Marty's Gardening Journal, December 1st, 2011

 I have turned my attention inward, concentrating on the orchids with ever more developing flower spikes. A few wooly aphids were brought indoors on the orchids as well and I remain vigilant to deter these little sucking insects. Whenever I see a few congregating underneath a leaf I take the affected plant to the sink for a thorough spraying with luke warm water. So far I seem to be winning, but I can’t leave my guard down until all are gone.  My worm composter seems to be a happy place for the worms, actively turning my leftovers and paper into gardener’s gold, soil. But with all this activity comes another minor annoyance; fruit flies. Whenever I open the composter a few flies escape, although putting one sheet of newspaper over the top and wetting it down, did cut down on the flies. But, my smallest carnivorous plant, the sundew, actually relishes these small flies and traps them on its sticky filaments. So now I let these tiny fruit flies escape and let the sundew next to the composter do its job and feed itself in the process. Problem solved! If only all problems were this easy to resolve.

Sundew carnivorous plant

A new computer program for garden design sits next to my computer, waiting for a few extra days at home to start experimenting. A download for my Apple iPad made me the proud owner of my very first digital book, Michael Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. I have the paper version in my library, but this allows me to search for plants (including groundcovers and vines) by zone, height, and a host of other criteria, all right at my fingertips without having to carry around the big book. Being slow to embrace all that technology has to offer, I must admit this will make my life a lot easier.

This month will pass in a whirlwind of activity; lunches with friends, parties with co-workers and family. In between there will be some last minute shopping for a gift or two. May this month bring you happiness and an opportunity to (re)connect with friends and loved ones (and don’t take your eyes off the wooly aphids!)


Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah!