Monday, October 14, 2013

Big Leaf Hostas

I grow hostas in all sizes, shapes and colors. Like most people, I have lots of the small, medium and large hostas growing in my garden. If you want a hosta that will really get the attention of garden visitors or have that 'WOW' factor, try growing the really BIG hostas. Yes, they do take up lots of space in the garden, but they are show stoppers. The hosta in the picture above is H. 'Sum and Substance'. It grows in a mound shape and the average size is about 31 inches tall and 70 inches wide. The leaf size is about 16 long to 14 inches wide.
H. 'Final Summation'

Some of my other favorite big leaf hostas are H. 'Empress Wu', H. 'Key West' and H. 'Blue Mammoth'. I grow tropical plants in containers and I like to mix the containers into the beds with these large leafed hostas for that tropical look. It does give a feel of a lush tropical garden.

When growing the really big hostas, remember it will take 5 to 6 years to get them to their full size. The wait will be worth it when you see just how huge the leaves can get. Give it a try in your garden and you will be hearing 'WOW' from your garden visitors.

Happy Gardening!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Invasion

For the last week, we have had stink bugs appearing on our patio door, late in the day, and on a daily bases. I really had not paid much attention as to what type of stink bug that they happened to be. Yesterday I received an email from the Marion County Extension Office asking all the Master Gardeners if they had seen this stink bug. I decided to check out our new visitors and I took a picture of one and sent it to the Marion County Extension Office here in Indiana for confirmation. This morning my confirmation was that it was a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug or BMSB.

This insect is an invasive from Japan, Korea and China. It was first reported in Pennsylvania in 1998 and since that time they have been found in other eastern states and they are spreading.
The Brown Marmorated Stick Bug can be found in the fall looking for a warm place (like your house) to stay for the winter. They will not damage your home, but they are a nuisance in the house because when disturbed they release a pungent chemical odor that smells like "cilantro" and they also fly around inside your home. Where this insect is a problem is what they do to our fruit and vegetable crops. They damage produce by feeding on a variety of plants like fruit crops, corn, soybeans, select vegetables and ornamental plants. Their feeding on fruits and vegetables produces small spots, misshapen fruit and makes the product unmarketable.
If you think you have seen this insect, you need to identify it correctly, because there are many other types of stink bugs or insects that look similar to the BMSB. Look for two light colored bands on the antennae (see top photo). It has a marbled gray and brown top and a lighter color on the underside (see bottom photo). The abdomen on the BMSB extends past the wings and you will see what looks like light colored triangles on the sides of the insect. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug has one small tooth along the thorax that is directly behind the eye area.
How do you control them? I would suggest that you contact your County Extension Agent on what would work the best for you if you are a farmer with crops or a  homeowner being invaded with them. I only have a few and a bucket of soapy water will be my choice at this time.
Happy Gardening!
If you are a garden writer and would like to use my photos of this insect for writing an article, please feel free to use them.
I took both photos and we can all help to inform others about the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. Please contact me if you would like to use the photos at

'Golden Shadows' Pagoda Dogwood

Years ago, I purchased a very small tree that was only 6 to 8 inches tall. It was a 'Golden Shadows' Pagoda Dogwood. It had beau...