Monday, August 24, 2009

The Quilt Gardens

This past weekend I visited several of the Quilt Gardens in Northern Indiana. The gardens are located in the towns of Elkhart, Middlebury, Shipshewana, Goshen, Nappanee and Wakarusa. The gardens are designed to look like quilt patterns and are planted with lots of flowers. The gardens have around 80,000 annual flowers that are planted to make up the designs.
The Center Diamond Quilt - This garden is 40 x 60 feet in size and contains 7,728 flowers. The flowers are white and pink Begonias, Marigolds and Lobelias. It took 7 people, 84 hours over two days to plant the garden.

If you would like to visit the Quilt Gardens or see more pictures visit their web site at
Happy Gardening!
The Creative Gardener

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Euonymus Scale in the Garden

When I am gardening this is one plant that I find in many gardens. The plant is euonymus and it is used as a evergreen ground cover. It seems that every time I find this plant I find scales on it. Scales attach themselves to the plant and suck sap from the plant. The white spots on the first picture are the male scales and the brown spots are female. The females spend the winter on the plant and in the spring lays their eggs. From the eggs hatch the young called "crawlers". The crawlers are able to move around on the plant until they attach themselves and start feeding on the plant. The young develop a shell over their bodies and continue to grow as they feed. The female lays her eggs underneath her shell.

Most people do not realize they have scale until the plant is badly infected. The scales are normally under the leaves and hard to spot. The best thing to do is inspect your euonymus during the growing season for signs of scales and if you find them, treat it early. There are volick oil sprays and systemic insect controls available to kill scale. You may have to treat the plant several times. Scale is not easy to get rid of in the garden. Discard any cutting that have scales on them to the trash can for disposal and not in the compost to prevent spreading. Euonymus scale is found all over the United States.

Look for yellow spotting on the leaves

Branches often die and the plant can be killed

Happy Gardening!

The Creative Gardener

Sunday, August 2, 2009

That's a BIG Caterpillar

Today I was doing some garden work when I spotted this caterpillar. He was nearly 5 inches long and one of the biggest I have ever seen. The caterpillar is a cecropia moth in it's larval stage. A cecropia moth is the largest moth in North America and rarely seen during the day since it is active at night. A cecropia has a 5 to 6 inch wing span. As a moth, their life span is about two weeks. The reason for the short life span is because they do not eat. Their purpose is to mate and lay eggs. Females emit a pheromone scent that can attract a male cecropia from a mile away. The male can sense the pheromone with it's antennae. A female cecropia moth can lay around 100 eggs on the undersides of leaves. It takes 1-2 weeks for the eggs to hatch. During the larval stage the caterpillars eat and molt many times till they reach the size of the one in the picture above. In late summer, the caterpillar will spin a cocoon and wait for the next spring to emerge. Cecropias are not pest in the garden and are more often the meal to other animals or insects. They can have a large appetite as they develop and grow in size during the larval stage. Their favorite food are the leaves of alder, beech, plum, maple, white oak, popular, willow, lilac, gooseberry, ash, birch, cherry, box elder, dogwood and elm trees.

Happy Gardening!

The Creative Gardener

'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...