Charlotte's Place
Landscape & Interior Decor 
"a work in progress"
making home your favorite place to be
Phone: 204-227-4324

Hosta virus X (HVX) is a worldwide problem. All hosta varieties seem to be susceptible. There is no cureThere are no preventive treatments. The disease may not kill the plant, but once afflicted, HVX can be easily spread from a diseased hosta to healthy ones around it.  There are thousands, and thousands of hosta varities, and each year, 1 or 2 new ones are introduced. If your garden is, essentially, a hosta collection, this information is vital. If you have only recently discovered this beautiful plant, this information is equally important. The website above (click on it) will direct you to what you need to know about HVX. After that, searching Hosta Virus X will bring up more information than you can imagine: then, rethink your garden plans accordingly.

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. As long as Astilbe aren't in dry, hot soil, they  do  very  well.

 1 gallon white VINEGAR
 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.
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Choosing to lose some, or all of your not-so-pretty lawn?  
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 (see below); then have 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.  I have used undiluted bleach, in a spray bottle, or a bottle, to kill off Virginia creeper. And why?  It will lift shingles off the roof of your house, or take over your entire garden, often reappearing by bird droppings.  If you want vines, plant something more controllable, and less destructive.
 DEER (and water) REPELLANT: SKOOT, and DR. DOOM products survive the rain, and work: Most nurseries carry them. For more info, click on the following link ... . There is no natural deterrent, although there are plants that, typically deer and rabbits prefer NOT to eat. Fencing, which can be labour intensive, and expensive, is an option, but not everywhere, and if there are enough hungry animals, and there are, they will eat anything. Other than the horrible taste, these products are not harmful to animals.
Invite birds to your garden, and let Nature help feed them. They 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 newest concern and tree enemy is The Emerald Beetle. For more info. T
Tent Caterpillars are still a problem, as is the Elm Bark beetle, and more evergreens are being lost to Spruce Spider Mites, Sirococcus blight, and hawthorn-juniper gall rust. At right, the Red Lily Beetles continue ravaging gardens.

Ants eating Aphids

To kill ants, if necessary.  For general use: Pour 1-oz of (non-toxic) Blue Dawn into sprayer and fill, with water, 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 (toxic to animals).​ For control of hornets, wasps, stinging, flying insects, etc., adjust spray to 'fan' setting, so 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. 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 help save a small part of it.
If you have, hopefully, decided to attempt to garden with as few, or no chemicals whatsoever, here are a few options available, all of which are quite effective for their given purpose.
Hosta infected with Hosta Virus X
Hosta not showing infection, yet.
It's the same hosta as on upper R.
SLUGS - even the name sounds disgusting. In a spray container, use ONE part household ammonia to THREE parts water; I use a large pump sprayer on wheels. I haven't hosta or veggies, but I have slugs unless I keep this up, every year. Spray after spring thaw, and you've cleared out all debris, again when plants shoots break ground. Spray again in June, and once a month thru to fall. After fall clean up , to ensure you're getting the hundreds of eggs left behind , which can survive up to 3 seasons (each slug can lay 20-100 eggs, SEVERAL times a year.) Forget stinky egg shells and beer traps, or expensive copper wire; this works! It's natural, and you are adding compost to your garden. With wet, cool soil, such as mine, they are never truly gone, so I assure you, this is the easiest and most effective control. Left, the slug, and beneath it, your plant after it's eaten. In spring of 2017, I found 25 slugs under a pot left in the garden. I will be spraying Ammonia as long as I Iive..