Native Garden, Early Summer

by Lorraine on November 24, 2008

I am still trying to get caught up to the present time and I have quite a few entries to post since last June.   I’m thinking that I will need to write something just about everyday, otherwise it’s going to take me forever to get it done.    You will be reading about November ’08 next Summer if I don’t speed up my writing.   And writing is always a challenge for me.   Nothing like being Dyslexic!  So, without further ado, here we go!

June 27Th.

The heat wave finally ended and now we are about 20 degrees cooler.   Wow!  It was the hottest June that I can ever remember, because usually it’s cool and overcast.   I really paid attention to how the garden was responding to this and I did run the irrigation system for an hour per line.   And sometimes I poured buckets of water on the plants that looked like they were dying or really, really stressed from the heat.

I’m hoping that I didn’t over do it on some of the sages, as I noticed that now they have some brownish leaves near their centers.  Rot?   I learned from the Salvia class that you have to be very careful that they don’t get over watered, otherwise they will develop root rot.

Then I noticed some sort of goo that looked like a wad of spit underneath some leaves of the Gum Plant (Grindelia robusta).   I have three in the garden and I’m not too fond of them, I think that they are kinda ugly.   But they do have pretty yellow flowers.

“What the heck is that” (?), I’m asking myself.   Should I be concerned about it?   I turned to my trusty reference book from the Theodore Payne foundation and looked up pests and problems, that like to chew, munch and in general, destroy plants before you know what’s happened and can fend off further attacks.

I found out that it’s the happy “home” of the Spittle Bug, the common name of this invisible creature.  When you look at the “spit” on the point where the leaf is attached to a stem, you can’t see anything.   No bug in sight, but I didn’t want the plant to die, even though I’m not really attracted to it, so I read the methods that could be used to send the little buggers to Spittle Heaven.

The choices were, hose the plants off, use a soapy mixture and spray it on the leaves, etc. or just to leave the plant alone with it’s house guests.   Since this is a natural garden, I don’t want to use any pesticides, so I’ve decided to not do anything and see what happens.

What’s a bit amusing about this plant, is that when it starts to blossom, the center of each flower has a white, sticky, shiny substance in the middle of it that looks a bit weird.   The purpose of this stuff, it to protect it from predators, but apparently not the Spittle Bug!

The bug started showing up on other plants but nothing really happened.  The plants didn’t have any adverse reaction and seemed to manage the invasion with aplomb!  The invaders turned out to be harmless.

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