Thursday, April 25, 2013

Who invited the Devil to my garden?

My darling daughter found some Caterpillars on my columbine. They are always on the look out for cattys. They feed them and watch them make cocoons We have three right now that we have wintered over and are waiting to hatch.

I went to work right away to determine what these green things are. No good. Sawfly Larvae!

"These can strip columbine leaves right down to the bare veins and stems almost overnight."
Ugly jerks.  Sawfly larvae.

At first I let them go. But then on doing my garden rounds this morning I found plant after plant of my columbines stripped of their leaves! Oh momma was MAD! I rushed to the shed and pulled out my duster with my Diatomaceous Earth and went postal. I mean do you know how many columbines I have in my yard! Hundreds! I envisioned them all dying in a day or two. NO way. Warnings of monoculture flashed in my brain. When the sawflies found my yard they hit the jackpot.

What is Diatomaceous Earth you ask?

Diatomaceous earth is a remarkable, all-natural product made from tiny fossilized water plants. Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring siliceous sedimentary mineral compound from microscopic skeletal remains of unicellular algae-like plants called diatoms. These plants have been part of the earth's ecology since prehistoric times. It is believed that 30 million years ago the diatoms built up into deep, chalky deposits of diatomite. The diatoms are mined and ground up to render a powder that looks and feels like talcum powder to us. It is a mineral based pesticide. DE is
approximately 3% magnesium, 33% silicon, 19% calcium, 5% sodium, 2% iron and many other trace minerals such as titanium, boron, manganese, copper and zirconium. Diatomaceous Earth is a natural (not calcined or flux calcined) compound. Diatomaceous Earth is a natural grade diatomite. 

How does it work?
To insects DE is a lethal dust with microscopic razor sharp edges. These sharp edges cut through the insect's protective covering drying it out and killing them when they are either dusted with DE or if it applied as a wettable powder spray. If they ingest the DE it will shred their insides.

My columbines are my absolute most favorite flower in my whole yard.  They are so easy to grow.  I throw their seeds every where.  When they are done blooming I shake their seeds into a paper bag and collect thousands of them.  I have them in about five shades of pink, purple and mauve.  Here are a couple of pictures I found from last year.  I couldn't find pictures of my deep dark purple ones.  I will post them when they are in full bloom.  

columbine flower
another color
love these flowers!
They better look like this in a few days.

 Last thing I have to say, die sawfly die!