Whether you are building your own garden and have a list of plants in mind or simply recreating a part of your garden and require only the finest plants sourced and selected specifically for your home.
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This is an odd one. A message came in follwed by an email with three photographs [the first 3 – see below – the rest followed shortly after] of what I was told was the tent caterpillar. Which is correct-ish. But not, because the the [eastern] tent caterpillar moth Malacosoma americanum is from [eastern] North America.
That said we weren’t far off the mark. What we have [because I know Donal Conaty lives in Ireland – because his phone number starts with 087 😀 ], is the webber moth. This comes from varying caterpillars one of which is the Malacosomaneustria. Not that far apart 😯 In short what we have are two Donegans – one is simply my long lost brother. Does that make sense….? [the webber moths also include the euproctis chrysorrhoea/ dichomeris marginella/ Yponomeuta sp.]
So these moths [the caterpillars or ugly butterflies of that is…] can affect any tree or shrub, although they have a particular likening for fruit trees, willow, cotoneaster and crataegus to name a few. What they do is very simple to see from Donals images, they cover the entire area of planting with a web.
The problem for any plant affected by a caterpillar is that the leaves are eaten… Loss in leaf means a reduction in photosynthesis and therefore a loss in production or – more important for any plant is it chances of reproduction. In fruit trees in particular and moreso of importance to me and you – it simply means less fruit. And of course it looks ghastly.
The control is quite simple. Remove the web. Remove the caterpillar. Some say careful pruning but I have seen infestations – like a scene from Wuthering Heights – in my time and a garden rake would be more appropriate in some scenes, to start with. My theory for ‘problems’ such as white fly and caterpillars is always wishy washy liquid and a sponge and in this case by hand first. I may go select pruning if its necessary afterwards. In Donals case I know there are over 100 trees affected and spraying with a pyrethrum based biological control may be the choice.
If you are asking for a name of a product – I haven’t a clue what trade names garden centres have them marketed under and they change regularly enough – just bring them this post and tell them I said call me if they [he says jokingly] need any more information 😉
And what an end to November and a start to the month it has been…
Firstly to those affected in any way by the adverse weather conditions…. my sincerest best wishes to you all, I hope it sorts itself out as soon as possible. To those who chose to stand up to the Green Party politicos [especially on RTE’s The frontline yesterday] more concerned with defending the amount of action groups who solve extreme weather conditions by sitting at a round table…. I applaud you. I also think Fionn has a point…
But thats another days work…. and on to Gardens we go…. well, as best as is feasably possible….
You see gardening is a funny business. It’s not a subject that one can put off. The elements maybe against the preferred conditions – but if [for example] the bulbs aren’t planted in the garden this December… it’s now spring 2011 before you will see them pop up… you follow? If you put it off last month…. you’d better get them wellies on or be a very fancy dancer – one that can dodge rain droplets 😉
Despite the weather, I’ve still been working out there. You heard me 😆 It has to be done.
first up is hedge cutting – some prefer to do it in the summer…. but if you have something like the forsythia which flowers on bare stems in and then goes into leaf – you’d be mad not to. Some say the best time is…blah blah blah 😉 I say, this when I’m doing my crataegus and my fagus. Its also when I’ve been cutting others escallonia… get the rakes, secateurs and the lopping shears out and go for it.
It is also a time for more select pruning. Maybe in this case the hedgecutters maybe a little too harsh. In this category I would add the removal of suckering growth – see the difference in leaves on the Corkscrew hazel [corylus avellana contorta – first image] ; the pruning back of smaller plants that have been let go a little – in this case the likes of the helichrysum [second image above – and similar in habit to lavender]; and also the pruning by hand saw of branches that have become a little elongated – almost tree like when it should appear as a shrub. Moreso, it is also to do with good garden hygiene.
But the biggest gig that most may possibly forget is the fact that it is tree planting season. The season when dormant and mostly native Irish trees get to go in the ground in their over wintering state. If you are looking for some ideas and names of, see this post on Irelands favourite native trees which can be planted now – I said now !!! Don’t forget the straps, buckles and tree stakes.
If you have existing trees – check the straps and buckles aren’t choking the trees – if they are – remove or loosen them.
Regarding your lawn…. you may get a cut in before the Christmas. Once again, the ye olde garden fraternity may suggest this is the wrong time – which is perfectly fine if it is the local croquet club… but if you are my Dad… well, you’ll be picking up the phone and telling asking me when am I getting my butt over to the house to cut that grass.
After that – the bird feeders still need filling, the shed needs to be painted and I’ll guess you never did the new-ish garden furniture last month ….well don’t say I didn’t tell you 🙄
If you take my advice – sure get it all sorted – then go and buy some instant colour in the form of winter planters, window boxes and hanging baskets. Really brighten the place up…. God knows you deserve it. Now all you need to do is to go and get that Christmas tree 😉
Whatever you do and if you are doing it yourself… stay warm, dry and be careful. If you are getting the gardeners [at least for me anyways…!] in…. put the kettle on and give ’em a nice cuppa and a mince pie. If ever I wondered what a kite must go through…. recently is the closest I’ve ever come to realising it 😆 Oh and in case I forget…. do enjoy 🙂
They were however planted as a smaller species [you’ll see them in the images below in sand in a liner similar to a 1 litre pot]. Once again and yet again to say I was blown away when I saw them over the 6′ tall mark is an understatement. They are magnificient.
The beaucarnea, nolinaceae, are a genus of about 30 species of evergreen trees and shrubs. This variety, the B. recurvata, is commonly known as the ponytail palm. The leaves can grown to 6′ tall, the plant itself can grow up to 8metres in height and 4 metres wide. It does produce flowers through the summer time, but alas I think I’ll have to hope that one day I may see that in person…. For the moment, it is still an absoolute stunner… 😉
I have seen these guys before… but they are very much a rarity, in Ireland anyway and moreso in such abundance.
The Leucospernum, commonly known as the pincushion, Protaeaceae, is a genus of about 47 species of evergreen shrubs. What is amazing about this plant is that it grows to about 1.5 meters tall and wide and in South Africa.
It’s recommended use…. as a hedge… 😯 can you imagine that in Ireland !! The best thing after that… it’s widely used for cut flowers.
In case you may get confused… the L. cordifolium do grow, generally to about 2 metres tall, its leaves are about 8cm and the spherical flowerheads to about about 12cm. The little pins are known as styles. It also prefers an acid soil.
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