Give beneficial bugs a welcome home in your garden so that they will be ready to dine on any bugs that damage your prized perennials.
For the Bees
Honey Bees are suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder as a result of unsustainable practices by humans and overuse of pesticides. Honey Bees need to maintain a certain number population in order to survive, and they need all the help they can get right now. Plant drought-tolerant, flowering plants like lavender, echinacea, speedwell, geraniums, coreopsis, dianthus, black-eyed susans, delosperma, dicentra, salvia, columbine, day lilies, phlox, borage, or yarrow, to name a few ideas.
Peonies just begin to emerge from the ground in spring while spring bulbs are in full force, sprouting up like reddish asparagus spears. This makes them great filler for bulb beds, taking over with dark green foliage and full-headed blooms in late May.
Peonies hate being moved, so they will not bloom the first season after you have planted them. Expect blooms the second season, and more and more blooms the following seasons.
Favorite Summer Gardening Tool:
The Weed Puller
Summer Conservation Tip:
Use a rain barrel to collect runoff water from a down spout for garden watering. You can build a DIY with supplies from the hardware store, or you can get fancy and order decorative ones, even off of Amazon.
The "V-ed" end of this tool centers around the weed you're pulling, and the long shaft gives you more torque to pull out deep, stubborn roots, including dandelions.
Gardening Entomology Corner:
Rhinocapsus vanduzeei Uhler,
aka: Azalea Plant Bug
Love-Hate relationship: These little beneficial bugs are nasty biters. Be sure to cover up when you garden around their habitats (azaleas & raspberry bushes).
Before you get frustrated from their painful and itchy bites and try a mass killing, keep in mind they eat off a lot of bad bugs: azalea lace bugs, white flies, leafhoppers, aphids, small flies, thrips, fall armyworm, azalea leafminers, and two-spotted spidermites.
Ladybug (Lady beetle) Life Cycle:
Ladybugs have four distinct stages in their lives: egg, larva, pupa, adult. Take a look at the photo above so you can identify these beneficial bugs at all stages of life in your garden.
Summer Reading (and Doing)
Preserve summer's bounty to enjoy during the cold months by canning. Check out Marisa McClellan's food in jars for some really delicious recipes.
Beat the heat with a lot of help from your plants. Plant perennials to cut back on water needed, water in the mornings with your rain barrel water, water deeply and less often, and enjoy the shade cast by your own garden variety oxygen providers. This is when vegitation is fully leafed out and producing most. Ideally, your summer plants should fill in the gaps left by your spring bulbs.
Scroll through for more summer gardening tips.