Saturday, July 25, 2009

Strange Happenings In the Garden

By Skeeter

Last year, I had a voluntary Butterfly Weed pop up in my Georgia Garden. I can only assume I am the lucky recipient of a seed dropped by a bird. How ever it got here, I sure enjoyed it last year.
To my surprise, it returned again this year growing stronger and larger. I was afraid of loosing this plant over the spring as it is located in a real soggy area of the flower garden during rainy times of year. We had a lot of rain last winter and spring so it's feet were wet for a long time.
It bloomed one time for me last year but is putting on a much better show this year with still giving me blooms!
Here is a very blurred picture of what I assume to be a seed pod on the plant. Sorry for the blurred picture but it is too humid for me to attempt another picture. I spotted one "seed pod" last year and I do believe it has produced a second butterfly weed nearby as the foliage looks the same. It is too small to tell at this point. This years plant has several seed pods so I am hoping for more Butterfly Weeds in the garden next year.
Here is something I do not recall seeing on the plant last year! I am not sure if these are insects, or some sort of egg. With last weeks posting on the caterpillars munching on the dill, I did a bit of research and saw some butterfly eggs which looked similar to this. Could these be Caterpillar Eggs?
If these are Caterpillar eggs, then they would destroy the plant once they hatch as happen to the Dill. I planted the Dill for the caterpillars but I really don't want anything to eat my Butterfly Weed as I enjoy it way too much. I want the Butterfly's to enjoy the sweet nectar but not eat the plant in the stage of a caterpillar!
With the assistance of OJ kitty (Above) I took my fingers and rubbed each stem to rid it of this unknown stuff.
It left quit a sticky mess on my fingers but a little soap and water washed it right off. I sure hope I did not destroy something good for the plant. Does anyone know what this could be???
I also spotted these little stinkers on the foliage of a Gladiola. The Glads did not do well this year as they were spotted as they bloomed. Each bloom had black spots on them as if mold. Wonder if too much rain was in their beginning? Anyway, these caterpillars were only on one plant then gone the next day! Does anyone know what these were?
Here is a Canna which was given to me by Lola. Thanks again Lola! I will talk about the Canna another time as I am waiting to see if this one will bloom for me. See the perfect holes in the Canna Foliage? It looks as though someone has taken a Hole Punch and punched holes in it doesn't it? This happened to a few of the Canna last year but so far this year only to this one. Does anyone know what causes this to happen?
Here is a picture of the Saints mothers Hydrangea bush. She wanted me to ask you all if anyone knows why it only produced one bloom this year when last year it had many more?What could have happened to my grass? Oh, wait, the Saint solved this mystery for me. He was spraying off the siding on the house and with the last bit of chemical in the bottle, he slung it out of the bottle onto the grass. Arggg, it kills grass! The bottle read, "okay for the environment and would not kill plants". Hum, maybe that only counts when the stuff is diluted and not concentrate!

Okay, I must tell on myself as well. I was spraying some weed killer on the walking path of my flower garden and a few days later, I spotted foot prints in the grass from where my shoes got wet from the stuff! I did not think to snap a picture of that but wish I had as it was funny.

There sure have been some STRANGE HAPPENINGS, In the Garden...

Note: Some friends need our assistance so we will be off the Internet for the weekend. Everyone have a Great Weekend with family or friends!


  1. the yellow stuff on your butterflyweed is aphids(greenfly) they suck the sap of the plant and eventually kill it.

  2. Skeeter,

    Tell the Saint he can clean the siding next time with just water, those chemicals are not needed in fact a load of crap. The cannas might get canna rollers which become the rare to us Brazilian Skipper, they roll up the leaves.

  3. Hey there Skeeter .. that was an interesting post girl ! (especially the last bit with the foot prints ? LOL)
    Yes .. I was also going to say aphids .. they come in a range of colours I could not believe .. green, black and yellow/orange like yours .. and I hate those little buggers with a passion .. almost and above earwig capacity ? LOL .. yes the seed pods of the butterfly weed are amazing aren't they ?
    Have a good weekend too girl : )

  4. Definitely aphids in the first picture! I'd better go out and check if ours have any, I hope not!

  5. Hi Skeeter, you do have aphids on the Butterfly Weed. On the Canna is probably Leaf Roller-- too late this year to do anything. In my area you need to use Sevin or Malathion in May to combat these guys. The aphids can be addressed with a variety of things from cold water spray (short term fix) to using insecticial soap to other bug killers. (Just read Randy's answer-- canna rollers are butterflies??--oh well)

  6. I agree Skeeter. Aphids on butterfly weed. Cananas too, at that rate I should have tons of butterflies.
    The Saints shaking looks like a brown snake. Foot prints? lol
    Everyone have a lovely day.

  7. Milkweed is a host plant for Monarch caterpillars! Don't worry about yellow/black striped cats that eat your milkweed. They will grow into the wonderful Monarchs! Come look under "butterfly garden" under the "My Topics" links on the left sidebar of my blog to see photos of Monarch caterpillars on milkweed. I grow asclepias tuberosa and asclepias incarnata for the Monarch cats. My garden is a Monarch Waystation... if you grow a lot of milkweed and have Monarch cats, you can be certified, too!


  8. Strange happenings indeed. Everyone already identified the aphids for you. They like succulent new growth and are not usually harmful. Just hose off and the plant will be fine.

    The caterpillars on the glad

    The holes in the canna can be a canna leaf roller for sure. They are most irritating. Here is a link that may help you and others. It may also be something else. I googled shot holes on cannas as I've heard of this before. The damage I've seen on my cannas from leaf rollers is much more serious and the leaf doesn't even unfurl. I used systemic last year though so no problems this year. But here is a link that addresses some causes.

    I spent a lot of time researching the caterpillar on the glad with no luck as of now. I will try to research it some more as I am interesting in knowing what it is. You got a good shot of them.

    Did the hydrangea bloom as it normally does in 2007? You said it did last year but did not talk of 07. Oftentimes hydrangeas are nipped by a late freeze which will kill all the flower buds. This bottom one may have been shielded and escaped the freeze. Another alternative is that hydrangeas form buds for flowers on the previous years growth. If this hydrangea was cut back the gardener may have cut back the buds. Or maybe it didn't form any buds last summer. Two possible reasons for no blooms.

    Skeeter, you have fun with your friends. Everybody else have fun today too. Thanks for the help with Skeeter's strange happenings to all of you. I'll be at a funeral for a famous gardener here in my town. A gardener I posted on once before. A very sad passing. You all take care.

  9. Strange things for sure but they all seemed to be answered for now except for the glad. Hope you get that answer also. I am of no help.

  10. I will get rid of that yellow insects or some sort of egg.

  11. Hi Skeeter, Everyone answered well for you, I have no idea about the glads, but one year my pg did not bloom and it was loaded all the years before? No cutting, no freeze, just did not flower. I trimmed it back hard in the spring and every since then it has acted normal. ?
    Beautiful day today, everyone enjoy!

  12. I enjoy a good mystery, and you served up several of them for us, Skeeter! I'm glad that most of them were solved for you. That hydrangea is a puzzle. Maybe it just wanted to take a break this summer. I thought the recent heat wave had demolished my two Endless Summer shrubs, but they're putting on new growth and blooms again. No vacation for them, I guess.

  13. Th flowers of the butterfly weed are really pretty, the birds did leave you a nice gift. I hope you get more!
    The leaf of the Canna reminds me of a book my little one loves called "The Very Hungry Caterpillar". Hope whatever it is leaves the rest of the leaves alone.

  14. Those catepillars on the Glad have been killing my potato plants all summer - every day I have to go out there with a cup of soapy water and get them off. I've looked everywhere and the only thing close seems to be a potato moth or armyworm....thoughts?

  15. How nice you got a volunteer butterfly weed! That's a great thing and your photos are really nice. I'm glad you were able to solve some of the mysteries about who is eating/on your plants too.

  16. Aphids. You can find an eco-friendly botanical spray that will take care of those...they will suck plant dry.
    GartenGrl at
    Planning Plants to Plant

  17. Ewwww... These are strange happenings. I had aphids like that on my shasta daisy, but ants were attacking them and carrying them off - which was good, but gross too. -Jackie

  18. Thank you everyone for your answering my questions to the mysteries in my garden! I returned home today to find more aphids on the butterfly weed! They are now gone from my squashing fingers and I will keep a close eye on them in case a missed a few. Dont want them to harm my beloved Freebie Plant!

    I do wonder what those caterpillars were on the Glad. Hum, Maybe someone will recognize them in time...

    Everything is dry as a bone in the gardens as we have not received any rain and need it desperately. We have the water sprinkler set up and going strong now and hoping for a pop up shower and soon…

  19. Don't worry I'm sure if the insecticidal soap doesn't work, the Ladybugs will come to the rescue. I had this same problem on my Milkweed last season & the plant survived it.

  20. Raquel, I did not have any spray soap on hand but did have something else. I dont like to use pesticides on the blooming flowers for fear of harming the butterflies, bees, etc. But after squashing the aphids yesterday, I sprayed a little Sevin on the stems and was careful not to touch the blooms with it. Today, no aphids at all so the squashing and Sevin seems to have done the trick. I will keep a close eye on it though. I have only seen a few Lady Bugs this summer. I wonder where they are hiding? Hum...

  21. Skeeter, the Monarch caterpillars will eat any part of the milkweed plant, so if you can avoid using insecticides at all on it, I would.

    I, too, saw ants eating aphids in the garden the other day. It was a beautiful sight! LOL

    I loved this collection of mysterious goings-on in your garden. And isn't it great when other gardeners have experienced them before you and can provide you with so much good info on what they are and what to do about them? It seems like I've always got something going on that mystifies me in the garden. It keeps things interesting, for sure!

  22. Are milkweed and butterfly weed the same thing? I am confused as to some of you are mentioning the milkweed when I have not. Hum... Help me out here as I am easily confused. lol...