July 7, 2017

It's Japanese Beetle Time Again

by Toni Leland
Oriental Beetle

I saw two Oriental Beetles in the garden this morning, and that means the Japanese Beetles are imminent. After competing with the Gypsy Moth caterpillars for my roses and maple trees, I'm not looking forward to the next battle.

Japanese Beetle
Japanese Beetles (Popillia japonica) are difficult to deal with, and prevention should be combined with physical management. Understanding these insects helps property owners decide how to proceed. University of Connecticut's fact sheet is a good start.

According to UConn, the best time to spread grub control is in mid-July; this will kill the newly-hatched grubs in August as they begin to feed on the roots of turf grass. Many folks use grub control in the spring, but the documentation says that it is less effective due to the depth of the maturing grubs. Homeowners will need to read the literature to formulate a decision.

Physical management is the only thing that has worked for me in the past few years. Knowing which plants and shrubs on my property are magnets for these beasts gives me a plan of attack. As mentioned above, when the Oriental Beetles (Anomala orientalis) emerge, I start watching for the first Japanese Beetle.

In the past, I've had success with draping gauze over my roses and ornamental laceleaf maples. The beetles emerge from the ground and fly around, looking for food. They do not crawl up into shrubs, therefore the gauze is a good foil. Of course, this is not feasible for mature trees.

For plants such as daylilies and other attractions, my morning routine is a stroll around the gardens, hand-picking the beetles into a container of soapy water. It's tedious, but it works!

Sometime in early August, I'll start seeing these adult beetles with tiny white spots on the back of their heads. These beetles have been parasitized by tachinid flies. This natural predator is welcome in my garden anytime, and when I come across a beetle that has been used as a fly nursery, I leave it alone. All those white spots will hatch into more tachinid flies and the cycle continues.

Isn't Nature grand?

Read on for more than you probably ever wanted to know!

July 1, 2017

Newport Flower Show 2017

by Toni Leland

The 2017 Newport Flower Show opened its 22nd annual event on June 23, and visitors were in for a surprise. Themed after a French Country Market setting, “FĂȘte Des Fleurs: Paintings and Parterres” expanded its offerings to cover a wide range of interests and tastes. The show was held June 23 through June 25 at Rosecliff mansion on Bellvue Avenue and featured many interesting exhibits and events.
Newport Flower Show ©Toni Leland 2017
Elegant Rosecliff Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island

The front lawn was resplendent with elaborate plant-filled urns and unique landscape beds with modern sculpture at the focal points. Tents around the perimeter featured vendors with a variety of market-type goods, from plants and garden needs to special foods to outdoor wear to pottery and sculpture.
Newport Flower Show ©Toni Leland 2017

Newport Flower Show ©Toni Leland 2017

Newport Flower Show ©Toni Leland 2017

Inside the mansion, the main ballroom was the display case for gorgeous floral creations from well-respected designers. Another room featured painting and art on the floral or garden theme. A third room introduces visitors to the history of art and plein air painting.
Newport Flower Show ©Toni Leland 2017

After absorbing all these beautiful creations, we moved to the verandah to enjoy beautiful table settings with garden or floral themes. Then down the grand marble steps to the fountain and a sea of tents with everything and anything you could want.
Newport Flower Show ©Toni Leland 2017
Look closely to see the "living" plant in the center!

The big attractions on opening day were an interview with fashion icon, Iris Apfel, while enjoying the Afternoon Tea Reception. The tent was packed, and Iris was her usual charming self. On Saturday, Jeff Leatham—celebrity floral designer—and Dr. Eric T. Haskell—noted scholar on French garden history—gave luncheon lectures. Many free lectures and demonstrations were also ongoing throughout the weekend, including plant experts, flower designers, and gardeners.
Iris Apfel Newport Flower Show ©Toni Leland 2017
Fashion Icon Iris Apfel

A Saturday event invited you to spend the evening at FĂȘte de la Lune (Feast by Moonlight) strolling and shopping, then partaking of a summer picnic basket supper. After the meal, the movie A Little Chaos was shown; a 2015 hit, the film features Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, and Stanley Tucci.
Newport Flower Show ©Toni Leland 2017
Marie Antoinette joined the evening opening reception!

On Sunday, the Champagne & Jazz Brunch brought you into the final day of the show on the front lawn.

Newport Flower Show ©Toni Leland 2017

The Newport Flower Show is always open to the public, and tickets to the special events are also available online at www.NewportFlowerShow.org

A magnificent setting, a historic home, and the beautiful blue sea were just a few of the wonders of the Newport Flower Show!

All photographs ©Toni Leland.