Monday – Sept. 10th – 10 a.m. – 9016 Robyn Rd – 63126
I am doing not only doing a tour of my Butterfly Gardens, but also teaching a class on how to propagate plants by cuttings.
We’ll be using my Miss Huff lantana for cuttings, so bring a cutting device and a glass/plastic container so you can take the cuttings home.
While I have grown zinnias for many years, almost all of them suffer from bad mildew at some point in the season. Many times, they look so bad that I end up pulling them from the garden.
I have found three versions which seem to be resistant to mildew.
Zinnia – Forecast from Burpee.com $5.99 for 50 seeds.
I started these in mid-June and they not only have been blooming ever since, but even though they have been surrounded by plants with mildew, these flowers have not caught the disease. They claim to have different colors, but most of mine are shades of pink. I direct seeded these into the garden.
Zinnia angustifolia – Yellow – Summerhill Seeds. $2.50 for 50 seeds.
These zinnias only grow 12-18 inches tall and don’t develop mildew.
They seem to come true from seed and they are easy to germinate. I planted some seeds in my beds and they came up just fine.
My final favorite is Profusion Zinnia.
Park Seed or your favorite nursery will probably have these. They have larger flowers than Angustifolia, but are about the same height. You can see the difference in the above photo.
I have received a couple of emails recently wondering why their caterpillars were not doing well or dying.
One of the experts,Dr. Karen Oberhauser, in a recent Monarch program says that only 2% of Monarchs make it from the egg to butterfly stage. She mainly talks about insects and parasitoids, but there are also diseases and even the milkweed liquid can kill the small caterpillars.
If you do want to increase the odds of the Monarchs, you can raise them yourself. It’s a fun process and fairly easy to do.
I noticed that Home Depot is carrying a number of Kellogg brand soil mixes, so I decided to buy all three and see what the difference is between them.
- Raised Bed and Potting Mix – $8.27/2cu.ft. – This mix had 2.5 cups of large wood particles out of 12 cups. Other than that, it is similar to #3 – the Premium Potting Mix.
- Garden Soil – This is not Top Soil. At $6.97, it is the cheapest, but is more like a nice mulch, not a soil for planting. it has 4 cups of large wood chips out of 12 cups. It does not contain perlite.
- Potting Mix – Premium Mix for Outdoor Containers. This seems like a nice mix for use in a pot or in the garden. Out of 12 cups, it only had 1 cup of large wood chips and perlite. This is my favorite and at $6.47/1.5 cu.Ft., it seems like a good buy.
All three contain tiny amounts of fertilizer, so you will have to add your own fertilizer to these mixes.
Here is a video on aphids done by the naturalist and videographer Jo Alwood.
It always amazes me how I can have thousands of aphids on my milkweed one week and ten days later, they are all dead and gone.
August 11th I wrote about our aphid infestation later in the summer.
August 21st, I went out and found them all dead or gone.
Most people give the credit to predators, but I have never seen that many ladybugs and lacewings in my garden to complete the annihilation of the aphids.
My theory is that since the aphids are all genetically identical, that all it takes is one disease to come in and wipe them out.
Netflix has a great video on aphids if you’re interested.
David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities | Season 2 – Episode 1.
This recent video is by Dr. Karen Oberhauser, one of the leaders in Monarch butterfly research. It’s a bit technical at times, but she does explain topics so that most people can understand. Please FF to the 8 minute mark.