Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Asian Cycad Scale on Sego Palms by Rebecca Band

It has been an excellent year for insects with the heat and rain we have received. Most plants have had their share of insects including Sego Palms. Owners of Sego Palms must take special notice and care to protect their palms from an infestation of Asian Cycad Scale. The scale appears as small white lines all over the base of the palm moving up to the fronds.
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This particular type of scale is very aggressive and difficult to control. It spreads quickly, through the air and through the soil attacking the root system. Cycad Scale will kill your plant and at a fast pace. Catching it early is the first step. Second and third; you will need not only an on-contact control, but you will need a systemic control. Horticultural oil can be used to smother the visible insects. All Seasons Spray Oil or any other horticultural oil will work well. A product with Malathion as the active ingredient is another on-contact control. A systemic insecticide with an active ingredient of Acephate should also be used to control any scale in the soil on the root system.

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If some of the fronds are completely infested don’t be afraid to cut them off and dispose of them in a sealed garbage bag. Additional treatments may be required. Please be kind and don’t spread the bugs.

Halloween Bug Blog by Ashley Grubb

In honor of it being that spooky, creepy-crawly time of year, when our nightmares come to life and scenarios from only the scariest of horror movies are set up all over town in the form of haunted houses, I thought it would be fun to gross you out a little and tell you all about the haunted house you have right in your own backyard.  Be glad you’re not insect-sized, or you’d be hiding under your tiny bed!

 

The insect world is full of all kinds of characters that are perfect for Halloween. One particularly yucky group are called parasites. Just the mention of the name grosses me out! There are all different kinds of parasites- some just quietly live off of their host, some are able to manipulate their hosts’ behaviors, and some will even eventually kill their host when they are no longer needed.

 

If you have a vegetable garden, or are growing tomato plants, you have probably seen a tomato hornworm. These large, fat, bright green caterpillars with a curved horn on their rear are a common pest that will eat all of the leaves off of your tomato plants, reducing them to stubs in a day. While they may be annoying, they do also serve a purpose in the web of life, as one of the favorite hosts for a kind of parasitic wasp. Parasitic wasps are tiny, beneficial predators that help to naturally control the populations of pest species that would otherwise destroy your plants or require endless spraying with insecticides. They target aphids, webworms, tent caterpillars, grubs, borers, mealy bugs, and many other pests. Parasitic wasps are common everywhere, but are generally so small, quiet and mild-mannered, you’ve probably never noticed them. In the case of the hornworm, they’re not so nice and gentle. (que ominous laughter)Hornworms play an important role in the completion of the life cycle of the parasitic wasps. A female wasp will find a young unsuspecting hornworm caterpillar and inject her eggs just under its skin. When the eggs hatch, the wasp larvae begin feeding on the insides of the caterpillar. They will eat until they can literally chew themselves out of the caterpillar’s skin. Yuck! At this point, the wasps make tiny white egg-shaped cocoons all over the surface of the still barely alive caterpillar and will emerge soon after as more adult wasps ready to search for their next victims. Their existing caterpillar host will die soon after they emerge, typically from loss of internal organs…

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Another creepy and interesting group of insects you can commonly find in your own backyard are assassin bugs. These are another beneficial group you should welcome with open arms- unless you’re a fly, caterpillar, or other kind of bug! Assassin bugs get their name because of the way they kill their prey. They are built with some pretty crazy accessories. When they find a bug they’d like to eat, they impale it with their medieval sword-like mouthpart. They then inject their prey with a chemical that temporarily paralyzes while also liquefying its insides. These creepy killers then slurp out their liquid meal, leaving nothing but an empty shell behind. Some super-barbaric assassin bugs will even take it a step further and throw the empty carcass up on their back and glue it into place to wear as its own tiny Halloween costume. Some of these guys have been seen carrying around huge piles of glued on dead bug victims. Pretty creepy and disgusting if you ask me….and perfect for Halloween!

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Insects like these prove that you just never know what you will find when you enter the insect realm, or what might be lurking just outside your door right now!

 

Interested in a little more scary insect information? Come see me this Saturday at Enchanted Forest from 10am-noon and Enchanted Gardens from 2pm-4pm. I will have my collection of live hissing cockroaches, millipedes, Peter Parker the tarantula, and Pickle the whiptail scorpion.  Pose for a picture with a roach or touch a millipede if you’re feeling brave! Leave sporting a new (temporary) bug tattoo and be sure to enter our contest for a great prize. In keeping with the bug theme, we’ll be featuring some great Lady Bug brand products with some fun freebies and giveaways! There will also be a few other creepy surprises in store that you will just have to come see to believe! See ya’ll Saturday!

 

 

Fairy Fridays are here for the Summer!

Starting on Friday, July 8, from 10AM to 12PM, we will transform an area of our nurseries into a community fairy garden project space. In it you’ll find complimentary fairy dirt (of the best quality), helping hands, and enchanting fairy gardens made by our own creative staff for inspiration. Both locations have delightful accessories and containers to create your own perfect miniature garden…

Our First Creative Container Contest!

Theme: Think Tropical!

04/11/15 – 04/23/15

Enchanted Nurseries is challenging you to make your best, most beautiful and original mixed container featuring your favorite tropical plant(s)!

To Enter:

  • Submit a photo of yourself with your tropical container to Facebook or Instagram and pair it with the hashtag #myenchantedcontainer
  • Include in the caption the names of the plants, type(s) of soil, light environment, when planted, etc.
  • We will announce the winner on Saturday, April 25th with a re-post of their photo and a private message
  • The Grand Prize: A $50 gift certificate to Enchanted Nurseries!

If the winner does not respond within the week, the prize will be awarded to the 2nd place winner.

Winter Preventative Insect Treatment

Happy New Year to you and your family! Any day now, winter should officially be arriving. Don’t think that just because the branches are bare and the air is a little chilly that there is nothing to do in the garden for insect control and prevention. Now is the perfect time! With a little forethought and a tiny bit of effort, (think a leisurely stroll around the garden while spritzing plants) you can prevent all kinds of insect induced headaches in the spring. Many insect species overwinter in your garden, tucked into branches, just waiting for spring to emerge and wreak havoc on your plants. Scale, thrips, mealy bugs, white flies and leaf miners are prime examples. Applying horticultural oil now (I like Monterey Horticultural Oil) will suffocate all of those little pests before they can emerge from their dormancy period. Horticultural oils are effective and ecologically friendly pesticides. They can be sprayed on most plants during the winter months without harming the plants at all. Keep in mind though that it will kill good bugs as well as bad, so a blanket coverage of your entire landscape, while tempting, might not be the best idea for the ecological health of your garden. Instead, focus your efforts on fruit and citrus trees, roses, and any other plants that had problems with infestations last spring and summer. Don’t spray during freezing temperatures because the emulsion wont hold together, resulting in uneven coverage. Otherwise, any day between now and spring should be fine. One thorough application plus a pat on the back for yourself for being so well prepared and organized should be enough to do the trick. We have plenty of horticultural oil in stock, so come visit us while you’re out and about!

Joey’s Tomato Tips

  1. Choose the right type for your needs. Beefsteak type tomatoes are large, juicy andare good for eating fresh or in salsa, other varieties will have a sweeter taste. Cherry tomatoes can be red or yellow, tangy or sweet, but they all make perfect salad toppings or treats for the kids. Paste tomatoes are the ones you need for perfecting your spaghetti recipe. Slicing tomatoes are great for sandwiches and burgers.
  2. Your soil is the foundation for your tomato garden. A mix of topsoil and well decomposed compost is essential. Do not skimp on this step.
  3. Plant your tomatoes in full sun. They need a minimum of 5 hours of direct sunlight every day.
  4. Try to get your plants in the ground early, but beware of any late cold fronts that can zap your plants.
  5. Sometimes you may need to bury your plants a little deeper than you would other varieties of vegetables. If they are a little tall or leggy, just pull off the bottom set of leaves and plant them a few inches deeper.
  6. Regular watering is important.
  7. Feed your tomatoes so that they can feed you! Whether you want to go all organic or the speed of synthetic fertilizer, your soil is just not enough.
  8. Give your plants something to lean on. Most varieties need the support of a tomato cage, trellis or a stake. Have your staking method in early so that the plant grows into it.
  9. Containers are cool! If you don’t have the space or time for an in-ground garden. Big pots are a great way to grow tomatoes. Make sure to keep an eye on the soil moisture since they may dry out faster.
  10. Try something new! There are lots of really great varieties of tomatoes available. You will never know if you like them unless you give them a try. Think about growing heirloom tomatoes, some types have been around over one hundred years.
  11. Remember gardening is a fun for the whole family! We are always here to answer your questions…just stop on by either location.

How Do I Grow Azaleas?

Us true southern gardeners often only recognize the coming of spring when we begin to see the azaleas burst into color.  There are some beautiful old azaleas around town that I admire each year.  Most likely these azaleas have a few things in common as to how they have thrived so well over time… as growing azaleas in our area can sometimes be a bit tricky!

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Azaleas are best planted in part-shade – morning sun is ideal, under a canopy of trees with filtered sun or the partly shady conditions often found on the north side of the house works well too.  When planting your azaleas, a raised bed with plenty of organic matter added is desirable.  Dig each hole twice the size of the rootball and only plant as deep as the plant sits in the pot.  Before placing plant in hole it is advisable to break up the roots a bit with a shovel since they often get constricted in the pot.  Spread these roots across the bottom of the hole.  Fill in soil and water well to eliminate air pockets and assure the roots do not dry out.  Mulch with pine bark mulch or pine needles to help add some acidity to the soil as well as to protect the shallow roots.

 A few tips to insure azalea success:

 *Be sure azaleas are getting adequate moisture during their growing season.

*Add Iron and Soil Acidifier 3 times a year.

*Fertilize with Azalea and Camellia fertilizer immediately following bloom cycle.

*Trim or prune immediately following bloom cycle if necessary.

The Enchanted Birds of Texas Blog #10

The Enchanted Birds of the Blog:  Woodpeckers!

A pair of Red-bellied WoodpeckersRed-belled Woodpeckers

So let me say up front that none of these photos are very good in any way. For some reason, I have a hard time getting a good view of these birds… they continue to be very elusive for me. That being said, Woodpeckers are very common in these parts – we see them on nearly every weekend outing. And if we don’t see them, we certainly hear them drumming or calling. These particular Woodpeckers don’t actually have red bellies, they have golden or dusky colored bellies, and I have no idea why they have the name that they do. Males mostly forage on tree trunks, while females forage on the limbs. Photographed at Cullinan Park, Sugar Land, October 13th, 2012. Male to the left, female to the right.

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpeckers

 

The Red-Headed Woodpecker is a year-round resident of our area. This is a medium-sized Woodpecker that is quite common in our area. As you can see, the coloration of the head is quite different from the Red-bellied Woodpecker. I tend to see more Red-bellied than Red-headed Woodpeckers around here. How about you folks? Email us and let us know what your experiences are, OK? The Red-headed Woodpecker is more of a forager for food, rather than an ‘excavator’ from tree trunks. It sometimes catches grasshoppers, and wedges them into crevices that they cannot escape from. It will dine later. Photographed on March 30th, 2013 at Bear Creek Park, Houston.

 

The Bonus Enchanted Bird of the Blog: Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

The Downy is another common Woodpecker in this region. It is the smallest Woodpecker around here, and again has a dramatically different appearance from our other two blog entries today, with white and black cheeks and a splash of red across the top of the head. Downies are year-round residents of much of North America. Groups of Woodpeckers are known as a ‘Drumming’ or ‘Gatling’ of Woodpeckers. I’m still trying to recognize species by the sound of their drumming. It’s not all that easy, but I’m getting there! Photographed March 30th, 2013 at Bear Creek Park, Houston.

Judy’s Summer Landscape (Part 1)

Judy’s Summer Landscape — The Beginning 

Judy, the tallest (and blondest) of the Lenderman clan and one of the owners of the Enchanted Forest, recently began working on a new landscape for the summer months. She doesn’t have the biggest space to work with but she’s decided to pack what she’s got chock-full of color. From antique roses to hardy perennials, Judy’s new garden is in full bloom and ready to meet the heat of Summer.

Judy Bird Bath

Judy is something of an amateur bird-watcher and with a combination of bird baths (like the one above,) bird feeders, and the right selection of color plants to attract the occasional hummer, her garden has been the site of some pretty incredible aviary action. But more on that later. This, the sunniest side of her yard, is also one of her favorites. The flagstone walkway draws the eye around the corner of the house and up the front steps. “I’ll go out of way just to take a walk down this path,” says Judy, “It’s a short walk. But I love it.”

Magnolia Blossom

A magnolia blossom peeks out from a shady corner

Antique Rose

 

 

 

Judy knew she wanted to go a little old-school this summer. So, she pulled out a hedge of Knock-Outs and planted a number of Antique Roses, which (as you can see) are really thriving.

Iris with Potting Bench

A nice view over Judy’s picket fence and into her intimate, yet spacious backyard. She’ll be doing some more work in back here later in the season.

Fairy Garden Festival

We had so much fun at Enchanted’s 1st Fairy Garden Festival this past Saturday. Fairy or miniature gardening is all the rage! It is fun to create on a small scale. The seminars at both location were totally booked last Saturday and everyone had a great time, so of course we will be doing another seminar in the near future. It was wonderful to see how creative everyone is! Check out the pictures!

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