Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Little Garden Blogging

High summer, decent rains, garden roaring. Libby points at the Dahlias springing up from Patrick Porter's generous gift.

This is the first year we have grown Chinese long beans.

Insects are everywhere.

We keep our cardoon as an ornamental.

This year we noticed that it is COVERED with insects, on virtually every leaf-- not ones that eat it, mind you; it is healthy and unspotted.

It has many hunting wasps as well.

And flowers full of mostly native bees.

The related artichoke has no bugs (we use no pesticides-- haven't had to other than anti- grasshopper bacterials one year.) Any ideas why it has so many?


Matt Mullenix said...

Our next door neighbors are Chinese and grow an extensive garden, including several long bean plants that drape down our side of the fence by mid-summer. We don't mind---we trade for them with our tomatoes and peppers and find the long beans wonderful in stir fry. They have a very distinct nutty flavor and firm texture. The kids love them.

Anonymous said...

Nothing on insects but I just wiki'd the cardoon,,and I want to grow some!(taste like artichokes) ,,,but then maybe not...(invasive)

Maggie; whose tomatos remain green till the end of August,,

Steve Bodio said...

FWIW, ours is several years old and hasn't tried to spread.

Heidi the Hick said...

I love a vigorous garden! We've had a lot of heat and rain this summer, so our grass is green -- In August!!!
Usually it's brown by now. I've got a very enthusiastic cucumber vine on the trellis, but the tomatoes are taking their time. Not enough sun maybe. I had a huge crop of lilies and now the black eyed susies and coneflowers are up.

Your garden is wonderful.

Julie Zickefoose said...

On the cardoon:

I've noticed that the leaves of my tropical hibiscus are similarly covered with small jewellike wasps. I am given to wonder if the cardoon and the hibiscus might be producing nectaries, or perhaps small sugary or protein-rich treats along the veins. Many tropical plants do; my orchid collection is dripping with sugar surprises, which encourage ants to patrol the leaves. The constant presence of the wasps would suggest so. The plant presumably gains the benefit of protection from herbivorous insects by the presence of the wasps.

Max Inclined said...

Before they got built on, a couple of my hawking fields were covered with these plants, and we used to collect the chokes before they bloomed and cook them like normal-people artichokes.

Later on we had one growing at our house and it did seem to attract bugs that didn't eat it. One was a reddish beetle. The other was a tiny bee, about 3-4mm long, which we figured was a native bee. At the time we were hearing about the crash in the honeybee population and figured any pollinating insect should be encouraged.