… why do I keep getting hit in the head by cherry pits? That's a rhetorical question, though I did get hit in the head by a cherry pit while walking under the cherry tree in the back yard (I think the resident cardinal has it in for me). It's the middle of July, I've been under the weather, and since I last wrote, much has happened in the garden, much of it not good. The weather has turned very hot and very humid, the damned Japanese beetles arrived to munch away on my roses, and, with the humid weather and me indoors and not spraying, the dreaded blackspot fungus got hold of a number of bushes. I'm convinced that the Japanese beetles spread the fungus spores; wherever I have a bush with skeletonized leaves, I have blackspot nearby. I've started dusting with Sevin to keep the little monsters under control, but seeing my beautiful roses being munched is enough to get me to overcome my distaste for bugs and happily squash them with my fingers. As for the blackspot, I resumed my spraying program today with Banner Maxx, adding a full dose of Mancozeb to help control it where it's run rampant. With Mancozeb added to the weekly systemic sprayings, it should be under control in a few weeks.
In the interim, a patch of ground at the side of the house where I've been unable to grow grass for the last 15 years is now covered with a thick layer of stone as I had the stone path at the side of the house extended. A similar patch under the circle of trees where the side yard merges into the back yard now has a series of large bluestone pavers surrounded by peastone, forming a bridge between the two yards. The beds around the foundation of the house have been renewed with quite a few tons of peastone so things are looking rather nice. After being unable to grow anything green in those two small areas, the hardscape looks quite nice and that's the end of the frustration … and the mud! The roses have done well though, as mentioned above, the two plagues of rose growers, Japanese beetles and blackspot fungus have arrived, as has the hot and humid weather that they love. Everything that I expected to do well this year did and the last of the Daylilies, Plum Perfect, is now bearing its final blossoms (a photo is below). In fact, all of the Daylilies, Asiatic Lilies, and Oriental Lilies did quite well. Most things have grown well, including the new mini-rose that I planted in the deck planter this summer and I was pleased to see Mme. Isaac Pereire repeat flower this past week. I've been taking a photo here and there during this past month (yes, I know I've been remiss in making Journal entries and updating the web site, but when you don't feel well it's hard to feel motivated about these things) and this evening I've posted close to a hundred on the web site.