What Animal is Missing?

What animal is missing?

No – I’m not talking about Monarch caterpillars – I’ve had plenty of those.

If you looked at this Asclepias incarnata, Swamp Milkweed, in August, you might see quite a few APHIDS on this plant.

The aphids have now disappeared from this plant and another 99 other milkweed plants in my garden.

This happens every year, so it’s a common occurrence.

I’m posting this so that other gardeners won’t freak out in June, July and August when their milkweed is filled with aphids.

I don’t use any pesticides and as a result, there are both pests and predators in the garden and over time, the aphids will be controlled.

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Filed under Pesticides, Pests

Echinacea Problems

Aster Yellows Disease

The most common problem I have with Echinacea (Purple Coneflower) is the Aster Yellows Disease which shows up occasionally in my garden. The above picture shows what it looks like as compared to a normal Echinacea.

The only solution to this is to dig out the entire plant and throw it away.


The second problem I have are Rosette Mites. They only affect the seed heads.

The main solution is to clip off the flower heads and get them out of your garden.

I found a great article on these two problems at this link.

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Filed under Disease, Pests

St. Louis Fall Plant Sales

Date: September 4
Time: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
$8/car donation
World Bird Sanctuary
125 Bald Eagle Ridge Rd
Valley Park, Missouri 63088

September 30 @ 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Roeslein & Associates, Inc. is hosting a native plant sale on Thursday
9200 Watson Road, Crestwood, MO


Missouri Wildflowers

September 4 and 11
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Kirkwood Farmers Market
150 East Argonne
Kirkwood MO 63122

September 10
3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Shaw Nature Reserve
307 Pinetum Loop
Gray Summit MO 63039

September 25
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Native Plant Expo
Webster University Bookstore
554 Garden Ave
Webster Groves MO 63119

September 30
3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Roeslein & Associates, Inc
9200 Watson Rd
St. Louis MO 63126


October 1 – Noon to 8:00 p.m.
and October 2 & 3
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Best of Missouri Market
Missouri Botanical Garden
4344 Shaw Blvd
St. Louis MO 63110

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August Soil Preparation

If you’re contemplating putting in a native seed flower bed in late fall, August is a good time to get the soil ready.

Your main job is to get rid of all the grass and weeds and have a clean area without any vegetation.
Don’t till as that will bring up weed seeds.

I’d loosen up the top 1/2″ of soil and keep the area moist to encourage any weed seeds to germinate now before the growing season.

In St. Louis, Scott Woodbury our resident expert, suggests advice from Merv Wallace…
“Merv recommends one ounce of seed mix per 400-500 square feet and 3 grams per 20 square feet.
With your 4 grams, you are looking at around 25 sq ft.”


Sow the seeds on the surface in December.

I’d suggest mixing the seed with either play sand or potting mix. It makes for better disbursement when you throw the seeds out.
Don’t mix into the soil or cover with straw.
Just let the seeds sit on the surface.
Winter frost heave will move the seeds into the upper layer of the soil to the perfect depth.
Seeds will sprout in early April.

Native plants don’t need fertilizer, but might need watering during the first year.

Note – I like to cover my seeds with a light dusting of potting mix to hide them from the birds.

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Filed under Native Plants, soil, Uncategorized

Color in the August Garden

Tiger Swallowtail on dwarf Joe Pye Weed.

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Filed under Butterfly, Nectar Plant

Vacation Sprinkler Setup

Orbit Water Timer

If you need to water potted plants during a vacation, here’s a basic setup which worked for me.

You first need a timer to let it know when you want the water turned on and for how long.
I used the Orbit Timer – it’s the basic unit. It uses 2 AA batteries and worked well for my last vacation.
I’d suggest testing it ahead of time so that you get the amount of water you need for your plants.

You can see most of the pots I wanted to water, plus there are a few which are hidden that it reached also. I just moved all my pots to within range and everything was alive when I came back. You can use whatever sprinkler you have on hand.

Note – I let Mother Nature take care of my lawn and other plants, although I do water ahead of my vacation if needed.

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Filed under Water

Mid-July Trim

Veronica – Left – 50% cut – Right – cut to base. Note – I did end up cutting this to the ground.

By mid-July, there are a number of perennial plants which are pretty much done blooming and can benefit from a mid-summer haircut. Some will reward you with a second bloom, others will just look a bit neater in the garden. I also spread some organic fertilizer on the cut back plants.
Here’s a list of specific plants and how I handle them in mid-July.

Calamint – native – testing this by cutting back some and leaving some.

Maltese Cross – Save the seed and then cut back to the base. It will rebloom.

Nepeta – Walkers Low – Cut back to base. It will rebloom.

Penstemon – cut back to base. They do not rebloom.

Salvia – perennial – will bloom again when cut back to the ground.

Shasta Daisy – If I see buds below, I will deadhead, but when they are all done blooming, I cut to just above ground level. They do not rebloom.

Veronica – I usually cut these back down to the ground, but this year I’m doing a test and am cutting some down by 50%. Veronica will bloom again. Note – I ended up cutting this to the ground.

Here’s a good video on the process.

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Filed under Gardening

Monarch Watch Newsletter

Here is the link to subscribe to the newsletter.
This is the best newsletter to find out about the Monarch population.

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Filed under Monarchs

St. Louis Resources

If you are new to the St.Louis area, here are a number of resources to get you started.

ButterflyGardening.org

BeautifyCrestwood.org

Grow Native

Journey North – Monarchs

Missouri Botanical Garden

Missouri Native Plant Society

Missouri Prairie

Missouri Wildflowers

Monarch Watch

North American Butterfly Association – St. Louis Chapter

Shaw Nature Reserve

WGNSS – WEBSTER GROVES NATURE STUDY SOCIETY

WildOnes

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Filed under Misc

Butterfly Pictures Tip

Since butterflies don’t stay in one place very long, it’s tough to get that perfect picture.

John reminded me of this tip which I had forgotten.

Instead of trying to take the perfect picture, take a series of pictures in burst mode and then choose the best picture of the bunch.

Every phone and camera is a bit different so you may need to look up directions on how to do this.

The Pixel 3A, my preferred camera, does this by holding down the button for a few seconds and it then later shows you each frame and you choose which is best.

Below is a video of the process.

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Filed under Misc