HOW CAN YOU GET RID OF THE RED LILY BEETLE?



So how do you kill the scarlet lily beetle? This is quite possibly the best question I have asked this summer. Why, because my prized Nepalese lilies are covered in them and I have already spent over an hour this morning popping and squishing both the red adults and their evil looking larval children. My first recommendation is to wear gloves when commencing this course of action but unfortunately I saw red (how appropriate) as I cast my eyes over the ravaged mess that was once luxuriant foliage.

The problem with lily beetles is that when they are disturbed, they have this irritating habit of dropping to the ground and lying motionless on their backs. This makes it the devils own job to try and find them if your lilies are growing in the ground. Furthermore, if left unchecked, lily beetles will couple frantically and lay their eggs hidden from view on the underside of the lilies leaves.

In a further attempt to avoid discovery, the dull orange larvae will first hatch, then cover themselves with excreta to deter predators allowing themselves to feast on both the lily leaves and flowers with impunity!

Once they have had their fill they will drop to the floor and bury themselves in the soil beneath your plants in order to pupate before hatching out in their scarlet adult form. In this manner they are more than capable of producing multiple generations in a single year. This is why it is important to regularly check your lily plants late in the season, even when there are no longer any flowers. You really cannot take your eye of the ball with regards to this.

Control

Because of the juveniles effective camouflage and the adults capacity to hid and drop out of site, squashing lily beetles as a control method may not be particularly practical, although it can me extremely satisfying. As a far more effective measures go - and particularly with heavy infestations - you may need to apply a systemic insecticidal spray.

While this may not be an environmentally ethical method of controlling lily beetle, at least it will work, but I will advise that you do not apply this group of chemicals to you plants while they are in flower, otherwise beneficial pollinating insects can be seriously affected.

Alternatively, use a contact insecticide such as Permethrin, one of the Pyrethroid insecticides. Just be aware that you will need to apply Permethrin on a regular basis and it will only kill what it touches. As mentioned before, do not spray the flowers as again, it will kill beneficial pollinating insects.

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Based on an article by http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/6169622/Pests-how-to-get-rid-of-lily-beetles.html
Photo care of http://www.ashdongardeningclub.co.uk/ and http://www.rainydaymagazine.com/RDM2005/RDMHomeMay2005.htm

ORGANIC CONTROL OF CARROT FLY



Carrot fly is a small black-bodied fly whose larvae feed on the roots of carrots and related plants. In fact carrot fly is the most problematic pest of carrots, able to make the large proportion of your carrot crop inedible!

What are the symptoms of carrot fly?

You can generally spot carrot fly from rusty brown scars that ring the tap roots. This makes the carrot inedible, and susceptible to secondary rots.

When the roots are cut through, you will see that small tunnels are revealed, often inhabited by slender creamy-yellow maggots up to 9mm long.

Organic control

1. Sow your carrot seed sparsely to avoid thinning the seedlings out later on.

2. Female carrot flies searching for egg-laying opportunities are attracted by the smell released when surplus carrot seedlings are removed. With that in mind, never leave your thinnings on the ground - always remove and destroy.

3. Late sown carrots (after mid-May) avoid the first generation of this pest; similarly carrots harvested before late August avoid the second generation.

4. Protect vulnerable crops by surrounding them with 2ft) high barriers made of clear polythene to exclude the low-flying female flies. Alternatively, cover the plants with horticultural fleece. It is essential to practise crop rotation when growing carrots, otherwise adult carrot flies may emerge within the protected crop from overwintered pupae in the soil.

5. Choose carrot cultivars that are less susceptible to carrot fly, such as 'Fly Away', 'Maestro', 'Resistafly' and 'Sytan'. Be aware however that there is no such thing as a carrot fly proof variety, only carrot fly resistant.

6. A mixture of pathogenic nematodes, can be watered into the soil to control the young larvae. This is available by mail order from biological control suppliers.

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How to Make a Natural and Organic Insecticide for Aphids
How to Make your Own Organic Pyrethrum Insecticide
How to Recognise Potato Blight
How to Recognise Vine Weevil Damage on Plants
How to Save and Recover an Over-watered Plant
Organic and Cultural Control of Potato Blight
Organic Control of Aphids on Lettuce
Organic Control of Aphids on Roses
Organic Control of Codling Moth
Organic Control of Grey Mould on Tomato Plants
Organic Control of Vine Weevils
Pests and Diseases of Box Hedging Plants
Pests and Diseases of Hellebores
Pests and Diseases of Watercress
Poinsettia Pests and Diseases
Primrose and Cowslip Pests and Diseases
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Sacrificial Planting
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Based on an article by http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?pid=485
Photo care of http://gardentherapy.ca/tag/carrot-rust-fly/ and http://www.self-sufficient.co.uk/Carrot-Fly.htm

BUY ANGEL'S TRUMPET SEED


If you are looking to buy angels trumpet seed, you are in luck. The 'Garden of Eaden' seed shop now has angels trumpet seed in stock as part of its standard range.

‘Angels Trumpet’ is the common name associated with plants from either the Datura or the Brugmansia family and for good reason to – both of these spectacular natives of South America will make a stunning addition to any tropical effect garden.

Often confused with its close relation the Datura, the Brugmansia is distinctly different in that it can grow as large into a small tree whereas Datura's are annuals and will only attain the size of a small bush. In addition, the majority of Brugmansia will display their dramatic flowers pointing downwards while those of a Datura will point upwards.

As a generalisation, the Angel's Trumpet, is a large, shrub-like, fragrant flowering plant that behaves like an annual in colder climates, although it can survive winters as far north as zone 5. However, young seedlings will fare better if they don't face a late spring frost. Start seeds indoors, and transplant them after the last expected spring frost date.

Sow Angels Trumpet seed from February to March. To help with germination, soak Angels Trumpet seed in warm water for 24 hours before sowing.

Place seed on the surface of lightly firmed, moist seed compost in pots or trays and cover with a fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Gently water, then seal container inside a polythene bag and keep at a temperature of between 15-20ÂșC. After sowing, do not exclude light as this helps germination. Try to keep the surface of the compost moist but not waterlogged. The seed should germinate within 14-30 days.


When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings into 3in pots or trays. Plant out once plants are well grown approximately 5ft apart or transplant into 10in containers. For best results, provide a moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Do not feed the plants at this point, but water well.

Provide a minimum winter temperature of 7C  (they may need to be brought in under protection to achieve this) and reduce watering over the winter. Angel's Trumpet plants require minimal pruning, and the removal of old flower heads - although plants can be cut back to base during spring to rejuvenate every few years.

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Photo care of http://www.jaxshells.org/datura.htm and http://www.garden.ie/whatsnew.aspx?id=77&archive=1002 and http://explorepharma.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/datura-stramonium/

ROME: Villa Adriana - Tivoli




The ancient remains found at Villa Adriana are part of a site covering an area of at least 80 hectares. Constructed at Tibur (modern-day Tivoli) in 117 A.D, Villa Adriana began its existence as an imperial palace far away from the city of Rome. It remains one of the most remarkable examples of imperial and dynastic palace and has been recognised as such by being appointed as a Human Heritage Monument by UNESCO.

Little is left of the magnificent decoration of the Villa - the result of treasure hunting excavations and the consistent theft of its brick and marble. Through out the centuries it had been common practice to remove marble so that it could be burned to make lime. Because so few marble fragments survive, most of today's visitors to Villa Adriana have no idea that this place was almost entirely paved with luxury marble pavements. Further more, the walls were completely covered from top to bottom with marble panels.

Rumour has it that the Emperor Hadrian disliked his imperial palace on the Palatine Hill so much that during the later years of his reign, he actually governed the Roman Empire from his villa at Tibur. How did he achieve this? By creating a dedicated postal service that ran from Villa Adriana to Rome 18 miles away to the west.

After Hadrian’s death, the villa remained in use by his various successors, but during the decline of the Roman Empire, Villa Adriana fell into disuse and was partially ruined. But it didn’t all go to waste. In the 16th century Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este - son of Lucretia Borgia – was granted the position of Governor of Tivoli. In this position of considerable power he had much of the marble and statues found at Hadrian's villa removed and used to decorate his own Villa - Villa D'Este - which was located nearby.


Even if they are almost two thousand years old, the ruins at Villa Adriana remain imposing, and have fascinated architects and artists throughout the ages. Visiting the site in search of inspiration, they copied the shapes of the domes and tried to uncover, and then master, their technical building secrets. By walking around the grounds of Villa Adriana, you are treading in the footsteps of Master as this place was visited and studied by the likes of Raphael, Michelangelo, and Borromini.

One of the most striking and best preserved features of the Villa are a pool and an artificial grotto which were named Canopus and Serapeum, respectively. Canopus was an Egyptian city which housed a temple was dedicated to the god Serapis – hence the name Serapeum. However, the architecture is Greek influenced as can be seen in the Corinthian columns and copies of famous Greek statues that surround the pool. One story involves the Serapeum and its peculiarly-shaped dome. A prominent architect of the day, Apollodorus of Damascus, dismisses Hadrian's designs, comparing the dome on Serapeum to a pumpkin! Apparantly, Aplooldorus was quoted as saying "Go away and draw your pumpkins. You know nothing about these [architectural] matters." Once Hadrian became emperor, Apollodorus was exiled and later put to death.

Another interesting structure in the Villa is the so-called "Maritime Theatre’ which consists of a round portico with a barrel vault supported by pillars. Inside the portico was a ring-shaped pool with a central island. During the ancient times the island was connected to the portico by two drawbridges. On the island sits a small Roman house complete with an atrium, a library, a triclinium and small baths. The area was probably used by the emperor as a retreat from the busy life at the court.

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Rome: Gladiator
Rome: The Coliseum
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Villa d'Este
Photographs of Villa Adriana by me, if you want to use some for your own stuff then email me. You will find it under my profile.

HOW FAST IS A SNAIL?



How fast is a snail? A more relevant question is perhaps '...how slow is a snail..?'

The answer is very slow indeed. In fact, someone when to the effort of recording the speed of a snail in 1970 and it turned out to be 0.00758 miles - equal to 40 feet or 12.2 meters - per hour.

However the information doesn't stop there! The fastest moving species of land snail - which is probably the common garden snail (Helix aspersa) - can travel at a rate of 0.03 miles (158.5 feet or 48.3 meters) per hour.

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Photo care of http://askville.amazon.com/Ole-Woolys-strange-useless-knowledge/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=56717881

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FRUIT AND A VEGETABLE?



On deciding on whether something is either a fruit or a vegetable you have two choices.

1. What is its true botanical description , while the other is...

2. What it is commonly considered to be?

The botanical definition of a fruit is the often fleshy part of a plant that surrounds the seeds. By this definition apples, pumpkins, eggplants, peppers, squashes, rose hips, peppers, beans, and corn kernels are all fruits. All other edible plant parts are considered vegetables. Lettuce, carrots, onions, rhubarb, potatoes and spinach for example are all vegetables.

The vegetable group can be sub divided further in to:

1. Roots
2. Tubers
3. Bulbs
4. Stems
5. Legumes
6. Aqueous
7. Leaves
8. Flower Heads
9. Fungi

The popular definitions of fruit and vegetable are somewhat different from the technical definitions. Most people will categorize 'vegetables' as foods that are eaten as part of a meal's main course and 'fruits' as foods that are eaten for dessert or as a snack.

So my question to you is this:

Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable - (you can't use 'salad' as an answer)

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Pictures care of me and http://feelgoodstyle.com/category/winter/
Based on an article by http://www.enotes.com/science-fact-finder/food-nutrition/what-difference-between-fruit-vegetable

HOW TO GROW HOLLY FROM SEED


Holly berries ripen in the late autumn, usually in November or December, which is why they make such great Christmas decoration. They sometimes remain on the tree throughout the winter, so could possibly be collected as late as April the following year. Berries are stripped from the trees by hand.

The collected berries should be separated from any twigs and ‘de-bunched’. They can be left in buckets or baskets for a week or two, provided they are stored in a cool, dry place.

You have a choice now. Do you want nature take its course or do you want to pre-treat the seed - stratification - to speed up germination?

Natures way

Mix the seeds with equal parts horticultural sand or a sand/compost mixture. Use 50% leafmould or peat-free compost and 50% horticultural sand. For each handful of seeds add two or three handfuls of mixture. Select a pot that has enough room for this seed/sand mixture (and a bit more) and put a layer of stones in the bottom. Cover the stones with sand. Place the seed/sand mixture on top of this and cover this with 2-3cm sand. Label the pot and stand in a shady spot outdoors.

The pot needs to remain outside for eighteen months. This is where patience is required! Water the pots if they show signs of drying out and protect from birds and mice if they discover your seeds. We will be sowing the seeds the second spring following collection. Holly seed has a very hard outer seedcoat that needs a full summer (warm temperatures) to break down, allowing oxygen and water to reach the embryo tree inside.

Stratification

You will need to stratify holly seeds in order to break the dormancy period. To achieve this, place a 1-inch layer of damp moss peat over the bottom of a zip top plastic bag. Place the holly seeds onto the moss peat and cover them with secondary 1-inch layer of damp moss peat.

Seal the zip top bag and store it at about 3 - 4 degrees Celsius for four to five months. The salad drawer in the bottom of your refrigerator will work well for this.

Remove the seeds from their chilled area in the spring or early summer as they will now be ready for sowing.

How to sow Holly Seeds

Plant the holly seeds out in a nursery bed in the garden. An area that has deep, loamy soil and full to part shade is ideal. Avoid areas that are prone to periods of standing water during the year.

Plant holly seeds ¾ to 1 inch deep and cover with soil. Keep the area damp with frequent, light water applications.

Place a tomato cage or other wire structure over the seedlings when they emerge to protect the young holly plants from being trampled.

Spread a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost over the seedbed to add nutrients to the soil and encourage strong seedling development. Keep the compost back 2 inches from the young holly plants to avoid smothering them.

Transplant the holly seedlings into their permanent position when they are 12 inches tall. Dig down 12 to 18 inches when transplanting to avoid damaging the taproot. Dig out the root ball 24 inches in diameter.

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Based on an article by http://www.ehow.com/how_8143594_grow-holly-bushes-seeds.html and http://treegrowing.btcv.org.uk/grow/tree-recipes/holly

Photo care of http://www.rampantscotland.com/colour/supplement051203.htm

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CURRANTS, RAISINS AND SULTANAS


Yes, that perennial question that fleets through the mind whenever you pick up a packet of dried fruit - well it does for me. Unfortunately, as soon as I put back the packet of dried fruit the question has long since disappeared - usually along with the reason why I took the packet out in the first place!

Be that as it may the differences between a current, a raisin and a sultana are as follows:

Raisins are dried white grapes usually of the variety 'Muscatel'. The main producers are the USA, Turkey, Greece and Australia

Sultanas are small raisins. They are seedless, sweet, pale golden in colour and come mainly from Turkey

Currants are dried, black, seedless grapes originally produced in Greece. They were known as 'raisins of the sun'.

And now you life will be many times improved. Enjoy your dried mixed fruit.

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Photo credits go to http://homecooking.about.com/b/2009/06/10/raisin-recipes.htm and 
http://www.fruitsofturkey.com/product/1021/dried-fruits/1022/sultana-raisin.aspx

WHY DO ONIONS MAKE YOU CRY?



Unless you've spent your life avoiding how to cook - you know who you are - you've probably cut up an onion and experienced the burning tears you get from the onion vapours. Why does this happen? Well, this is a natural responce that the onion has evolved in order to protect itself from those humans and animals who are trying to eating.

So how does an onion make you cry?

When you slice into an onion, you cut through the tiny plant cells within it, breaking them open so that they release their contents. Unfortunately, when this happens amino acids with in onions cells oxidise to form sulfenic acids. Other enzymes that were once kept separate are now are freely able to mix with naturally occuring sulfenic acids to produce propanethiol S-oxide. This is the volatile sulfur compound that wafts upward toward your eyes. This gas reacts with the water in your tears to form sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid burns your eyeballs, stimulating your eyes to release more tears to wash the irritant away.

As the tears run down your cheeks, they take the stinging chemical away with them, making your eyes feel better again.

You may have heard of the Scoville Scale Rating which is used to measure the 'hotness' of a pepper. Well, there is something similar for onions. Called the Pyruvate Scale, it measures the pungency in onions and garlic. To avoid the worst of having onion acid in your eyes, avoid cutting into the basel root of the onion.

You can thank me later!

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Photo care of http://www.demotivationalposters.org/86218 and http://www.saidaonline.com/en/news.php?go=newslist&catid=32&page=80&limit=10

WHY IS THE SEA SALTY?


CLICK HERE FOR THE 'SEEDS OF EADEN' SEED SHOP

Many parents live in dread of being asked a question by their child and not knowing the answer. Take this example ‘…why is sea water salty…? it seems simple enough but get the answer wrong and you could be on the road to having your child lose faith in your role as an – up ‘til now – all knowing figurehead.


However, all is not lost because the answer to why the sea is salty is simple enough.


The saltiness in our oceans is the result of millions of years of minerals leaching and dissolving from the stones and rocks found within the earth. While the largest proportion of dissolved salts comes from our rivers, a good quantity of these salts are dissolved from rocks and sediments below the ocean floor, and released through volcanic vents. To a lesser degree the weather is also a contributing factor as rain also deposits mineral particles into the oceans.

As time goes on the sun's heat distils or vaporizes almost pure water from the surface of the sea, and this leaves the salts and minerals behind. The water returns to the ocean, via rivers or rain washing down even more salt which becomes ever more concentrated. This process is part of the continual exchange of water between the Earth and the atmosphere that is called the hydrological or water cycle

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