Tag Archives: Hibiscus

Red, White, and Blue 2014

4 Jul

A few photos for US Independence Day. Red: Costus woodsonii (Indian Head Ginger) and Hibiscus. White: Cornus kousa (Kousa Dogwood). Blue: Echium candicans (Pride of Madeira) and Iris reticulata (Dwarf Dutch Iris).



Garden Pests: Meeting a Soapy End

5 Jul

Turns out, while we were busy laying a patio and admiring our zucchini crop, certain nefarious activities were taking place in the garden. I must be a bit slow on the uptake, because I only noticed a day or so ago that many of the large leaves on our exploding Hibiscus (Kopper King) were being eaten into oblivion. Upon closer inspection (and these days, I have to get quite close to see anything that small), I noticed tiny green caterpillars happily chomping away.

The green “caterpillars” are actually the larvae of the Hibiscus Sawfly (Atomacera decepta). The adult female Sawfly very kindly lays eggs on the leaves, viewing them as a great source of food for the next generation. And those larvae sure know how to eat–they pick the leaf clean. How they can eat that much leaf without falling into the void is beyond me, but I am certainly not going to waste any time worrying about them. I also have bigger bugs to battle. Here is a Japanese Beetle on a Rose of Sharon leaf. Clearly, both pests have similar tastes, though in this case I cannot appreciate their discerning palates.

What to do? Battle Tactic #1: Put on the garden gloves and flick the larvae and beetles into a bowl of soapy water. I positioned the bowl under each Hibiscus leaf where larvae were visible, and pushed them straight in. I lost count of how many larvae met their fate this way, but I only came across one Japanese Beetle–on the Hibiscus, not the Rose of Sharon.  The two Rose of Sharon plants looked suspiciously pest free early this morning; will have to check up on them later.

This skirmish goes to me–but I came in a bit late in the game, so the victor of the battle itself remains to be seen.

King of the Garden

4 Jul

At the center of every flower bed, I have one focal flower. In Garden 3 (G3) that flower is a Hibiscus (Kopper King), and when it is in bloom, it commands attention. This year, it is more than 5 feet tall, though it didn’t start out that way. In fact, the first spring after I planted it, I thought I had killed it.  I dutifully cut it down in Fall 2010 to about 8 inches above the ground and let it settle in for the winter.  And then in Spring 2011, nothing happened. All other plants were emerging, but not the Kopper King.  I was about to dig it up in defeat one day when I noticed tiny shoots emerging around the old wood from the previous year. And those shoots took off. Kopper King may be a late bloomer, but it makes up for it with warp-speed growth.

In the lower left of the left-hand photo you can see the Kopper King on May 1, 2012. Well, actually, you can’t see it; the new shoots are still microscopic at this point. But you can see the upside-down flower pots I put around the old wood to keep Schnauzer 1 and Schnauzer 2 from trampling the new growth in their squirrel-chasing rampages through the flower beds. Two brand-new (2012) lilacs are in the background against the fence. The photo on the right shows the Kopper King one month later, in early June.  In less than a month, it grew to the height of the fence. Note the lovely copper-colored foliage.


Within a few weeks, the buds had emerged, and then began to open:


And voila, on July 4 — a flower the size of a dinner plate, one of many to come from a regal plant that more than earns its place in the garden.