The Joy of Gardening in Southern Ontario

I love gardening in my Zone 5 garden. To many it would not seem like an exciting place to garden. The ground is frozen from December to April and four large Maple Trees shade the West facing back garden all Summer. Dispite this, much magic and joy happens in this small space every year.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Brugmansia Question

Someone asked a question about keeping Brugmansia in a cold room through the winter and didn't leave an email address. As long as the cold store stays above 5 degrees Celsius (comfortably above zero) it will be ok. Last winter I kept my three plants in the cold room from October to late March, the room stays just above freezing and is dark. I made sure that the soil was fairly dry and gave it a tiny amount of water so that it didn't completely dry out. Before I put it in the cold store, I pruned it back to a shape that I wanted. Once I bought it out in April I put it near a window to let it start to grow. This also worked well for my Mandeville vines and Geraniums, however, I had a large Farangi Pangi (sorry about spelling) and it was too cold.

They grew very well this year, I have them outside in a semi shade spot, two are planted in the soil and one is still in a large pot. I found that, if I kept them growing through the winter, they were very susceptible to red spider mite. I grew two of the Brugmansia from seed and, after three years one of them flowered for the first time. A beautiful pink fragrant flower.

I realised that I have no photos of them, I'll take some and put on the blog. Unfortunately the fragrance will not come across. They all have the most incredible fragrance that I have ever smelt in a flower.

This summer I have been very busy, little time for blogging but I have had time to share the wonders of the garden with my grand children, the flowers, their fragrance, the frogs, snakes and insects that inhabit the garden. Children seem to be naturally fascinated by nature. My children were/are and my grand children are.

Life is a wonderful thing

Someone asked about Red Spider Mite. These are very determined critters and leaving the plants in a cold room and leafless is a way of stopping them. If you want to keep growing the plant in your house, you have to increase the humidity around the plant. I've fund that spraying with pesticidal soap in a large plastic bag helps but you have to repeat it every 7 to 9 days (breeding cycle)for a few weeks and leave in the bag for a while.

They hate humidity and the soap only kills the ones that it hits at the time of application, eggs hatch and they reinfest, hence the repeated does.

I've never had trouble with red spider mites in my greenhouse for two reasons; one it is very humid and two a wave of ladybirds (bugs) normally hatch around January and probably eat any budding infestations.

If the plant is one of my favourites and I can't get rid of the infestation then I have to admit that I use a "systemic pesticide" - very nasty and toxic. I treat it in the garage and put it in a plastic bag for a few days (or if it's too cold I wait fr a day when it is above zero in there, treat it and seal it in the bag (it is very smelly). Then I bring it into the cld room and leave it there for the couple of days. Once washed off, I bring it in again. This pesticide kills everything so I don't let it near bees etc for a few weeks. Not a good solution but, before I had my winter greenhouse, it was better than loosing a loved Hibiscus.

Good luck