Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Problem Area - Plant Pests ... Vine Weevil

Good Morning!
Well as promised here is my first post related to Problem Areas. 
I decided to start this off by focusing on Plant Pests that we all encounter in our gardens.
But first ... What exactly is a Plant Pest? 
A Plant Pest gains it's nutritional requirements from the host plant it feeds upon. 
There are various ways which it can gain it's sustenance but broadly speaking it either eats or sucks a plant's sap.
It's a good idea to take note of a pests life cycle as they are more vulnerable at certain stages.

Vine Weevil attacks a large range of plants both indoors and outdoors, they are especially common in container plants.
First of all the Vine Weevil comes in two forms, the larvae and the adult beetle.
Here's what you are looking for ... due to me not having this pest personally in my garden (famous last words) I have provided photo's from the RHS website so you know what to look for due to not having any personally.

Photo's from the RHS website.

I won't bombard you with too much information, but here's a brief description of their life cycle.
Vine Weevil over winter outdoors or under un-heated glass as soil / compost inhabiting larvae. Female Weevils (they are all females) emerge during late May / June and begin laying eggs after they've been feeding on plant material for 21-45 days. The eggs hatch within 2 weeks and burrow themselves into the soil. Each female Weevil can lay up to 200 eggs. The Larvae will grow slowly in the soil over the Summer, maturing by Autumn at about 5/8 inch long and will pupate the following Spring. 

Adult Weevils are easier to spot out of the two with them being above ground. However they will hide during the daytime at the base of plants or in mulches as they are shy in nature. Their activity mainly happens at night when they come out to feed on plant foliage. They are slow moving insects that cannot fly, but are good at crawling and climbing.

The Larvae is what causes the most damage out of the two. The Larvae buries down into the soil and eats the roots of plants during Spring and Autumn. In large numbers they can be detrimental to the plant.

An indicator of Larvae in your soil (ground or container soil) will be the condition of the plant. When affected the plant will turn brown, wilt and die. If you lift the plant out of the pot you will notice that the roots have been eaten away.

Adult Vine Weevil chew notches into plant foliage, this can also be an indicator that larvae are present in the soil beneath.

Photo from the RHS website.

If like me you like to garden Organically there are a few things you can do -
* On mild Spring & Summer evening pick the Adult beetles from plant foliage at night. 
Shake affected plants over some paper to dislodge and catch as many as you can.
* In Greenhouses you can check under pots and staging where the adults may be hiding during the day.
* Encourage natural predators such as birds, frogs, hedgehogs and ground beetles.
* Good drainage can be beneficial.

You can gain control over the pest biologically by using Nematodes. 
This is a living bacteria which is watered onto the affected area. Ideally apply this in August / September when the soil is still warm. (5c - 20c) and before the larvae has grown large enough to cause serious damage.
This has been known to be less beneficial in dry and clay soils.
There is also Chemical control available.

I hope you have found this interesting and helpful if any of you come across this particular pest!

Monday, 26 October 2015

Problem Area Series ...

Good Afternoon!
I'm just popping by with a short post to let you know about a new aspect to the blog I have decided to start. Seeing as I currently only seem to be blogging a Checklist of jobs you can be doing in the garden each week and the occasional snaps of how things are looking in my garden, I thought it would be a good idea to start a series of posts about problems you can encounter in the garden! It will be something a little more educational for you all.

From Pests to Problems such as Weeds, Diseases and Plant & Envioronmental Disorders I will try to cover a wide range to help you find the best way to combat them in your gardens.
I shall publish the first post later this week, I hope you will pop by for a peek!


Sunday, 25 October 2015

Garden Checklist ...

Good Morning!
I hope you all remembered to set your clock back an hour last night! The nights are drawing in and time in the garden is now going to be reduced, but there are still a few things you can be getting on with!

1. Ponds - Remove any dead or dying foliage on pond plants this coming week. If it is left it will rot down into the pond leading to high nitrogen levels, which can encourage blanketweed and algea next Spring. Cut back all falling stems but make sure you do not cut below the water line.
You will also need to remove any annual surface cover plants along with any fallen leaves and keep checking that the water level is at the correct height for your plants over the Winter months.

2. Planting - There's still time to get any evergreen shrubs, hedges and Spring Bedding planted into the ground.

3. Weed Seedlings- Keep on top of any weed seedlings that you spot in your garden, it's best to catch them when they're small as they are much easier to remove then.

4. Display - If you haven't done so already, make a start on your Winter Pot displays! Some bright pops of colour are most welcome in the coming months.

5. Auriculas - If like me you are growing Auriculas you will have noticed over the past few weeks that the leaves are looking a little tatty. Remove any dead or yellow leaves from the plants, make sure you remove the whole leaf from it's base. If a part is left, it can lead to problems with disease.

Thanks for stopping by, don't forget you can find all the previous Checklists on the page tab above.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Garden Checklist ...

Good Morning!
Here's a few things you can be doing in your garden over the coming days.

1. Lawns - Autumn is the time to give your lawn a little bit of maintenance! One of the things you can do after mowing is give it a good rake through to remove any moss that has built up, trust me there will be soon! This will improve the health of the lawn. You can also aerate it with a fork and remove any weeds you see growing through.

2. Planting - Autumn is a good time to get plants in the ground before winter. The ground is still warm over the next couple of weeks so if you have any evergreens, hedging or shrubs sitting around waiting to be planted, now is the time to do it.
On the flip side of this now is the time to dig up and move any tender perennials that need protection of winter before the frosts come! We've already had a couple of light frosts this week.
You can also lift and divide any congested Perennials and re-plant in various areas of the garden!

3. Healthy Plants - To keep your plants healthy keep checking them over for anything that can prevent them happening. For example as you can see below there are some faded flower stems that need pulling out and a sneaky snail that has climbed into one of the flowers!

Alstroemeria - Inca Ice 'Koice'

4. Harvest - Plants such as Chilli's are still ripening and ready to harvest, snip them all off once they are ready and store in a freezer if you won't be using them right away.

5. Over Wintering - If like me you are over wintering various plants, I like to reduce them in size around about now, such as with my Pelargoniums. In my personal experience I find by reducing the amount of foliage it helps prevent the chances of grey mould, which in a bubble-wrapped greenhouse can occur quickly. It also reduces the amount of water the plant needs to take in and the energy it uses. You can also re - pot into smaller pots if you are tight on space.

6. Roses - Keep collecting fallen rose leaves from around the plants base, especially if they are affected with blackspot. If they are left the spores can lay in the ground and raise the chances of the plant getting blackspot next year. 

Thanks for stopping by, don't forget you can find all the previous Checklists on the page tab above.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

My Autumn Garden ...

Good Morning!
It's been a while since I shared some full garden photographs so I thought it was time to show how it was looking so far this Autumn!
First up is the front of the house which had a little tidy up last weekend ready for the winter months! As you can see the Perennials I planted a few months ago seem to be doing well.

As soon as you walk through the gate your on the large patio area (if this was my house this would've been halved in size and planted up lol) but unfortunately due to renting it has to stay put! There is a large Raised Bed which is currently playing host to some Dahlia's. They're a little past their best but the bee's are still enjoying them so are staying put a little longer!

In the gap between the raised bed and the lawn is a small stretch of patio that I've filled with some Primroses and next to them are some Penstemons planted in a small border. 

Back on the patio lining the stretch from the gate along the conservatory is a display of pots.

The shady spot at the other side of the conservatory that currently only see's about an hour or two of sunshine is looking colourful thanks to the Sedum. 

Next to this shady spot is the second part of lawn which is on the same side as the Greenhouse.

Infront of the Greenhouse is my little pond and another small border.

Finally here's a few snaps from inside the Greenhouse!

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, 9 October 2015

Garden Checklist ...

Good Morning!
Here's a few things you can be doing in your garden over the coming days.

1. Leaves - Leaves are starting to fall so it's a good time to start raking them up and using them to create your own Leaf Mould.

2. Tender Plants - With the lower temperature's it's a good time to walk around your garden and look out your tender plants that won't survive the winter outside, it's time to bring them under cover.

3. Winter Pots & Baskets - If you haven't already it's time to get cracking with your Winter Pots & Baskets. I've decided to cut down on the baskets this year but I have made up a couple of pots with a mix of Heuchera's, Grasses, Euonymous and Viola's.
 If you are planning on planting bedding out in your borders too then now is also a good time to do that.

Viola - Amber Kiss

4. Equipment - If you have glazed or non - frost proof pots outside these will also need to be brought under cover or protected with bubblewrap. In cooler temperatures these pots can crack and break. You will also need to put any hosepipes back into storage and wrap the taps with insulation. It's best to get on with these jobs before any casualties occur!

5. Pests - If you have any plants that your are over - wintering in the Greenhouse keep checking them for any signs of pests. These can easily get in on the days you have the door open for ventilation or could have been carried in on any of the plants you have moved in from outside. No matter how thoroughly you think you've checked them something always seems to sneak in!

6. Sweet Peas - If you are planning on Autumn sowing some Sweet Pea's, then now is the time to get cracking!

Thanks for stopping by, don't forget you can find all the previous Checklists on the page tab above.