Garden pest identification. Daylily Hemerocallis gall midge.

June 23, 2008

Garden pest, Hemerocallis gall midge

Hemerocallis gall midge infestation

Day lilies – Hemerocallis species and cultivars have a parasitic pest called the Gall midge Contarinia quinquenotata

It’s been gradually spreading through the UK since 1989.

There is no control for the pest other than picking off the infected flower buds and destroying them.

Don’t put them in the compost bin as they will pupate and emerge next year.

Daylilies Hemerocallis gall midge pest I put the infected buds on a table in the sun thinking that this would kill the larvae but instead the maggots wriggled out and went into early pupation.

Garden pest, Hemerocallis gall midge

 Burning the buds is the sure way of destroying these maggots. 

 Contarinia quinquenotata

The adult fly is tiny and lays hundreds of eggs in the developing flower buds.  The white maggots grow to about 2-3mm. When ready to pupate the larvae crawl out of the flower bud and fall to the ground where they bury themselves in the soil, pupate, then emerge as adults flies the following year.

Photography By Neil Bromhall Complete Gardens Advice CD-ROM Ltd

Keeping slugs and snails off your hostas

June 22, 2008

Hosta in containerOne way to keep slugs and snails off your hostas is to grow them in containers.

Put gravel around the base of the container and another layer around the plants.

A simple method and it works quite well without the use of slug pellets.

The gravel around the base of the hosta helps keep the roots cool and prevent moisture loss

Sell by dates on grow bags

June 20, 2008

Tomato after a couple of weeks in a grow bagI think that grow bags should have sell by dates.

It’s very frustrating that once you’ve grown your prize seedling and plant it in a grow bag that it writhers and dies because of old mouldy content of a grow bag.

I know that garden centres need to make a profit, but the whole purpose of a grow bag is to grow plants. Food items have sell by dates – so how about grow bags.

 This tomato plant was healthy when grown in a pot but became weak after a couple of weeks in a grow bag

I’m interested in your comments

Keeping your garden interesting isn’t difficult or expensive if you choose the right plants.

June 18, 2008

Adding colour and texture plants will keep your garden looking interesting at different times of the year and individual. It’s not difficult or expensive; it’s just knowing which plants to choose.

Ideally gardens should have some plants of interest at different times of the year rather than have a splash of colour in spring and then not much for the rest of the year.

There are so many plants to choose from which suit every colour, height, aspect and season.


I use shrubs to give my garden year round shape and colour and then position plants which come into flower, leaf colour, bark, berry or texture to add interest at intervals throughout the year.


Some plants are small plants for the front of the border like the viola ‘Bowles Black and iris reticulata ‘Pixie’

small plant with black flowers



small spring flower


Some have colourful flowers like the Arisaema colourful flower or the Aloe Aloe


Some have leaf colour like this Acer Attractive leaves 

Some add texture Cordyline australis

Plants for the shade

Plants to attract butterflies Echinacea

Deep ‘blacks’ to dainty whites Black flowers   Dainty white flowers


I’ve designed a simple MAC & PC garden plant CD-Rom to help you find plants by colour, aspect, height and month to suit every garden aspect and seasonal need.

It’s not expensive and can help you create a beautiful garden using the right plants to suit your garden conditions. The latest garden software version has 3,500 plants and over 9,000 photographs. Each plant is accompanied with plant care and illustrated pruning advice.

Identifying weeds with their roots

June 10, 2008

I will be adding more garden weeds that you might come across in your garden.  I’ve included their roots to help you with your weed identification


Bramble seedling

Bramble seedling


Fat Hen allotment weed  Fat Hen Chenopodium Fat Hen root. Weed identificationNipplewort Lapsana communis

Red Deadnettle Lamium purpureum

Short-fruited Willow Herb Epilobium obscurum

Smooth Cat’s-ear Hypochaeris glabra

Wood Cran’s bill Geranium sylvaticum

Wood Avens Geum urbanum

Sycamore Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus


Walnut Juglans regia Walnut Juglans regia

White dead-nettleWhite dead-nettle Lamium album Lamium album Lamium album flowers

Garden weedHairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta Hairy Bittercress

Elderflower cordial recipe

June 9, 2008

Elderflower cordial Now (June) is the perfect time to pick elder flowers to make Elderflower corial. Best not pick flowers close to a road or railway track due to pollution.

Pick the flowers when they’ve opened i.e still with lots of pollen. Flowers that have not opened or have passed over do not give good flavour.


Cut 30 heads of elderflowers into a large sterilised bowl or bucket, add 2 sliced lemons (non waxed ones) and 1.5 kg of Sugar, mixed with 50g citric acid (you can buy this from the chemist). Pour on 1.5 litre of boiling water and leave for 5 days to mature, stirring everyday. Elderflowers and lemon


Then strain with a seive to seperate the juice. Elderflower cordial straining juice   Elderflower collecting concentrate 

and pour into clean and sterilised bottles. Pour the Elderflower in to bottles


The Elderflower cordial concentrate can be kept in screw top bottles for about a year. The 30 flower heads made this much cordial Home made elderflower cordail


Serve mixed with sparkling water, slices of lemon and ice – delicious

Fragrant Plants

June 5, 2008


Here are some sugestions for fragrant plants:-



Madam Isaac Pereire. Pink flower.      Trained on walls and Fence

Scented rose Margaret Merril Margaret Merrii          White               Sunny position H 3ft. Flowers in summer

 Alec’s Red                               Red                  Tea Rose                                3ft 90cm

                                                                        Flowers in summer

New Dawn                               Pale pink          Climbing Rose slightly shaded 10ft 3m

                                                                        Flowers from summer to late autumn

Rosa Zephirine Drouhin           Pink                  Summer into autumn                            

                                                                       Prone to disease. Has no thorns



Erysimum cheiri                        Orange


Mrs Sinkins                              white                Flowers mid summer. Take cuttings to replace old every few years. Height 10in 25cm

 Hedychium gardnerianum          Yellow             Flowers in summer. Container plant, large.Ht 7ft 2.1m Sheltered position. Overwinter inside.

 Euphorbia mellifera                                           Honey scented. Late spring. Evergreen foliage. Hardy Ht. 6ft 1.8m

 Viola Maggie Mott’                                          Sweet perfume.  Early Summer. Take cuttings to replace old plants. Ht. 6ins 15cm.


Wisteria Sinensis                                               Flowers in early summer. Sunny wall

                                                                        Ht. 30ft 9m


Armandii                                  White               Flowers early spring. Almond scented

                                                                        Warm wall. Evergreen. Only prune if necessary Ht. 10ft 3m


Lonicera japonica ‘Halliana’      white & yellow.  Summer flowering. Ht.30ft 9m

 Trachelospermum jasminoides. White    Summer flowering. Sweet scented. Evergreen with a reddish tinge in winter. Slow growing

                                                Slightly tender protect from frost.

 Lathyrus odoratus

Sweet pea                                multi colours     Annual. Summer flowering.

                                               sow seeds early in the year                   


Mahonia x media ‘Charity’        Yellow             Flowers in Autumn/Winter lily –of-the-valley scent. Ht 15ft 4.5m

Buddleja ‘Lochinch’                 Violet-blue       Flowers from July into late September Sweet scented vanilla & chocolate. Ht 10ft 3m

                                                Prune hard in March

 Elaeagnus x ebbingei ‘Gilt Edge’         small white flowers. Autumn. Boldly variegated evergreen leaves  

                                                         Ht. 12ft 3.6m

 Choisya ternate

Mexican orange blossom          white    Flowering in late spring. Evergreen. Does well in shade. Ht 8ft 2.4m

 Mahonia aquifolium

‘Apollo’ Oregan grape              Yellow             Glossy, holy-like leaflets. Abundance of lily-of-the-valley scented yellow flowers in spring, followed by grape-like purple berries. Ht 1m spread 1.5m

 Rhododendron luteum               Golden Yellow Early Summer flowering.

                                                Leaves turn warm orange and russet shades in late autumn. Ht.12ft 3.6m

 Azara microphylla                     Yellow             Winter flowering. Vanilla-scented. Evergreen. Best in milder climate Ht 30ft. 9m

Skimmia japonica

‘Rubella’                                  Dense red buds in autumn and winter.   Spring flowering. Lily-of-the-valley scented.

                                                Males have the larges most scented white blooms. Ht 1m

Skimmia japonica                     Dense red buds in autumn and winter.   Spring flowering. Lily-of-the-valley scented.

                                                Males have the largest most scented white blooms. Ht 1m


Lavandula ‘Sawyers’                Lavender          Late summer flowering. Resinous aroma

                                                Grows best in sandy soils. Full sun  Ht 3ft 90cm           

 Rosmarinus officinalis                blue                  Spring flowering. Evergreen Ht 5ft 1.5m

 Laurus noblis                            none                 Bay Laurel. Leaves used to add flavour to stews. Can grow into a tree, but can be clipped into a standard. Ht 30ft. 9m

Thymus vulgaris                        colour?             Summer flowering. Loved by bees. Ht 6ins 15cm

Mentha spicata

Mint                                         None                Used to flavour food & Mint Tea. Can be grown in pots. Sunny position,

Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’

Bronze Fennel                          small cluster of yellow flowers. Aniseed scent. Attractive spike feathery Purple Green leaves. Ht 6 ½ ft 2m Good at the back of borders together with eryngiums or lavender.

                                                Helps to relieve flatulence, promote sleep and help nursing mothers to produce milk. However we do not know if this has been proved.


‘Chocolate Peppermint’                 minty aroma. Ht 2ft. 60cm.

Cercidiphyllum japonica                Canyfloss aroma given off by orange and yellow falling leaves in autumn.  Ht 70ft 21m

Aloysia triphylla                        none          sherbert lemon scent. Warm sunny position against a warm wall. Ht 10ft 3m


Convallaria majalis ‘Albostriata’

Lily of the Valley                       white bells        Sweet scented. Perennial creeping rhizomes. Shady position. Can cope with a dry soil but mulching with compost or leaf-mould in autumn will improve the growing conditions.


Iris graminea                             blue with stripes            Stewed plum scented. Summer flowering.  Divide clumps occasionally in spring. Ht 16ins 40cm

 Iris ‘Pauline’                             mauve                fruity scent. Winter flowering. Plant bulbs in early autumn. Ht 6ins 15cm

Galanthus ‘S Arnott

Snowdrop                                white with green tip       Honey fragrance. Late winter early spring flowering. Ht 8ins 20cm.

Freesia                                     Golden Yellow Queen of fragrance. Plant bulbs outdoors in late spring in a sheltered spot in full sun. Ht 16ins 40cm.

Crinum x powellii                      Pink                             Sweetly scented trumpet shaped flowers. Late summer flowering.  Plant in damp fertile soils. Ht 5ft 1.5m

Lilium regale                             White with yellow center           Extravagant scented trumpet shaped flower. Mid summer flowering. Likes a rich soils Ht 5ft 1.5m

Lilium longiflorum

‘White American’                     knockout perfume.

Cardiocrinum giganteum            white       Exotic trumpet shaped flowers. Very tall and will look stunning at the back of a border. Ht 10ft 3m

Narcissus papyraceuis              white       Early spring flowering. Can be planted on pots and grown indoors on a sunny window-sill. Plant them shallowly in pots Ht 14ins 35cm

Cyclamen repandum                 Pink flowers and silver-splashed leaves. Sweetly scented. Dappled shady position. Ht 4ins 10cm

Gladiolus callianthus

Gladioli                                     white with maroon (purple) center  Sweet scented. Summer – Autumn flowering.            Plant corms 4-5ins deep in spring in a sunny well drained soil. They look good planted  between grasses and herbaceous perennials. Best to lift and dry corms and store in a frost-free place until the following spring. However they can survive the winter in the driest, mildest places, but it’s agamble.

The interactive plant advice CD-ROM – both PC & MAC compatible has 3,500 UK garden plants to choose from