What’s Bugging my Garden?

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The front garden.

Pests are a fact of life. Although they are everywhere, every infestation can be traced to a source. As a pesticide free gardener, I know that sprays are not the solution.  While seemingly convenient, these hazardous chemicals not only kill the bad bugs we want out of our gardens, but the good bugs too. Another reason I am so thankful that the city of Port Coquitlam has taken the steps to ban pesticides in our city.

Everything in our eco system has a natural balance. Occasionally it gets a little out of whack. In those cases we need to look a little closer to find the source. The cause of the imbalance in the garden.

lThe bees have been in full buzz around the perennial sage.

This year, it has been pretty obvious. The weather through the winter was fierce. Brutal cold snaps last fall lead to an enormous amount of winter injury, and even death in the garden. I lost trees, shrubs and favorite perennials. Those plants that remained didn’t necessarily fair much better.

Foxglove

Aphids have been a serious problem in my garden this season. They thrive on weak plants, causing even more suffering of the host plant. Until the natural predators catch up (here ladybug, oh ladybug!) there are a few things we can do to help aid the fight.

The best part? These tips are easy and all natural!

It has been a bad year for my roses. My climber rose, Graham Thomas is one of the few highlights to a rather lackluster rose display this season.

#1. Aphids can become dislodged in heavy rain, or with the hard spray of your garden hose. Don’t hesitate for fear of damaging the host plant. The aphids will do more damage to the plant than your garden hose ever could. Repeat this step every few days to keep the aphids from recolonizing.

#2. Keep your garden weeds under control. Aphids often use them as an alternate host plant.

#3. Look for signs of your host plant under stress. A yearly pruning, especially of cane plants like my Mock Orange will help keep aphids under control. Make sure to regularly prune back any damaged or dying branches to give your plant a better chance to flourish.

#4. If the plant is showing signs of stress, fertilizing with a good organic fertilizer (found at any plant shop or nursery) can help give the plant a fighting chance.

Aphids attacking my Mock Orange.

***Want your little one to find out more about the superhero’s already fighting these bad bugs in your garden? Coquitlam’s Inspiration Garden is hosting a children’s bug workshop & Lady Bug release party this Tuesday, July 5th from 10-11am, and Tuesday, August 9th. The cost is $5 & you must register in advance. Parent participation is required.

For more information on classes being hosted at the Inspiration gardens, please check out their list of programs and activities HERE.***

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3 comments on “What’s Bugging my Garden?

  1. Carrie on said:

    that lady bug release party sounds like so much fun! I wish I wasn’t working.

    We had a horrible outbreak of aphids last year. I hope we escape them this year…of ocurse, not much to attacks, the weather has been so poor our flowers aren’t doing that well. Except that silvery stuff I planted in my baskets. Holy cow is it growing!

  2. Melanie Giant on said:

    The bee is so cute. I really love all of your photos. So sad that I’m too late for knowing about that event. I hope that there will be another event just like that.

  3. Spinet Schoenhut on said:

    Nice article! Well, another organic pesticide that I recommend is Garlic/Pepper Mixture:
    1/2 cup hot peppers of your choice, 1/2 cup garlic cloves ( onions will also do ), 2 cups water

    Allow the mixture to stand for 24 hours. Then strain and spray onto foliage. It is a general mixture that will fight off most bugs.

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