Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Do As I Say, Not as I Do, and Other Random Thoughts
This sorry looking sight is a direct result of not doing what I should have done. I DIDN'T READ THE LABEL!! You know how they always tell you to do that when you're handling chemicals in the garden? Well... a couple of weeks ago I brought two tomato plants home from the farmers' market. These will be my fall tomato plants. Unfortunately I saw that they were covered with spider mites, not surprising when it's hot and dry. So I went to the shed to get my insecticidal soap. But I didn't have any. The plants were a little too small at that time to shoot them with a garden hose so instead I grabbed a "3-in-1" organic spray that I had used on my roses some time ago. It's supposed to take care of spider mites (although I used it on my roses for fungus). I sprayed the first and worst of the affected plants and then something in my brain said "stop!". I then read the label. Its active ingredient is sulfur, and spraying sulfur on plants when it's over 90 degrees is NOT a good thing! Sure enough, within a day it had shriveled up. Fortunately for me it survived my stupidity and as you can see below, both plants are coming along.
This plant however, is not coming along so well. It's a variegated purple fountain grass, Pennisetum setaceum rubrum 'Fireworks'. Or supposed to be. It's being eaten by something. My two suspects are "graveyard" grasshoppers or cats. But I've never seen either one near the plant. So the mystery continues. UPDATE - I finally caught the neighbor's cat chowing down on this plant. So I moved it but unfortunately that may not stop the cat!
We have had a very strange summer here. From the beginning of June until the middle of July we had no rain and extremely hot temperatures. Then all of a sudden it started raining. And the heat let up. But it kept on raining and soon I was having to move my potted succulents under the shelter of my patio. Here's a few of them sitting out the temporary sun.
I'd like to showcase this little succulent number, Portulacaria afra 'Variegata', also known as "Rainbow Bush".
It's a form of the South African "Elephant Bush", so named because it's loved by elephants (although I think elephants eat just about anything). I like it for its mahagony stems and variegated fleshy leaves, which are not really shown off in this photo. It spreads laterally and kind of trails down. It was an impulse purchase this year (my Big Box store has way too many nice succulents). I'll have to protect it from freezes but I'm more than willing to do that!