Hazy Day  The air had yet to be polluted and remained fairly clear and buoyant up until today.   Soon the crushing heft of humidity would contaminate the atmosphere, leaving us in a haze of scorching torridness and malaise, wilted and soulless.  I hate Summer.

Unwelcome Matt  The sad thing is, it’s not even Summer yet.  We have exactly 11 days before she takes up residence in our lives, sticking to the furniture, mopping her brow with our good, hand towels and demanding we turn down the air as to not give her a chill.  She’s the distant Aunt who pays us a visit once a year, and starts to stink after 3 days, like fish and guests often do.  Summer is a pest which cannot be beat.

Zinnias and Cosmos  Garden pests, on the other hand, can be controlled with the introduction of natural enemies.  To combat unwanted pests, like Aphids, Whiteflies, Mealybugs, and Caterpillars, attract natural enemies (good bugs) into the garden by increasing the diversity of plants and using plants that cater to their needs.

Ladybug #1  Consider plants from the Carrot, Sunflower, and Daisy families, like Dill, Cilantro, Fennel, Marigold, Dahlia, Daisy, Aster, Cosmos, Coreopsis, Yarrow and Zinnia.  Plants in the Carrot family often have large flat heads that provide excellent landing areas for insects.  Plants in the Sunflower and Daisy families tend to be made up of many small flowers or have disk-like centers that bloom over a long period of time, providing a consistent flow of nectar to good bugs, like Ladybugs, Lacewings, Parasitic Wasps, and Soldier Beetles.  These plants are as lovely as they are utilitarian, so you can enjoy them as much as the good bugs do.

Cardinal in Bird Bath  Avoid spraying pesticides as this would defeat the entire purpose.  When you kill the bad bugs, you also kill the good.  Consider attracting more birds to your yard with bird feeders and bird baths.  Up to 96% of all birds feed insects to their young.

“Never hurt a ladybug.

We need them in the garden.

Ladybugs help flowers grow.

So we must give them pardon.”

-Author Unknown

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney