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Garden Ramblings, Issue #031
March 15, 2007
March 2007

Monthly Musings on the Garden Scene

If you prefer, you can view this month's issue online where you can also subscribe if this copy has been forwarded to you by a friend.

If you are reading the text version you will need to go online to see the videos. ***********************************************************

In this issue:

- Letter from the Editor
- Oriental Lilies
- Garden Insects - Not All Are Pests
- Ogeechee Limes
- Special Offers
- 2007 English Garden Tour
- Tailpiece



Welcome to the March issue of Garden Ramblings. I have mentioned on several occasions that I planning to make changes to the format, but each month comes around so quickly, I have not found the time to do so as yet.

Continuing the theme of greener gardening practices, Elisabeth Mcgill has a timely reminder as we start a new season with her article titled "Garden Insects - Not All Are Pests".

Patrick Malcolm is the author of many fascinating articles, most of which are too long for this newsletter. But "Ogeechee Limes" is of more modest proportions, so I am very pleased to be able to include it here.

As usual there is a Special Offers section with all the bargains that I've managed to find plus a rare chance to take a tour of English Country Gardens this summer.

One of the Special Offers is a collection of oriental lilies, so I thought I would start with a time-lapse video of these beautiful flowers to whet your appetite.

Enjoy the issue.



Oriental Lilies



Garden Insects - Not All Are Pests
by Elisabeth Mcgill

There are gardeners who think that every insect they see is a pest and needs to be destroyed as quickly as possible, when in reality there are some insects that actually help your garden. They catch and eat any number of their harmful cousins. To know which ones are beneficial will help you decide which insects to eliminate and which ones to welcome.

It is important to realize that there will always be some harmful insects in your garden, the key is to keep them under control. Three insects that can help you to do this are praying mantis, ladybugs and lacewings.They are ferocious hunters and most beneficial to have around.

Lacewing larvae can eat up to 60 aphids in an hour. They also eat whiteflies, mites, the eggs of caterpillars and a variety of other small pests.

Ladybugs and their larvae consume up to 40 aphids per hour. They also devour spider mites, beetle grubs, whiteflies and other soft bodied insects.

Praying mantis are fierce predators that will eat a wide variety of pests.

Apart from these three, there are other beneficial insects which are common and can help destroy garden pests.

A variety of predator mites feed on harmful spider mites and thrips without harming plants themselves.

Parasitic nematodes are microscopic worms in the soil that eat their way into numerous soil dwelling pests including grubs, sod webworms, carpenter worms, weevils and destroy them.

Different kinds of wasps are very effective when it comes to insect control. The Trichogramma wasps deposit their larvae into the eggs of caterpillars, from where they eat their way out, destroying the eggs. The Aphytis melinus, another tiny parasitic wasp attacks and kills red scale and Metaphycus helvolus attacks black scale.

Several species of small wasps attack whiteflies in their immature stages. Many other tiny wasps help to control flies when they lay their eggs in the pupae of several types of them, including houseflies.

Most of these beneficial insects can be bought from nurseries and garden supply stores for a few dollars. It is best to release them in the evening because daylight encourages flight. Be aware that without access to prey, water and shelter they will fly away. It is necessary to provide the right environment by growing many kinds of plants in your garden. In return these 'good' insects will help your garden to stay healthy and reduce the need to use chemical pesticides.


The author has a Home and Garden Decor business where she makes sure that her customers get the best deal as well as expert advice. She is also an avid gardener with many years of experience and likes to share her knowledge with others.


Ogeechee Limes - Pleasantly Tasting Like Citrus
by Patrick Malcolm

The shoreline of the Ogeechee River is densely imbedded with a little known fruit tree called the, "Ogeechee Lime" Nyssa ogeechee, that could easily demand attention from farmers, who are looking for a secondary crop. Local landowners, and those who fish on the banks of the river, are familiar with this tree that can grow 30-40 ft. tall, and in the Fall, the leaves and the oval shaped fruit turn a brilliant scarlet in color. The fruit or berry is about 1-2 inches long and reaches the approximate size of a large kumquat with an agreeable acid flavor, that is similar to limes or other citrus. The fruit is used to flavor foods and drinks, when the juice is released, or it can be used in preserves and the canning of such items as jellies and jams by the local inhabitants.

Many botanists in the past centuries observed that Ogeechee Limes were found growing in colonies with roots underwater, and therefore, they naturally recommended that a planting of this tree should only be done in a bog garden. There are trees planted in the Arboretum garden at the Coastal Plains Experiment Station at Tifton, Ga that are mature and growing well in well drained soil. These trees produce bushels of fruit in the fall that is exceedingly enjoyed by children and adults.

The famous, early American explorer, William Bartram, when traveling through Georgia in 1793 wrote, "I saw large, tall trees of the Nyssa ogeechee growing on the banks of the river, there is no tree that exhibits a more desirable appearance than this, in the autumn, when the fruit is ripe, and the tree is divested of its leaves, for then they look as red as scarlet, with their fruit which is of that color also. It is of the shape, but larger than the olive, containing an agreeable acid juice. The most northern settlement of this tree, yet known, is on the great Ogeechee River, where they are called Ogeechee Limes, and they are being sometimes used in their stead".

These trees are dependable producers every year of unbelievable masses of fruit, that when dead- ripe in September falls to the ground after changing color from green to a spectacular scarlet. The trees can also be shook by hand to collect the limes as they fall to the ground on sheets. Many local people prefer to gather the fruit as the limes begin to change color, looking much like green 'Nagami' kumquats in appearance and size. Someday this American native tree will become a very important commercial fruit producer. The fruit from these trees is remarkable in being uniform in size. The trees should be planted in partial shade or the full sun and require frequent irrigation for maximum production, however, they require no fertilization and pest and diseases are no problem. The trees are self-pollinating.

The pollen of Ogeechee Lime is considered to be very important for bees that make honey called, "Tupelo Honey." This unusual product is considered to be gourmet quality by specialty stores.

Learn more about various plants, or purchase ones mentioned in this article by visiting the author's website: TyTy Nursery

Special Offers

Now that the main sale season is behind us, special offers are hard to find. At Dutch Gardens you have to dig deep into their site to the Super Values in the Collections section. The Oriental Lily Mixture icon is good value.

Gardener's Supply Company is featuring "The World's First Steerable Garden Scoot" icon. Save all that bending and sit in comfort as you garden.

For bargains, the "Outlet" section towards the bottom of the left hand menu has many useful items on offer.

Nature Hills Nursery is the one firm with real reductions this month. All their perennials are 25% off. Take a look at their huge selection.



There's a special offer of a different kind from Gardener's Supply Company - The 2007 English Garden Tour. This is your chance to experience "Perennials & Roses of England and the Hampton Court Flower Show". The tour starts in the city of Bath and includes visits to Crowe Hall, Hestercombe House Gardens, Cothay Manor Garden, Longstock Water Gardens, Mottisfont Abbey, Abbey House Gardens, Bolehyde Manor, and Ridleys Cheer. The tour then moves on to London visiting West Green House and Upton Grey Manor on the way. Also included is an afternoon at Wisley, the Royal Horticultural Society's largest public garden. Once in London, you'll visit the spectacular Hampton Court Flower Show, which is now the world's largest annual gardening event! The tour runs from June 30-July 7, 2007. Click the link for more details.




Signs of Spring

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That's all until next month but in the meantime you can always look at my Blog Garden Supplies News

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