An Aphid Haiku

  • Squishy little colored bug, you wreak more havoc than a slug. Sometimes your white, sometimes your black. My dearest plants you must attack.

The marks of your meal can be seen from afar, marks on my heart is what they really are. Colonized Soldiers prepared to bring war, not overseas but at my front door.

Be gone with you aphid. I have had enough. With no exoskeleton you’re really not tough. Do or die….Pesticide….I will destroy you, aphid if it’s the last thing I do. The ecosystem would be fine without you.


Itsy-bitsy Spider Flower

Cleome hassleriana – Spider Flower 

⭐️ Pete Late Favorite ⭐️

Annual that acts like a perennial due to the ability to self seed. 

This beauty grows to 1-3′ high and 1-2′ wide. Blooms continue June through frost. They can be pink, purple, white as well as bicolored. Sun lovers, but can do just fine in part shade. They like it dry and require little maintenance; which is nice late in the season when dedication dies down. Slightly fragrant and attractive to birds, hummingbirds, honeybees and butterflies. 

A neighbor’s spiders crawl through the cracks.

A delightful patch of spiders at the local animal exhibit. Round Hill park. 

A closeup of what appears to be their leader. 

Sit boo boo! Sit! 

The Obedient plant!  (Physostegia virginiana) 

This is the underrated perennial of the year!! (If you ask me) She matures to 3′-4′ tall and 2′-3′ wide. Requires full sun, blooms pink or white, bottom to top and June to September. Spreads by rhizomes or seeds and is known to be an aggressive spreader.  Also it is a native to Virginia. 

Attracts butterflies/hummingbirds. Deer/rabbit resistant, has fragrant flowers/foliage. Used commonly as a groundcover for its ability to spread easily. Human and animal consumption is not advised. 

How she got her name is because the individual flowers will stay in place if moved. They seem to rotate around the main stem. The flowers almost look like tiny foxglove or snap dragons. 

When I first planted mine she was a wee little thing, but grew into a tall, thick, beautifully deep green and glossy specimen. Unfortunately days before the blooms busted out one of the neighborhood cats thought it made a good place to lay for a nap. Even after being smashed I think she is a sight to behold. 

I couldn’t find a gif to show her ability to move so I guess you’ll have to pick one up and play with one yourself!!

Lupine in July 

A gentle yellow color & Lazy pink sister on the ground in the back. I got these plants from the Penn State Master Gardener Plant Sale in April. My previous pines flowered early spring so it was a pleasant surprise to see this beaut awake for some summer fun. 🌞

A hole mystery 

Many have shared the complaint “something is chewing holes in my plant” and I have yet to get a straight answer…..

Roses, lupine, dahlia, eggplant and petunias alike share the damage symptoms of this pest’s appetite for disaster. What the mysterious part is that the aftermath of a meal is clear, but who or whom is causing this damage is not. I have received tons of complaints from customers as well as had it happen in my own backyard. The latter led me to dive into some research. 

My first theory was that this insect only comes out to feed at night and that’s simply why no one ever sees them on plants. 

I have noticed two types of damage exhibited. Notches at the edges of the leaf as well as holes in the center of the leaf. I found that the different damage is caused by different pests. 

The notches, for a wide variety of plants is most likely caused by the leaf cutter bee (Megachilidae). This pest causes very mild damage that, unless a great population has arrived there is no need for any human intervention. The leaf cutter bee does not actually eat the plant, so using a pesticide may not be effective. Since they are bees they are beneficial to us in terms of being pollinators. And since they have wings and don’t stay in one place for too long could possibly be why no one catches them in the act. 

Now the holes in the center have caused me great displeasure and with as much damage as is on my eggplant I can’t help but feel that it is effecting my fruits. With such a large portion of leaf missing I don’t believe it can photosynthesize like it should.

These are not my photos but an example of what damage I am dealing with. After spending a few days back and fourth on a few websites I have found that the insect with the most similar habits is the caterpillar. They chew as they move around that is why some of the irregular holes are located mid leaf and some carry off the the edge. The safer methods of control are: handpicking, insecticidal soap and bactillus thuringiensis kurstaki (Btk). An excellent control of leaf-eating caterpillars such as cabbage worms and tomato hornworms, but has no activity against insects that do not eat treated leaves. After the insects eat the bacteria, their guts rupture and they die. Bt is therefore one of the safest natural pesticides you can use in terms of controlling caterpillar pests of vegetables or fruits without harming beneficial insects.

Plant problem diagnosis


Love/Hate Relationship

Asiatic Lillies have striking color and demanding height.  

The downfall is that the flowers last only a few days. When they are finished blooming the plant itself is unattractive. The petiole and stamen remain and if you cut it off you are left with an ugly stub. I suppose the best course of action is to cut it the whole way back if aestics are vital.