September may be the most difficult month for gardeners. Not fully summer, but not the coolness of a real autumn month. The good news is that we are over the worst of the summer heat and by the end of the month, night temperatures are getting down into the 60’s. Plants, like other living things, breathe. They go through transpiration where they expel moisture to keep cool. Think of how you would feel if you were panting all night long in the hot evening air!
To say that our plants are exhausted by the time that September arrives is an understatement.
And our gardens show it.
Many of my perennial plants have just given up and gone dormant. Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp) have nothing left by seed heads, coneflowers (Echinacea spp.) have their big cool pom pom like seeds, and my red hot pokers (Kniphofia spp.) are nothing but a few spiky leaves. Some Salvia’s are dying at the top, but have fresh rosettes of leaves at the bottom of the stalks or might even have new leaves growing along the stalks. I cut off what looks dead and when cooler days and nights arrive, I should have new growth and new flowers.
The one plant that looks as fresh as a daisy (as the cliché goes) and is not a daisy, is a rose. Roses seem so delicate and yet mine seem to love the hot weather. I have two David Austin English roses that have bloomed all summer long without a break or rest. I will be giving them a fall feeding for more blooms. They seem to go dormant the end of December when the daylight hours are short and the temps are actually cold at night. Yes, it does happen in the Lowcountry. How can we forget that hard freeze last Christmas?
I cannot say that September is my favorite month to garden. It is still too hot to tackle any large projects and there are still biting insects. My garden is no longer lush and there are distinct gaps or holes in the foliage. I also hate to see the days getting shorter and the mornings so dark.
There are some things that do keep a smile on my face in transition September. A type of salvia, known as forsythia sage (Salvia madrensis) blooms this time of the year. It is a very tall (5-6 feet) plant with sturdy stems and long spikes of yellow flowers. Asters (Symphytotrichum spp.) and goldenrod (Solidago spp.) are coming in their own and who doesn’t like purple and yellow? They are both native plants and pollinators love them. I am finally seeing lots and lots of butterflies in my garden right now and they were quite sparse earlier in the summer. I also have one of the weirdest looking flowers right now on my pinecone ginger (Zingiber zerumbet). They look, of course, like giant red pinecones. This plant has been used as a shampoo and conditioner. If you squeeze the “cones” a liquid is exuded so this plant is often known as shampoo ginger. I have not tried it as a shampoo. It is a fun plant to have just for interest.
So, even though September is my least favorite gardening month, I have learned to take pleasure in what is growing and what is going through a transition from our H and H days to a more temperate season.
You may wonder where the Comya Gardener has been these past few weeks. I was fortunate to play golf in Scotland for two weeks and then just arrived home from a 15 day cruise around the British Isles. I got to check Orkney and the Shetland Islands off of my bucket list. It was interesting to see what the gardens were like in those places since there is only a temperature difference of about ten degrees between winter highs and summer highs. Gardens were lush with an abundance of flowers. The entire landscape was very green although with the small amount of daylight in the winter, I am sure that will change dramatically.
If you are interested in purchasing my book on gardening in the Lowcountry for newcomers, it is available at LowCo Gardens in Port Royal, Bruno's and The Greenery on Hilton Head, and Southern Marsh Nursery in Bluffton.
Rain, Rain, Go Away!
I am saying that now, but by the end of next week with temps in the 90’s, I will be praying for some cooling rain. It has been a soggy few weeks, but I think after a rather dry spring, we have needed it. My flowers are flourishing and the grass has finally turned green as well as the many many weeds.
Chamber Bitter is our worst enemy right now. It is easy to full so get it while it is small. It can grow to six feet tall with thousands of seeds stored under the leaves. This weed thrives in wet conditions so it is quite vigorous right now.
I have some interesting Black-eyed Susans right now. There are two varieties – one perennial and one an annual. The perennial version (Rudbeckia fulgida) is a new cultivar this year for me. It is named “American Goldrush” and it is smaller than the annual with sturdier stems so it does not flop. The flowers are bright yellow and large with a red interior. Highly recommended if you see it. I ordered mine online from Bluestone Perennials.
The annual variety (Rudbeckia hirta) reseeds with vigor and I am finding that each clump is a little different. This is because they are non-clonal so you do not get exactly the same plant as the parents were. I even have one mutation where two blossoms are connected together. Very weird looking. I cannot understand that according to garden designers, yellow is the most unpopular color in a garden. I love yellow. Hot colors really work down here with our bright sun. I find that because I do not have much shade at all, the brighter the color, the better it looks in my southwest exposure.
My Coneflowers (Echinacea spp.) are also doing well. Although they tend to be a short-lived perennial in hotter climates, they re-seed and I am giving Coneflower babies away. The bees seem to particularly like them.
I must admit that I have not seen many butterflies this year. Last year, they arrived later in the summer. Usually I have tons of Gulf Fritillaries, but even with this favorite host plant, Passionflower vine, climbing up my porch screen, I have not seen evidence of them in abundance – yet.
After visiting the gardens and conservatory at the Biltmore Estate last week, I am attempting to under plant any container plants with succulents. I hate to see the bare dirt under large plants such as my olive tree. Succulents add a bit of interest plus they take so little care. I will let you know how that works out.
On a more personal note, my book, Lowcountry Gardening for Beginners: How to Succeed as a Comya Gardener, is selling well. You can get a copy at LowCo Gardens, Southern Marsh Nursery, Bruno’s, and the Greenery. These are all great garden centers and well worth a visit even if you are not interested in purchasing the book.
Stay ahead of the weeds, work early before it gets hot, and keep hydrated. I will be in Scotland for 12 days enjoying the lack of humidity. I will pay the price when I get back and spend much time weeding and trimming.
We are fortunate in North America and particularly the southeast to have some really outstanding native plants that we can purchase at nurseries and garden centers. Take one of my favorites, Baptisia. Native to the southeast, this member of the legume family blooms in the early spring. Even after blooming, I like the foliage and the bean like seed pods. A cultivar known as “Carolina Moonlight” is stunning with pale yellow blossoms. The native variety has purple flowers and is also attractive in any garden. It is deer resistant as are most natives. Otherwise, they never never would survive!
Gaillardia or Blanket Flower is a heat and drought loving native that you can see along a sandy beach. It is named for an 18th century French magistrate and amateur botanist, Maitre Gaillard de Charentonneau. Its common name may reflect the colors used in Native American blankets. Make certain that this plant does not get too much water. It really likes to be dry. The only problem with Blanket Flowers is that they are a short lived perennial, but they can spread and produce new plants given the right conditions.
Coneflowers are among my favorites and although they are not native to the southeast, they are a native American prairie plant much beloved the world over.
You can see them from U.K. to Germany to Japan. They do like cold in winter and mine look the best ever thanks to the December hard freeze. They spread by seeds and if you are lucky, you will have baby coneflowers. They bloom for a long time and now there are cultivars in many colors – the traditional pink, but also red, orange, lime green, white, and yellow.
A southeastern native is Eryngium yuccifolia, commonly known as Rattlesnake master. The basal leaves look a bit like yucca, but the flowers are little white spiky balls that are loved by bees and wasps and some butterflies. It is not invasive and stays neat and tidy. The legend is that Native Americans used its leaves to brew a tea as an antidote to a Rattlesnake bite. I have no desire to experiment with that.
If you can find these native, give them a try. They will add quite a bit of variety and color to your garden.
On another note, My book is now available at Lowco Gardens in Port Royal, Bruno's Garden Center and the Greenery on Hilton Head Island.
My garden has never looked better. My Bottlebrushes are still sad, but they are coming back – slowly. Everything else seems to have come alive in a very short period of time. I turn around and something else is blooming or poking up through the earth.
So what is looking particularly good? My roses. I have one rose that I was about to give up on and it is blooming for the first time in three years. Not just one puny little blossom, but lots and lots. I just mulched them with composted cow manure and that should make them even happier. My roses seemed to thrive after the cold spell and I have heard other gardeners say the same thing – that their roses have never looked better.
I like the look of Gaura (Oenothera lindheimeri), but mine never has looked that full and had the flowers that they should have- until now. They have come alive after just taking up place for a couple of years. The cultivar is called “Whirling Butterflies” and the flowers look just like that. Gaura is one of those plants whose DNA extracted by plant scientists called for a name change. It is now in the evening primrose family. I saw those busy scientists at work last May at RHS Wisley’s research facility, Hilltop. Wonderful place, but I wanted to shake my fist at the scientists who are making life a little harder for those of us who use Latin binomials to identify plant families.
I have tried a new type of allium that I saw in U.K. last year. It is called Allium bulgaricum. I always wonder if this is wise because our climate is so darn warm, but up they came and I like their odd look.
I have replanted African bush daisies (Euryops chrysanthemoides.) this year. I have always said that perennials are not forever. In both my garden and in a pollinator garden that I maintain, the African daisies got woody and had mildew and just looked pathetic. When I pulled on them, they came out with hardly any root structure. Death by old age. Fortunately, they are not expensive and easy to find at local nurseries. I hope that my roots are in better shape. When I bought the new plants, I noticed that they are now called “California bush daisy.” This definitely sounds more native. And that is why I use the Latin name.
All of my salvias have come back up. Hooray. They are some of my favorite plants since they thrive in heat and humidity and the deer do not like them. Those new “Rockin” varieties from Proven Winners seem to be very tough. I love a plant that blooms for an extended period of time and my salvias are blooming now and will until January.
I did try something new this year – I planted a small gravel garden. Gravel gardening is becoming very popular, but not so much in the U.S.A. I had a spot where nothing grew. The topsoil washed off in every heavy rain. I put down several bags of compost to a thickness of about 8 inches and then put five-six inches of pea gravel on top. You dig through the gravel and put your plants in the topsoil. I used plants that like heat and full sun. So far, so good. I will keep you posted on how it looks in August! That will be the real test.
My pitcher plants are blooming right now. Once the flowers are finished, the new pitchers come up. I have added two new “pitchers” this year – Satchel Paige and Pedro Martinez. I needed some diversity and they are tall and proud. I buy my pitcher plants from the Pacific Northwest even though they are native here. You must buy them from an accredited grower and not gather them in the wild as they are protected.
My book Lowcountry Gardening for Newcomers: How to Succeed as a Comya Gardener is selling slowly but surely. You can find it at LowCo Gardens in Port Royal as well as the Greenery on Hilton Head. The last chapter says it all with its title “I Have Killed More Things Than Most People Plant or How to Let Go.” I do not pretend to know it all. I have had successes and many failures, but I plug on. That is what we do as gardeners.
Enjoy the wonderful spring weather and get out there and play in the dirt.
Well you might ask that since I have not posted a new blog in quite some time. I wish I could say that I have been binge watching Gardener’s World on BBC and eating bon bons. First, I have been in a play/musical for charity. Appropriately, I played Mother Earth. Secondly, I have been working to restore and revive my freeze damaged gardens that have sprouted way too soon. And last but hardly least, I have had a book printed and have been busily delivering copies. What is the title? Lowcountry Gardening for Newcomers: How to Succeed as a Comya Gardener. I self published so I could write exactly what I wanted without a state textbook adoption committee telling me what to write. I hate it when history is changed to suit a particular mindset. Well, this book is hardly controversial unless you are a weed or a plant eating deer.
Where do you get this book? So far, it is carried at LowCo Gardeners in Port Royal. I am working on getting it to Hilton Head and other areas.
Now to the subject at hand: What am I doing in my garden? I was patient although I really wanted to hack my Bottlebrushes down. They are slowly returning. The recent warm weather has things sprouting and blooming very early. There is Wisteria blooming and it is early March – way way too early. It is kind of scary in a way. I said that the hard freeze in December would not kill most things and even my Meyer Lemon has blossom buds and new leaves. There were a few sad losses. My Hamelia patens or Mexican firebush is gone. I always take a chance with it anyway.
I lost some succulents which can happen. They have all been replaced. My Salvia are all coming back and they are really a hardy annual (or tender perennial?) Black-eyed Susan have reseeded and are coming up in random locations. My roses are all in bloom and this is the earliest ever.
What do I have to most in my garden? Thousands, maybe millions of baby pine trees. I have never seen so many in my life. I could reforest the entire European continent. I have pulled some out, but think I will smother them with mulch. And lots of little oak trees thanks to those fluffy tailed garden rats burying them. I also think that it will be bumper weed year.
Some plants that are really spectacular this year are shrubs. My “Bridal Veil “spirea (Spiraea prunifolia) is a mass of tiny white flowers. My native Azalea (Rhododendron canescens) is also in full bloom. Most azaleas are native to Asia.
The first Asian azalea that is so common in South Carolina was brought to this country by Joseph Drayton to Magnolia Plantation outside of Charleston. Our native variety can be found in the woods all along the southern east coast and is commonly called the “Piedmont azalea.”
I had some great daffodils this year. I bought the southern collection from John Scheepers last fall, put them in the fridge for three months and then planted them in early January. I also planted iris. I love them, but wish that the blooms lasted longer.
Much to my surprise, my Hydrangeas look very healthy even one that I propagated last fall from a cutting. Now is a great time to try to propagate plants from cuttings. The hormone level is high in the stems so they tend to root more readily.
Wait to plant seeds until the end of March. I planted some directly into the ground and I was pushing the season a bit too much. Not one little seedling appeared. My bad. I have been telling everyone to be patient and I didn’t follow my own advice.
We are due for a cold snap and that could slow things down a bit. I just want the pollen out of the air.
Get out and enjoy the cool weather before our heat will hit soon enough. It is a great time to do hardscape projects, plant shrubs, and pull out those baby pine trees. I plan on doing quite a bit of mulching over the next few weeks.
A blog evaluation site named the Comya Gardener as one of the top 30 gardening blogs in the south so someone must be reading it. I promise to be a more faithful blogger. I have a lot to live up to.
I know that it is difficult to even consider spring with the latest round of tough weather. As gardeners, it helps to keep one step ahead of the season. I am planning my spring and summer garden right now at the end of January with nary a green leaf in sight and all those sad looking freeze damaged plants staring at me.
Seeds can be planted indoors between 6 and 4 weeks before the date of the last frost which is usually March 15th. Check on the seed packet for the exact time span. I just looked at some of my seed packets and realized that they are written in Dutch. I bought them at the airport in Amsterdam. I wanted to bring plants and bulbs back, but the little sniffer Beagles at the airports in this country would have a field day with my suitcase. Seeds are okay though.
I really like to order seeds from either Johnny’s Seeds or Park Seeds. Park Seeds is located in Greenwood, South Carolina and is one of our nation’s oldest seeds companies. Both have excellent seeds with a good germination rate.
Right now I have several containers of seeds and seedlings on my plant tray by a sunny window. Take out containers with clear plastic lids make great mini greenhouses. Poke drainage holes in the bottom container and fill it with seed starter soil mix, available at any big box garden center. I use MiracleGro. Plant the seeds according to directions and place the clear lid on it. I planted Bunny grass and it germinated in three days. I have individual containers of larger plants where I am putting only 2-3 seeds in each one. I have put a plastic drink glass over the top for a greenhouse effect. (a good one- not the one threatening our planet) I have a spray bottle to mist the soil and I keep a small watering can nearby. I always keep the watering can full of water. Leaving tap water in over night allows some of the chemicals to dissipate and is better for the plants, especially seedlings.
I am also going to think about what plant I can propagate this spring. I have taken many Geranium (Pelargoniums) cuttings. I usually put them in water to grow roots. You can plant them into a soil mix and see if they grow roots that way. Rooting hormone on the tip of the cutting can help it get going. Thai basil also roots from cuttings very easily. It is a super plant for bees, but it is an annual so it dies down every winter. I probably have five new plants on my porch made from cuttings and I will keep on making more and more from the new plants.
Succulents can be easily propagated as well from a stem. Insert the stem into soil or sand and water well. You should get a new baby in a few weeks.
I have told you before that during the winter I do a lot of “creative staring” at my garden to figure out trouble spots and new areas to plant. This year I am thinking about making a small gravel garden in an area where nothing seems to do well.
Stay tuned for this adventure. If I decide to proceed, I will document each step. I was fortunate enough to get a how to lesson from the owner of Denman’s Garden in West Sussex, England last May. The prep work may take awhile because there is an irrigation head right in the middle and a gravel garden is by nature, a dry bed.
It should be fun to experiment. I think that pushing the envelope and trying new things is one of the most fun gardening adventures you can have. Keep staring at your garden and let us hope for an early spring even though it will mean pollen.
In our humid subtropical climate, a quick frost is not big deal. When the temperatures go below 25 degrees Fahrenheit, that is when the problems begin in our yards. The good news is that last weekend’s freeze was not for an extended time so the roots of plants and shrubs were not seriously affected.
What to do with those sad looking plants and shrubs? Each variety is a little different.
Split Leaf philodendron—These are the most pathetic looking plants right now. They will come back. You can cut the dead leaves off at any time. They make great compost. It will not start to grown new leaves until warmer weather. Now is also a good time to cut the trunks if they have gotten too large. They will then sprout from the bottom growth.
Ferns—Leave them until warmer weather and then cut the dead stuff back. Boston ferns will come back and so will Southern Shield, Foxtail, and autumn fern. Kimberly ferns might not make it, but wait and see. Patience.
Gingers- Most gingers are deciduous and lose their leaves. Remove the dead plant material at any time. Shell gingers (those large green and yellow striped gingers) are ever green and they took a hit in the cold. Wait until warmer weather to cut them back to the ground. They will take awhile to recover, but they will.
Hardy annuals – These plants usually bloom all winter long (geraniums, dianthus, some salvias, ageratum, pentas, angelonia). They can not take a hard freeze like we had so say good-bye to them.
Perennials- They will be just fine. I am leaving up the dead plant material for winter interest. I will cut things back after the middle of February.
Dianella or flax lily – You can cut these down to the ground when the weather warms up. Wait until the middle of February. They will take awhile to recover, but the new leaves will be even better looking.
Shrubs- Most shrubs should recover. Bottlebrushes are native to Australia so do not like the cold. They will lose their leaves over the next month, but eventually make a comeback. Duranta also look horrible right now with brown leaves instead of their usual bright yellow. Do not prune shrubs now- even if they look dead. This is the worst thing that you can do. Let them recover at their own pace. I would not prune them, until April. If you covered citrus, they should survive. In the spring, trim off any dead branches.
It is sad to see so much dead plant material, but a garden is a work in progress. Things will die and you should see this as an opportunity to try something different. I am rethinking the front of my house right now.
“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat….” So goes an old English Christmas Carol and it is true that Christmas is coming and will be rapidly upon us. It will probably not surprise you that I ask for gardening books, tools, or gift certificates to garden centers. Gardening items will always be used and I do not have to worry about the size or color!
As far as gardening books go – one of my favorite is Tough -As -Nails Flowers for the South by Norman Winter. Winter is the retired head of the Coastal Georgia Botanic Garden and writes gardening columns for local newspapers as well has a Facebook page titled “Garden Guy.” I like this book because he give the regional origin of each plant and I feel that is important to know. He also talks about care and maintenance as well as the different cultivars available. The book covers annuals, perennials, bulbs, ornamental grasses, and vines.
As far as tools, I feel that it is better to have a few really high quality tools rather than a bunch from the Dollar Store. Well made tools will last a lifetime and pruners and loppers can be re-sharpened. My very favorite tool is my Felco pruners (called secateurs in other parts of the world). They are made in Switzerland and although pricey, they are well worth it. Felco makes many sizes from small “nippers” to large pruners. I have three and I am very careful with them. Fortunately, the handles are always bright red which helps to find them in the garden if you lay them down.
Another favorite tool is my Joyce Chen scissors. Joyce Chen was a Boston area restaurateur. She developed these scissors to cut up Lobster for Lobster Cantonese.
Little did she suspect that gardeners would love these scissors for trimming and cutting flowers. I use them all of the time for deadheading and flower arranging. They are expensive for scissors, but I have never had mine sharpened and they have lasted for almost 20 years and are still going strong.
Every gardener needs gloves and should use them every time they garden. I buy gloves by the dozen and any of the Nitrile gloves are great. They have good flexibility and can be put in the washing machine and even dried. There are many online sources for these gloves and the price goes down the more you buy. Buy a dozen and share them with a gardening friend.
I usually ask for a gift certificate from an online nursery since I tend to order more exotic things not found locally. They all have online gift cards and my particular favorites are Bluestone Perennials, Digging Dog Nursery, Annie’s Annuals and Perennials, Whiteflower Farm, and High Country Gardens.
Make it a gardening Christmas with gifts that you can use to play in the dirt all year long. And don’t forget to save those Amaryllis to plant outside in your garden! Paperwhites as well. They are a gift that keeps on giving.
I recently gave a mini workshop for new Butterfly Garden volunteers and invited newcomers to Lowcountry gardening. I kept it short and simple and talked about four things:
1. Plants that attract pollinators
2. Our soil
It went well so I decided to repeat it as a blog.
First of all – what plants attract pollinators? Well, believe it or not, anything that blooms is a big hit. A study was recently done at Great Dixter, an amazing garden in Kent, England. Insect life was measured in a native wildflower meadow and then again in the Great Border – a mixed herbaceous border of plants and shrubs, but not containing many natives if any. There were more varieties of insects in the Great Border. The key is not just to plant natives, but to encourage biodiversity by planting a variety of flowering plants – natives as well as exotics.
Pollinators tend to like flowers with open daisy like blossoms as you find with Coneflowers or Sunflowers. A notable exception is Cuphea (it has many commons names such as Mexican Firecracker or Mexican cigarette plant) It has candy corn colored tubular flowers and bees and hummingbirds love it.
2. Soil – Our soil tends to be sand on top of heavy clay. It is no wonder that South Carolina had and has a flourishing clay mining industry. Our soil also has quite a bit of Phosphorus in it. If you are going to fertilize, look for a fertilizer with no or little Phosphorus. It is better to enrich or supplement your soil with a good organic compost. I use Mushroom compost available at any big box store. It is inexpensive and tends to be more alkaline which is good because our soil is acidic. Milorganite is a good all purpose fertilizer and best of all, it does not burn if you put on too much.
3. Deer – They are a real problem down here and it seems like every year they add different plants as their most favored buffet item. I have an electric fence because I grow English roses and could not do so without an effective deer barrier. You can do other things to deter deer. The idea is to make your yard inaccessible and not pleasant. Sprays do work, but you have to keep after it and start early in the season when things first begin to sprout. I like “Deer Stopper,” but some people have success with “Scram” or “Bobbex.” Physical barriers like thick hedges or even fishing line strung about a foot off the ground can work. Deer do not like to have their legs tangled.
4. Weeds - Lucky us. We have two distinct seasons of weeds down here—warm weather weeds and cold weather weeds. Spurges tend to grow through both seasons. You have seen Prostrate Spurge creeping in cracks of pavement. Fortunately, they are super easy to pull out. The worst warm weather weed is Chamber Bitter. It starts out as an innocuous looking little tree, but it can grow to six feet. Under the leaves are hundreds of seeds just waiting to explode. Chamber Bitter is everywhere and this past summer saw a bumper crop. In the winter, we have Hairy Bittercress. It loves to ride along in nursery pots when you buy a plant. I always remove at least the top inch of soil in a new purchase to avoid weed seeds. It has tiny little flowers and actually looks quite cute. Warning – it can spread like crazy.
At the risk of sounding deranged, sometimes pulling weeds can be therapeutic. Unless you have a commercial composter picking up your yard waste, do not compost weeds or diseased plant material. Spent plant materials or weeds need to be heated to a certain temperature in order to kill weed seeds or pathogens.
So that is Gardening for Pollinators 101. I do have to say that my garden has never looked this good at the end of October. It must have been those three solid weeks of rain that we had that did the trick.
This past summer was one for the books: heat, humidity, tiger mosquitos, too many Armadillos, and then three solid weeks of rain. Usually my garden is dried out and dead looking about now, but I have things blooming that typically bloom in May. My Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) is so late this year. I planted the seeds at the normal time in the early spring, but they took forever to get going. Well, so did the pollinators this year. I had a whole summer without butterflies (other than our local Gulf Fritillaries), and now everyone is joining the party.
With all of the rain in August and early September, mold was a definite problem in the garden. I had white mold on my Salvia stems. I have never found fungicides to be particularly effective so I just cut back the infected stems. I have learned that the most important thing that you can do to prevent mold and other fungal diseases is to keep a good airflow. My garden will never be overflowing like the gardens in England, but at least I am not battling pests and disease. Judicious pruning and trimming is so much better than use of chemicals. If you have container plants suffering from fungus, the best thing to use is cinnamon. Now I would not buy the most expensive brand, but go to the Mexican spice section of the supermarket and get that or go to a Mexican market. Much cheaper. Sprinkle it on the top of the soil.
Another home remedy that is becoming popular is garlic spray. This will deter aphids, thrips, other pests, and downy mildew. You can buy it commercially or make your own by putting 4 garlic cloves in a tablespoon of mineral oil. Let this mixture sit for a day. Discard the cloves and add the oil to a pint spray bottle with 1 teaspoon of dish detergent. Shake and spray infected areas of the plant. So much better than those dangerous chemicals. It is heartening to see that many of them have been taken off the shelves and replaced with safer alternatives.
Speaking of chemicals, let’s talk about Glysophate. This is very controversial and you will no doubt notice scary posts about Glysophate, usually written by law firms hoping to attract clients. There is no scientific evidence that Glysophate is carcinogenic to humans. Most major organizations like the EEU, EPA, and WHO have declared Glysophate to be safe. The major issue is that it can be carried in water and that it does affect aquatic life.
By the way, the State of California has ruled that Glysophate is carcinogenic, but they also have ruled that Starbucks coffee is carcinogenic, my golf grips are carcinogenic, and just about everything else. There are Proposition 65 warning labels on just about everything. It certainly does not make you feel very safe about just living.
I should get this posted in case we lose power. Have you ever seen so many pinecones this year in the trees? I suspect that many of them will be in my yard after the storm passes. I will dutifully pick them all up because otherwise I will see a forest of baby pine trees in my garden next spring.
Stay safe and happy clean up. It does burn calories.