This morning when I stopped at our local Mathis Ace Hardware ( you know the jingle "Ace is the place with the helpful hardware - man" - er person) I needed a cure for my peonies - they haven't bloomed yet and I planted them years ago. Someone told me they need Oyster shells - I wasn't able to find any. (If any one has any ideas I'd be pleased as punch to hear them. I do have plenty of ants so that isn't the problem) Picture of Lady Bug and aphids on fennel
But speaking of ants they are a problem in another way. Every insect has a benefit - such as the need for ants to help open peony blooms. however, Ants do pose a problem in that they "farm" aphids -- aphids can mean disaster for your glads or roses. So whats a person to do? You could import some Lady Bugs - they have a special appetite for them. (not the asian beetle please, but the real Lady Bug)
A women next to me in the insecticide - fertilizer isle was searching for rose dust to kill the aphids and things bothering her roses.
I had a solution for her - since she seemed to prefer organic, but was desperate. We could use the lady bugs (we have many around here. They didn't seem to be doing their job) or at least something safe for pets, birds, people. My solution for pests is Mrs. Murphy's Oil Soap. I mix it with water in a spray bottle - about 1/8 to a 1/4 cup to a quart of water and mist my plants until the leaves drip. I've used it to get rid of the bugs in my grapevines, the bean and squash bugs. It works to spray it around my back door to keep asian beetles and box alder bugs from coming in everytime the door opens. It's a wonderful product and doesn't hurt the environment.
I love finding solutions to my gardening problems that can help others and not harm beneficial critters or people. If anyone knows a reason why my 10 year old transplanted Peonies are not blooming though - I'd appreciate a note. Thank you!