Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Good and the Bad

I'm linking with Tracie at Fishtail Cottage for Cottage Flora Thursday.
There's always good things and bad things in the garden; beautiful blossoms and pretty butterflies, pests and disease.
Our 'Minnesota Snowflake' mock orange gets oodles of black aphids on the new growth every year and by the time the ants harvest their honeydew, the shrub looks like the top is covered in black soot.  The leaves are curled over and it's not very appealing.
But the good guys girls come to the rescue.  They start out as little yellow football shaped eggs.
I cannot claim this photo although I wish it were mine, it's from the internet a long time ago when needed for a presentation I did. (The rest of the photos are my own)
The eggs hatch into little long larvae that kind of resemble alligators.
And, the more aphids they eat, the bigger they get and more colourful.  But this is as big as they get.
From this stage they curl into a ball on a leaf and change into a ladybug to start the process all over again.  Like a butterfly, they must wait until their wings harden so will hide under a leaf so as not to become dinner for a passing birdie.
How do I know these things?  I check the garden almost every day for insect activity and the first time I saw this stage, I thought it was a dead ladybug that had turned to mush.
The serviceberry trees in the front and back become the biggest picnic area for birds and squirrels when the fruit is ripe.
Aren't the masked cedar waxwings a handsome bird?
This year there's not much jostling going on for the berries because something bad has happened.  It starts like this..
And ends up looking like this...
A nasty spore called cedar rust which was on a juniper at the front in spring has spread to the berries.  Who would want to eat this?
I can't end on a bad note though and want to show you what fellow garden writer Donna Dawson ( sent me.  Donna has just returned from Italy and was kind enough to think of me when she took this photo.
A beautiful butterfly on lavender...thank you Donna!


  1. Your masked cedar waxwing IS a handsome bird! That photo is marvelous! It looks like a perfect choice to add a greeting card sentiment to. So exciting that you saw him in person! Thanks for the informative post about the ladybug - I never knew that!

  2. The Waxwing is gorgeous. Don't recall ever seeing one here in Ohio.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  3. Hi Judith...I havent been by in so lovely to see you relam again..Happy Summer to you! Your blog looks the lavender backdrop and magical is that!! beautiful job!

    Your cedar waxwing is beautiful! Great bug shots..yes sometimes it is challening having pests! yesterday i happened along one of my rose buds..that had a hole drilled in it seemingly..have you ever seeen that or know what kind of bug would make a hole through a rose? hmm!! Intersting!

    Wishing you a beautiful summer and enjoy your magical space..and happy gardening!

  4. Hello, Judith.
    It is a beautiful and interesting post!
    How handsome the masked cedar waxwing is! I have never seen that beautiful bird in person.Your garden is wonderful. It looks like there are always new creations to find!
    Thank you for sharing your garden!
    With smile! Have a nice weekend!

  5. Everything has its place in the universe but it's sometimes hard to reconcile that with the destruction that our less favoured beasties can wreak.

  6. Employing diversity in the garden does have its downsize when the bugs eat your beautiful plants and shrubs. Rose shafers have been my nemesis again. I have tried spraying the foliage with a mixture of Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap and water to some success. They do not like the smell or the taste. V

  7. Especially in the garden, there is time for everything isn't there? Your blog is so interesting and I learn new facts often. I simply love the butterfly with the lavender. So glad your friend sent that to you and you wanted to share it with us. Blessings.

  8. Hi Judith,
    Great showing of the ladybugs life:-) Love that waxwing shot, they are beautiful birds, we only get them for a day or so a year as they check for cherries and decide there are better crops elsewhere:-)

  9. Very handsome bird. I once had all the young ladybugs and thought they were some sort of BAD bug until I discovered what they were. Then I was happy to leave them alone to grow and multiply. I always enjoyed sharing the life cycles of living animals and plants with my first graders. ♥♫

  10. Interesting post Judith. I've never heard of cedar rust but it looks kind of gross. And, I didn't know that fact about ladybugs and how they grow. Thanks for the info. Your photos are beautiful! Pamela

  11. LOVED your pictures! and I can relate to the aphids and ""LOVE"" the lady bugs! When I plant tomatoes I drop one clove of garlic in the hole before placing in the tomato plant and NO APHIDS!!! It really works, I wonder if we planted garlic NEAR something that is prone to aphids if it would work?
    Thank you for visiting my "Land of Blog" I was SO happy to have your company!
    Have a wonderful week,

  12. I wish we had waxwings – they are beautiful! Fascinated by the ladybug photos – thanks so much for sharing. I saw one yesterday in the garden but it's quite unusual. I've bought them when needed for aphids but they mostly blow away. :)

    We have rust problems on some of our fruit trees – such a shame.

    Wishing you a fantastic weekend, Judith. – g

  13. Thanks so much for linking up to Cottage Flora Thursday's! enjoyed seeing the growth of the ladybugs. xoxo, tracie

  14. It's sad to see one's plants attacked by pests, it happened to me too ;-(
    I enjoyed your narrative and pictures about ladybugs. And that bird is so beautiful, great photo!

  15. Judith: This post is quite educational! These are issues that only expert gardeners would know and very helpful! I love that bird - lately the nasty Ravines have been coming every morning screaming loudly. I squirt them with the water hose. I am sure neighbors think I am crazy! The ladybug information was most interesting!

  16. Great photos -- I so enjoy seeing the life of a ladybug! I did not know all of that! Thanks!

  17. What great photos - especially the bird - just lovely. I listened to a program on CBC not to long ago - all about using ladybugs to control aphids. It was so interesting and even more so now that I've seen your photos.

  18. Hi Judith, Great photos! I did not know about the various stages of the ladybug life cycle. You got really good pictures and I appreciate the education. I need to familiarize myself more with insects so that I know if its a good guy or a bad guy when I see it on a plant. I do have earthworms in my compost - and also a toad living in my compost. Thanks for your comments about dishwater, tea water and tea bags. I do compost my tea bags and loose tea also. Have a great week! We're in for another storm - it is 6 pm and getting very dark and the thunder is rumbling.
    Blessings, Beth


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