Summertime blooms and bugs keep gardeners busy

There is nothing that yells “summer in the garden” better than sunny-faced flowers, in my opinion.

The false sunflower

There is nothing that yells “summer in the garden” better than sunny-faced flowers, in my opinion. So, I just have to rave about our false sunflower, Heliopsis helanthoides ‘Helhan’. (Also known as Heliopsis Loraine Sunshine.)

This special cultivar of a native North American perennial has been in full bloom in our garden since early June.

What sets it apart? Brilliant yellow, daisy-like flowers atop delightfully variegated leaves. Best of all, this plant will bloom straight through until frost which is a huge attractant for bees and butterflies.

And fuss-free! No diseases seem to bother this plant, and the only purported problem pest is aphids. However, I have not noticed any aphid problem in the five years, or so, since we added ‘Helhan’ to our garden inventory. This 30-inch (75 cm) tall, 18-24-inch (45-60 cm) wide, clump-forming plant has been a real stellar performer.

What more can a gardener ask for?

Well, for one thing, I wish the fall webworms would leave our pear tree alone! Just spotted a nest, which John has cut out, leaves included, and put in the garbage. Will have to keep a watchful eye for any others that may appear.

Do not be fooled by the common name of this pest. They have been active since late May or early June when the adult moths emerged from their pupae, where they had been over-wintering. Egg-laying on host plants, like our pear tree, began shortly after emergence.

Once the larvae hatch, they form colonies and begin feasting on the leaves. The formation of the webbing actually begins shortly after the onset of feeding. It is enlarged as the larvae grow and require more food, eventually becoming multi-layered and dense-looking.

This is the very clue which helped me to pinpoint that we have the orange-race of fall webworm, (Hyphantria cunea).

Now typically, this pest will not kill its host tree. However, their webs can be unsightly and fruit production can be seriously impacted if the tree is covered in web tents. Defoliation means photosynthesis is endangered.

For more information about this pest, visit my website at duchessofdirt.ca.

Leslie Cox co-owns Growing Concern Cottage Garden in Black Creek. Her website is at www.duchessofdirt.ca and her column appears every second Thursday in The Record

Just Posted

School for students on Hornby Island ‘normal as can be’: portables expected in new year

While it’s not an ideal situation, the return to school for students… Continue reading

Christmas comes early for residents of Cumberland Lodge

It’s Christmas in September at Cumberland Lodge. The Rotary Club of Cumberland… Continue reading

Big Beach Cleanup builds awareness of ocean debris impacts

First two cleanup days brought in 40 cubic yards of plastic and styrofoam

Rain and high winds to hit Vancouver Island this afternoon

Thursday and Friday to see downpour of 20 to 50mm and high winds on Vancouver Island

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

‘Hero’ kid fighting cancer helping with B.C. Children’s Hospital fundraiser

Penticton’s Wills Hodgkinson helping raise funds for B.C. Children’s Hospital

Most Read