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Garden Bliss & Blunder, Issue #026
August 14, 2023

The Sweetness of August

I confess to not feeling as enthusiastic as usual

when I sat down to create this newsletter:

I would rather be in the garden….

digging, weeding, planting and

… just enjoying it -

but there are some things

I think you might like - or need - to know.

But first....

So, yes, this is late

but I’ll bet you haven’t been sitting in front of a screen,

anxiously waiting for my August newsletter. -:)

August is the month of glorious clouds

…. they form, then disappear in shadow or light

… a painter’s delight…

I spend a lot of time taking photos of clouds and flowers, of course.

to paint on those cold sleety days in the winter

- take photos every day because

our gardens change every day.

My tree lily.

... almost 7 feet tall this year

with two stems and

at least 6 blooms on each

"There is no gardening without humility.

Nature is constantly sending even its oldest scholars

to the bottom of the class

for some egregious blunder."

Alfred Austin


Vacations can leave us exhausted

… planning, packing, the journey, the excitement

but for me.

it really was worth it all

to spend time

with my beloved family

Reading my book :

"The Little Bird Who Fell From the Sky"

(If you don't have a copy yet, there is still time)

Go to my Home page - link below


Play Time

We think Lucy liked the pool.

... she swam and floated around

but was also happy

to be wrapped in a towel

and warm up in the sun

... she wasn't too thrilled with the roar of the ocean waves -

"I'm outta here"...says she

...and now - ready for a nap

Back to Weeds, Bees & Beasties

Weeds !!

Away for a week and look at this thistle !!!


Can you see the nasty Japanese Beetle hiding in my rose??


A jar of soapy water,

then flick them in - but be careful,

they are cagey

and will fly away

if you miss the flick.

Here's our little Chippie waiting for his seeds.

Better to feed them than having them eat the roses..

.. sometimes he or she leaves petals on the stone

for Jen when she brings seeds

Lucy waits for Chippie... who does not want to be her friend....


A gorgeous Monarch in our Budleia...

how special is that...?

We also had Red Admirals ...

Coneflower Rosette Mite:

CONEFLOWER ROSETTE MITE causes the cone to push out

tufted flower parts (rosette-like)

Caused by the "eriophyid mite" (eriophydae)

- the only mite with 2 pairs of legs

and living inside developing flowers

by feeding at the base by puncturing plant cells

and sucking our the contents.

This rude little mite is spread by wind, animals or birds.



Aster Yellows in Coneflowers


Outer petals form a ring of little green,

curved petals around deformed coneflower heads

This is often confused with Rosette Mite

but this damages the whole plant- not just flowers as in rosette mite

There is no cure

- once infected, the whole plant stays infected


… this AY pathogen cannot survive outside the plant

so does not stay in soil

This next image shows the difference

between the Rosette Mite

and Aster Yellows

Bald-faced Hornets can be nasty

These hornets, in the wasp family, built a nest

In our dwarf apple tree on the boulevard

- these nests are usually built high up in tall trees,

far out of the reach of humans.

Just not this time.

Bald-faced hornets are large (15 to 20 mm or longer)

- with white markings on face

and 200 - 400 workers per nest

but there can be as many as 700 to 1,000

Photo by The Bee Man - Pittsburgh

Bald-Faced Hornet - Photo Gary Alpert - Harvard U.

Bald-faced Hornets can be aggressive and vigorously defensive as well as a threat to humans who get too close to their nest.

They can sting repeatedly without dying.

Bald-faced hornets can remember faces so if a human inadvertently returns to the nest area, they will patiently wait for their target and even fly past other humans to sting the repeat "invader".

They can squirt or spray venom from the stinger into the eyes of those who get too close to their nest.

The venom causes immediate watering of the eyes and temporary blindness.

YIKES...I had no idea until I had been stung on two different days while doing some summer pruning.

The sting was very painful and swelled immediately… fortunately for me, no other symptoms.

Because the nest was so close to the sidewalk where folks walk dogs and kiddos, we had to have the nest sprayed, while making sure to kill the queen.

Sad, but human safety was paramount.

Our neighbour made sure the area was blocked until the hornets were gone for a few days

PS: Although the nest has been gone for almost 2 weeks,

yesterday, in the garden, one of them flew toward me

and brushed by my shoulder…an accident, right?

And yet, today, on my front porch

(25 feet from where the nest was)

I was about to open the door,

and one flew at me, brushing my cheek…

I could feel the ‘breeze’ from it….

I am not usually a fearful person

but this was rather unsettling.

Garden Heroes

Our local Horticultural Society made signs

for members to leave in gardens

to say the person who lives where the sign shows up,

is a Garden Hero.

I am lucky enough to receive one.

But the reality is, I am merely a caretaker

of the blooms and blossoms

that overtake my garden in spite of me.

I plant what I love; the rest is divine intervention.

I love that-

Lucky Me....

...and now, it is my turn

to pass the sign to another Garden Hero.

This is my friend and neighbour Noriko Merrett

who is an amazingly talented gardener

who fills her garden with love.

The Buckhorn Festival of the Arts

What a great place to see fabulous art..

And some shameless self-promotion,

my art classmates has entered some of our work

in the completion, open to all

Come see and meet lots of artists

and see our work in the competition.

Buckhorn Art Festival

My painting - "Mirror Man" mixed media

"Last Rose of Summer" coloured pencil sketch

Until Next Time....

Lucy says stay cool,

take naps -

and be sure to get lots of treats

and some extra loving

of course...


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