Sunday, June 24, 2012

One bug, two bug, bad bug, worker, bee.

Several summers ago, I bought a cold-hardy hibiscus plant from the Farmer's Market at 142nd Street in Ocean City, MD while on vacation. The next summer (2009), the plant didn't come back until almost mid-June. I'd started thinking the grower was wrong when he said the hibiscus would survive Pennsylvania winters. The next year, it came back at the end of May, In 2011, it emerged on May 19th. This year, I noticed it sprouting on May 17th. 

At this point in the season, this is what the plant should look like:

Mid- to late-June hibiscus (2011)
If you look at the 2011 photo, you'll notice a little leaf damage. I didn't think much of it. As the plant began to grow this year, there were some holes in the leaves. Again...I didn't think much of it. And then this happened:

Hibiscus on June 24, 2012
This damage happened within a matter of days! I am so sad. I did a little research and have figured out that it is hibiscus sawfly larvae that are feasting on my plant. It may be too late (although I certainly hope it isn't!), but Chris is going to treat the plant with Sevin insecticide tomorrow. I am really hopeful that we can salvage the plant. I will be really upset if I completely lose this hibiscus! It'll be an interesting few weeks as I wait to see if the plant can recover with a little Sevin help.

On a decidedly lighter note, I spent about 90 minutes weeding my hummingbird and butterfly garden while listening to the Sunday Polka Party on Q102. Not much tops that perky polka beat at keeping me motivated while I weed! I made short work of the weeds in the garden with our "Action Hoe." Chris bought it two years ago and it's our go-to tool when we have serious weeding to do. 

The Action Hoe - find it at a Lowe's or Home Depot near you!
Chris came outside to help me and spotted a worker bee on one of my purple coneflowers (which, by the way, have spread like crazy in the garden...much to my delight!). He ran into the house to grab his camera to snap a few pictures.

You can see the little specks of yellow pollen in the head of the coneflower.

The worker bee is on the backside of the head of the coneflower collecting pollen.

Look at the bee's back legs where the hair-like baskets for pollen are located...
this bee was loaded down with pollen!
The pollen that this bee will take back to the hive will be combined with the honey in the hive and used to feed the next generation of bees. With colony collapse disorder plaguing hives in recent years, it's encouraging to see honey bee activity in my hummingbird/butterfly garden. And right now, only mountain bluet and the coneflowers have bloomed. Once the balloon flowers and bee balm bloom, it should be bee-a-palooza and that will be A-OK with me!

While we were weeding this morning, Stewart - our resident bullfrog - was hanging out among the water lilies, which have begun blooming and adding color to the pond. 

Say "Hi" to Stewart!
Don't forget the contest I'm running (it ends Tuesday, June 26th at 8 PM). Details regarding the contest can be found in the "Better late than never..." post from last week. 

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