not the world's end: hosta are are NOT the only beautiful plant suitable for shade, or part shade:
Ferns, Heuchera, Astilbe, Coral Bell, Epimedium, hybrid Bleeding Heart - the list goes on and on. In 2014/15, not all Heuchera proved tolerant of the new weather, but enough did, to keep me trying. Heuchera 'Purple palace' thrives and self seeds. All Astilbe did beautifully and 2016's Heuchera are alive and well - in April!!! What fun.
While this disease doesnot kill plants, it spread prolifically; symptoms may take years to show. HVX has infected tens of thousands of plants worldwide, and is at epidemic levels. Individual testing is impractical, and not a guarantee. Look through websites so you can recognize obvious symptoms, do not buy plants that show even the slightest of 'iffy' markings, and if you have plants showing symptoms, dig up and replant away from others: do not replant hosta there. Very large numbers of HVX-infected plants are currently sold at all levels: Click above, or copy and paste the web address into your browser. For better images, type Hosta virus in China; these sights have a plethora of diseased foliage to examine. I'm not suggesting you throw all your hosta way, or am I saying all hosta with interesting markings, and/or puckering, etc. are diseased, but if you aren't sure, use separate tools when working with new hosta, and don't plant any pre-existing hosta near the new
one(s); the disease is passed through sap from leaves and roots: just be aware.
The beginnings of an 'urbanite' raised garden, and (far L and R), years later.
ORGANIC WEED KILLER
1 gallon white VINEGAR
2 cups EPSOM SALTS
1/4 cup BLUE DAWN liquid dish soap.
*Sprayers run about $20
Don't use the same one
for slug killing - you will
burn your plants.
Calculate smaller portions if using a smaller container.
(Right and below) The found, torn up city sidewalk was just blind luck; the rest is Urban(ite) Legend. Thank goodness the home owner believed in me, because I was certainly out of my league. and was, at best, making it up as I went along.
Only one of the owners was open to street 'junk' being used in their garden, but when it was all said, and done, a 3-season porch was built to allow them BOTH to enjoy the space, for a longer, and insect free, season, and ALL were very happy.
Broken concrete is officially known as Urbanite. We live in a city of 9 months of construction, broken concrete is free, and waiting (but not for long) to go with you, as opposed to the concrete dump. Urbanite is an option for these reasons: it's free, you're recycling, you can capture all the embodied energy in the original concrete ,and there's no mining involved. It's versatile, long lasting, utterly original, unique and very "green". Below, see the many ways 'Urbanite' can be used, in place of the much more expensive, traditional paving products. Have some fun!
Chemical vs Eco-friendly Home-made Recipes, and sometimes you don't have a choice. Try natural first; if that doesn't work, see below for Deer & Rabbits.
For insects, inside and out, a couple of drops BLUE NEW DAWN liquid dish detergent, equal parts vegetable oil, and a large spray container of water will kill the bugs. Don't wash it off the plant. If transplanting from outside in, shake soil loose, soak entire plant in container of water & a few drops of liquid detergent; again, don't wash it off. For weeds between cracks, etc.
try a mixture of 1 qt. vinegar with 2 tbsp. of Blue Dawn dish soap in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the foliage, and yes, it HAS to be BLUE DAWN.
Be careful not to spray on desirable plants. Within hours, the weeds or grass will start to die; if it's a hot day, this happens faster, and remember, don't PULL weeds. I have actually used undiluted bleach, in a spray bottle, or just dumped the entire bottle, to rid myself (almost) of Virginia creeper. It isn't truly gone, but it is no longer everywhere, and just so you know, it will lift shingles off the roof of your house, so consider using something more controllable and less destructive, if you want vines on the walls! DEER (and water) REPELLANT: SKOOT survives the rain, and it works. Jensen's nursery carries it, as do others. For further information, Google www.deer-departed.com/taste-repellent.html .
Birds help control the balance of beneficial and destructive insects in your garden. Sparrows stick around all year so, as often as possible, provide fresh water (change regularly), and food. Bees, butterflies and the many other insects to be found in a garden, require water too. Shrubs or heavy vines (mind your walls, fences and rooves) provide protection for the birds, from wind and sun. As our weather changes, more and more birds are migrating through Manitoba on their way north. Find yourself a bird book, and watch what spends a day or two, or the season, in your yard - they are all pieces of the complex puzzle that is a healthy garden.
Try to have a source of water, which will attract, fluttering, flying and crawling, beneficial insects, all of which keep the balance of Nature going within your personal garden world. A protected, shallow saucer, emptied and refilled regularly will do the trick.
The Red Lily Beetle: this regional site gives current information required to control this beetle. I personally don't have lilies, but I have Solomon Seal which is, apparently, their 2nd favorite food, so don't be too complacent. They are everywhere - they could be in your garden, lilies or no. For info, copy & paste (R)
Think you have slugs? If you see damage on your hosta, your lettuce, anything that leaves the mess you see below/left, you have slugs! THIS on-going method will help you rid yourself of them, and keep them away. In a spray container, use ONE part household ammonia to THREE parts water; I use a large pump sprayer on wheels as I have a lot of garden. I haven't hosta or veggies, but I have slugs unless I keep this up, every year. Spray in spring after the ground is thawed, and you've cleared out the winter debris, again when you begin to see plants shoots breaking ground: Spray again in late spring, and once a month thru summer, and most definitely after clean up in the fall, to ensure you're getting the thousands of eggs they have left behind - their eggs can survive up to 3 seasons and each one lays 20-100 eggs, SEVERAL times a year. So, forget the egg shells, copper wire, and stinky beer traps; this works! It's natural, and you are adding compost to your garden. When I discovered I had slugs, it was because my young hosta were levelled. With wet, cool soil, such as mine, they are never truly gone, so I assure you, this is the easiest and most effective way to keep them under control. Left, the slug, and beneath it, your plant after it's eaten.
The newest concern and tree enemy is The Emerald Beetle. For more info.
To kill ants, if necessary. For use on food-plants: pour 1/4 cup Ivory SOAP FLAKES into a 2-gallon pump-sprayer, and slowly fill with water. Allow the soap to dissolve. For general use: Pour 1-oz of Blue Dawn into sprayer and fill slowly. Spray insects with solution, wetting them liberally - they will die. For ant nests and hills, pour soap/sugar water mixture onto nest or hill; boiled rhubarb water also works. Ants should be tolerated if possible, as they cause little damage, and can be beneficial. If you see ants on a plant, or shrub, you may also see aphids. Spray all of it and them. In the past few years, more and more lawns are experiencing an ever increasing number of ant hills; big ones. Soap is not toxic to insects, and they will not drown unless there is enough water. Borax also works; ants take it back to nest; they die. For control of hornets, wasps, stinging, flying insects, etc., adjust spray to 'fan' setting, so that any hornets which fly toward you will be forced to go through the droplets. When they drop to the ground; spray them again. You may also force the nozzle into the nest (only after dark) and saturate the nest: All will die.
(L) If you've ever seen plant leaves look like a laser meticulously cut a piece from it, it may have been the leaf cutting ant (beneficial) or a leaf cutting bee, which is a very tiny insect and quite the artist. Educate yourself on the insects you find in your garden before you try to kill them. http://www.prairiepollination.ca. This sight will tell you about mason and leaf cutting bees, which don't get enough credit, AND they don't sting. It's easy to 'invite' them in, and your garden will love them.
Maybe we can't save all of the planet,
but we can each save a small part of it, and, if we ALL do that ....