Tag Archives: japanese beetle


I turned 45 a few weeks ago.

That’s halfway to 90 which means the odds are stacked against me now if I want to say that half of my life still remains.

I know, I despise age complaints as much as you do. There’s always someone who can one up you or has been there before.

“You think that’s bad, I’m 63 and I have consistent pain in my …”

“Try being 76 with …”

“You have no idea what getting old means you son of a …”

My son turns 15 in a few days.

15 is scarily close to 16 which is the age where he is eligible to obtain his driver’s permit.

That’s some insane shit.

We moved into our current home in 2004.

My youngest child is currently 11 and if my math serves me correctly, she should be graduating from college in 2028.

My wife and I have talked about moving to the southern U.S soon after she finishes her schooling (fingers crossed for no medical school or graduate school, not that I wouldn’t be supportive but holy $$$$$ Batman).

That means we’re beyond the halfway point of residing in our current abode.

That means I’m beyond the half way point of composing my masterpiece of a garden.

Numbers are so stressful.

Here is where I now surprise you.

While the fear of my mortality has me up at night and seeking spiritual awakening and I’m genuinely missing the younger versions of my offspring, I love my fucking garden to pieces.

Seriously, no self-deprecation to follow.

It kicks ass and it’s all because of me.

It isn’t perfect and there’s much work to still do in order to obtain world domination, but I look at it right now and feel total fulfillment. It makes me smile. It moves me. It holds countless memories. It makes me mutter “Hell yeah” and it provides me with the perfect muse.

And to bring it all on home, I witnessed my wife utter these exact words as we strolled back to and within view of our home after a short walk last evening:

“Thank you for such a beautiful home.”

“It looks so lush.”

“It’s so not cookie cutter.”

Grab me a kerchief.  

The icing on the cake came courtesy of my daughter:

“I’ve never seen so many bees and butterflies in my life.”

It isn’t easy for me to speak so positively without a bit of snark but I’m going to do just that. The feeling may be fleeting and it may be due to the fact that I enjoyed some hemp oil with my coffee a few hours ago, but who cares. It’s here and now.

A few of my own observations from the weekend:

I finally understand the appeal of Blue Grama Grass (Bouteloua ‘Blonde Ambition’) with its flag-like flowers that add a fantastic “see-through” effect.



The Allium ‘Mt. Sinai’ is thriving like never before and seems cool with a rather wet soil. It also goes without saying that the deer never touch it.


The fading of the Astilbe flowers doesn’t take away from this section of ¬†garden and I could argue why it looks even better while in decline.


The late afternoon sun completely lights up this part of the garden.



While Veronica ‘First Love’ doesn’t blow you away, its long blooming period (6-8 weeks) makes it incredibly useful.


It wasn’t planned and I’ll never understand why, but the droves of japanese beetles that arrive in my garden this time of year, tend to congregate on one shrub (Dappled Willow or Salix) and inflict their damage there only.

I can deal with allowing them to go to town for a while and then cutting back the chewed up branches weeks later. It has become the sacrificial lamb.

I would ask that they get a room though when things get frisky.


The following pics celebrate all those who frequent the flowers and bring the garden to life, from morning to evening, all summer long.





A love and hate kinda thang – Part 2 – Bring on the Hate

As promised yesterday, today we examine the ugly underbelly of my gardens. It is real seedy (pun intended), sort of like what Times Square in NYC looked like pre-Rudy Giuliani.

So as a warning, it ain’t going to be pretty, but … just maybe you can find it in your heart to offer me your support and more importantly, specific advice so we all don’t have to witness this again.       

We’ll start things off nice so you can slowly take in all of the carnage to follow:

Awwww … a sleeping baby deer. How cute. Where the f is Ted Nugent when I need him? I kid, but the deer have now taken to napping right in the middle of the backyard and it makes me nervous. They are getting too comfortable.    

Stop acting all cute you little bastard. 

It’s like Dawn of the Dead with all the zombies slowly approaching with nothing other than destruction in mind.   

Speaking of destruction, as I mentioned yesterday, the deer literally ate off every single flower bud off of my precious Daylilies that are right next to my front steps. These blooms are otherworldly and they stole the dream from me. The front beds were typically off limits to the deer but they have crossed that line so time to put some sort of plan into action.    

Yeah Aphids! They haven’t really damaged the Asclepias Incarnata (Swamp Milkweed) but they are covering all three plants. The interesting thing is that there are also ladybugs on these plants so I figure, for now, to let nature take its course. Good idea? Or do I hose them all off?      

Nice, right? I really know how to grow ’em. We had a severe drought so that explains some of it but this Ilex ‘Blue Princess’ was planted at the exact same time as the one below which looks OK.

Go figure.

This is the interior of a Phlox ‘David’ and this happens almost every year. The leaves brown up from the ground and work their way up the plant. From my research, it appears to be from some sort of fungi that splashes on the plant from rainfall or watering. Oh really, these f’ers haven’t seen much rain the past few months. Doesn’t appear to be powdery mildew either which is the Phlox biggest nightmare. I need answers.  

Like a hot dog, I am on a roll …. with destruction that is. Another Ilex, this one is ‘Bennetts Compact’ that decided to just give up and let herself go. Any possibility this is due to the fact that it is planted near the foundation? Two of the three I planted two months ago look just like this. It is an awesome view when you walk up my front steps to enter the house. “He must have a green thumb” (wink wink).        

I found these two lifeless Japanese Beetles piled on top of each other on the Basil. They are either deceased from overindulging or they just finished enjoying each other and were too much in the “afterglow” to be able to move. Seriously, how do I handle these guys? The “drop them in soapy water” thing means they have already done damage.

Yum! I have red tomatoes but they appear to be falling off the vine too soon before they can develop. 

The browning of the foliage on the Dwarf Alberta Spruce has me mildly concerned (considering all else going on) and I am hoping it is a temporary blip. Do I cut it out or let things correct themselves? 

Finally, similar to the Phlox, the Rudbeckia are getting black spot on the lower leaves with them all eventually  browning and falling off. They are blooming just fine but some just look nasty up close and pulling off the dead leaves feels like a hopeless task. Good times!

Hopefully I’ve made you all feel better about your own gardens or hopefully we can all learn something from my intelligent readers, so we can be more proactive in the future. All of you who provide feedback (even if you laugh at me) will be rewarded handsomely in a future post.