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