I’ve got Ants in my Plants

By on May 24, 2010 in General, Kick in the Plants! |

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First time I’ve ever had this happen to me….after years of working in a garden center today for the first time I had a lady ask me if she could buy some ants. I asked her if she was starting an ant farm. She said no, she needed the ants for her peony buds so they would open. I assured her that the ants visit peonies due to a sweet secretion on the buds but were not needed to open the buds. This old wives tale has been passed on through the ages. Not a bad situation however to have “ants in your plants” because they can be beneficial in helping deal with damaging insects. Not unusual for ants to hang out and live around your peony for a few weeks understanding it’s a “suite” living arrangement.

Take a look at this picture of a container planting I put together in my yard. I cut out the center fabric of an old chair and call this arrangement “Operating by the seat of my plants.” The point here is that almost anything can be a “container” for flowers in your yard provided it meets two criteria…..1) There must be enough room for plenty of soil or sufficient soil to sustain the plant for a season…to hold some moisture and nutrients and 2) there must be drainage holes. After those criteria are met it is only limited by your imagination……Well it must be late May and early June because here come the Root Weevils to spoil the Rhododendron party. These buggers notch the foliage of Rhodies under the cover of darkness crawling up from the soil and mulch at the base. Prune out lower branches to take out the lower part of their “staircase” and apply some Tanglefoot or sticky band at the trunk of the plant to discourage their nightly munching…..And finally here are some pictures of the lingering effects of the hard frost on the morning of May 10 when a lot of tend succulent foliage was frozen. The plants are in the process of recovering and by the end of June it should be a distant bad memory. Many Japanese Maples took it on the chin as well as Hydrangeas. New growth on a lot of evergreens were damaged like the tender new growth on this Birds Nest Spruce….Or the damage on this Painted Fern…..And it was Hosta La Vista Baby for a lot of tender growth on Hostas….I’ll cut out the damaged foliage and new foliage will emerge from the center to make it a disappointing but distant memory as frost free Summer days and nights arrive……

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