Our trials with beneficial “bugs” in the greenhouse have gone well except that there were some “hot” spots of aphids. Due to the limits of using many insecticides that would kill harmful and beneficial organisms, adequate aphid control was lacking. Two species of mites have worked very well to keep thrip insects and the European spider mite under control. Next year more small wasps must be added for additional aphid and whitefly control.

Our next batch of trees and shrubs should be ready at the end of June as we space, trim and sometimes weed the plants! Producing plants in stages can be tricky due to weather conditions. Our Tiny lily bulbs were planted the first of March to be followed by another batch the week of March 20th. With the cold beginning of March, the first batch was delayed and then both came into bloom at once similar to sweet corn plantings that are staggered at the Seiberling farm.

The roses have been exceptional this year without too much maintenance except for a few applications of insecticide and fungicide to eliminate insects, powdery mildew and the dreaded black spot fungus on teas and floribundas.

In about a week we will start on next year’s new selections for spring in the greenhouse and perennial house and about July 1st will be the beginning of finding new selections of trees and shrubs.

We have been doing more email blasts the past few weeks for our garden club members for some good buys although for those for which we have no email address, the only way to notify them is with snail mail which is very costly and has been greatly reduced.

In Wolf Creek Botanical Garden to the north, the Catawbiense hybrids of rhododendron have just finished blooming and now the maximum hybrids are beginning to show color that seem to last for about 10 days. Strangely, the mountain laurels have few to no flowers which are accelerating the growth of the plants because of the non-interference by flowers.

Now all we need is about one inch of rain per week and daytime temperatures not to exceed 85ºF. Although “perfect” weather is desirable, it’s more like a pipe dream.