Author Archive for joenesgarden

Invasive Japanese Stilt Grass – Tend it now!

I’ve not posted much lately here, mostly due to being very busy in my gardens and the gardens of my clients. I expect I won’t have time to resume regular blogging until October, but did not want this time to go by without reminding Connecticut gardeners and landowners that now is the time to cut and tend to Japanese Stilt Grass.

This is a highly invasive grassy-looking plant that is overtaking many roadside edges, lawns, and gardens. If allowed to form seeds – which are maturing now – each plant can send up to one hundred seeds into the environment. The seeds are small and easily distributed by water, animals, boots, mowers and wind. Distributed seeds can last as long as 10 years in the soil.

Japanese Stilt Grass - highly invasive in CT

Japanese Stilt Grass – highly invasive in CT

I outlined how to deal with Japanese Stilt Grass previously … just click the highlighted text to read.

Control takes some time and effort, but it can be controlled if one is vigilant. If not tended to it can completely take over a lawn or garden.

I’ve successfully controlled the serious stilt grass invasion I talk about in the linked post above. Each year I’ve weeded out Japanese Stilt Grass has meant fewer plants the subsequent year. Now, where stilt grass once dominated, I have native wildflowers and grasses returning which are so much more attractive and beneficial that invasive stilt grass.

Japanese Stilt Grass close up

Japanese Stilt Grass close up

I highly doubt it will ever be eradicated, unless some disease starts attacking it. But, with proper management it can be controlled. Search for it now, remove it now … before it has the chance to spread hundreds of seeds throughout your property.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Joene Hendry

Creatures of the insect type

Interesting creatures of the insect type tend to show themselves in my gardens during August. This year is no exception.

Yesterday, while making the rounds with my garden clippers in hand to deadhead spent blossoms, I came upon this praying mantis.

Chinese mantis in a CT garden in August

Chinese mantis in a CT garden in August

I believe this strange-looking insect-eater is a Chinese mantis (Tenodera sinensis), the type of mantis commonly sold for pest control. None of my gardening dollars went to purchasing this guy … or is it a gal … so it must be established in the area.

Need a bug ID? Visit to Bug Guide.

Connecticut named a praying mantis as state insect, but not the Chinese mantis. Instead, CT gave the European mantis this honor. I’m not sure why the European mantis won out over a native mantis, but it did.

Non-native mantids are not selective in what they eat and will eat any native mantids they come across thus contributing to the demise of native mantids which are considered threatened.

The other interesting creature of the insect type was spotted on the underside of a canna leaf. (Sorry for the not-so-clear cell phone photo.)

Saddleback Moth caterpillar in a CT garden in August

Saddleback Moth caterpillar in a CT garden in August

A visit to Butterflies and Moths of North America helped me ID this as the caterpillar of a Saddleback Moth (Acharia stimulea).

To my eyes, the caterpillar is more interesting to look at than the moth it will become. I’m glad I did not touch it though, apparently the hairy bristles can cause quite a painful sting.

What interesting creatures of the insect type have you seen of late? If you need ID help be sure to visit the two sites mentioned above. If you have other go-to resources for insect or butterfly/moth ID, please share.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Joene Hendry

Mid-August Morning in the Garden

There’s just five weeks of summer left … time to enjoy every possible second of warmth, sunshine, and bloom. This morning in the garden I had a photography accomplice, my 5-year-old granddaughter who loves to tour the garden to see what’s in bloom.

Avery’s favorite this morning … like her Mum-mum, she favors different flowers on different days … a just-opened tropical hibiscus which Avery wanted to capture in the camera.

The mid-August bloom of tropical hibiscus in a Connecticut garden.

The mid-August bloom of tropical hibiscus in a Connecticut garden.

The red-orange of the hibiscus bloom blends with the warm shades of zinnia and canna flowers.

Yellow is the predominant color in the wild edges outside the fenced-in area where Oenothera biennis, common name evening primrose, thrives in poor soil.

Oenothera biennis, a Connecticut native.

Oenothera biennis, a Connecticut native.

This Connecticut native wildflower grows as short as 3 feet and as tall as 8 feet along the outer fence edge. Japanese beetles flock to it when first emerging from the ground in June, leaving oenothera’s first leaves and early blooms beetle-chewed, but the plant still manages to send out tons of lemon-yellow flowers later in the season. Below, Oenothera is skirted by Black-eyed Susan. It’s a lovely combination that nature designed with little help from this human gardener … all I had to do was allow the plants to grow.

Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose) with a skirt of Black-eyed Susan.

Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose) with a skirt of Black-eyed Susan.

Years of gardening in a deer-laden region taught me when nature provides such lovely native blooms that deer don’t decimate, you let them grow… free flowers that attract native pollinators and add a cheerful glow to the woodland edges.

Avery, my morning in the garden accomplice, wants to pick many of the natives for an inside bouquet, but she’s beginning to understand that some flowers are best enjoyed on the plant where they can mature, and self-sow into next season’s delights.

 

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Joene Hendry