"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. " ~Lindley Karstens

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It Is Not Always Pretty

By no mistake, my gardening passion all started with pure admiration for the beauty. The endless beauty of the plant world gives me the great temptation that I can not resist.

With one short year of gardening experience, I also quickly learned that it is not always pretty around the garden, and that perspective is still the hard part for me to deal with. 

Like what I found on my new Angel's Trumpet (Brugmansia) leaves...  I caught two of these in the act!  I used two sticks to grab these two big guys off before they could nibble away all the leaves. 

What is this?? Except eating the leaves, do they do any other harms to the plants?

Ugh!  The below one really grossed me off!!!   These are two leaves I took off from my Lantana.  There are more of these ugly leaves on the same plant.  

My fellow gardeners, please help me to identify this pest, and what should I do with it to save my lantana?

I experienced the same thing last year with the lantana planted in the same spot. I sprayed with fungicide, and seems did not do much good. The plant stopped blooming all the sudden. When this plant regrow its leaves after this past winter's freeze, I was glad that new leaves looked healthy, and it even quickly bloomed. I thought the freeze might have killed whatever that has bothered it. I guess I laughed too early, now the same nightmare came back again!

Ok, enough of the ugliness.  I need some beauty to help me calm down...  Here are some of flowers currently blooming in my garden.

Rose corner is still going strong although some leaves have started some black spots.  It seems not impacting  the blooms though...

Peace (with color variation)

Double Delight

Desert rose (Adenium Obesum) is blooming its heart out!  Some cluster contains more than 20 flowers, which made the branch so heavy that it bended down.

Desert Rose (Adenium Obesum )
These marigolds are the ones I started from seeds this year.
These pink vincas are self seeded from last year's plants.  They grow like a weed without much care.

Vinca (Periwinkle)

New addition to the garden... Love the purple leaves and white flower combination.
Charmed Wine Oxalis
Ok, now I need to go back to think about how to get rid of those ugliness shown in the beginning...


  1. No, it's not always pretty, as well as the life of human beings. Just take them, not a big deal! :)

  2. Aw, that green caterpillar is pretty, I think. It seems to be some type of sphinx moth caterpillar (aka hornworm). These turn into the big moths that are sometimes called hawkmoths or hummingbird moths for the manner in which they hover and feed. I love these moths and see them occasionally in my garden. I've never had the caterpillars do extreme damage, though I guess they could, especially if you are growing tomatoes or peppers. I think your lantana could have sooty mold. Just guessing. Sooty mold is caused by honeydew secretions left by tiny pests such as aphids or whiteflies. Your roses are beautiful as usual!

  3. I agree with Floridagirl on the caterpillar. It is some type of sphinx moth though I don't know which one. Usually they won't devastate your garden but you might move it off the brugmansia. The lantana looks like one I had that was too close to the sprinkler and stayed too wet. Lantana likes a dry, hot place in the garden. Your roses are so pretty!

  4. Sorry about the "uglies"! As you can tell from all of my coverage of the cold damage, I think that mentioning the negative is very important because it helps those who are also experiencing it. I think the most important info we can get on the internet deal with "problems" and how to fix them, what doesn't work, etc.
    The lantana does look like it has sooty mold, which can be reduced by more air circulation. Sometimes the insects that secrete honeydew are drawn to the plant because it is weakened by something else too!

  5. Muggle: Good attitude! I guess you have been in gardening world longer than me, so it is normal for you, right? :)

    FG: Thanks! At least the caterpillar can be just removed. I was kind of freaked out by it. The info about the sooty mold is very useful. I think I might need to relocate my lantana to a more dry and better air circulation location.

    NanaK: Thanks! That makes sense. The lantana did very well when it was young last year since the plants around it are all small and it had lots of space for ais circulation. But after the plants become more crowded, this issue surfaced up. I will find another spot to relocate the plants, or remove some plants around it.

    RFG: Totally agree that sometimes it is more important to show the ugliness and the "fix" for the benefit of lesson-learned for others and myself. I will relocate the lantana. If it fixes issue, I will post another update on this one. Thanks for the info!

  6. Ami,
    your roses are lovely! and the desert rose has so many flowers, mine just has one long stalk, but is putting out another branch, cant wait for it to look like yours. For any kind of fungus or mould you might try a spray of skim milk diluted about 10%, spray it over the whole plant, it works well in this area.

  7. Hi, Ami. Just wanted to let you know I got two e-mail notifications of your comments on my gloriosa post. Yours and a couple others are not showing up for some reason. ??? I don't know why.

  8. AfricanAussie: Thanks for the suggestion! I certainly will try the milk solution. It is the peak blooming time for the desert rose in my garden. I think it is all related to the warm weather. It did not bloom a lot during the fall and winter seasons. Your place is now fall, right? If it does bloom a lot, then I am sure it will when it is spring time for you.

  9. Hi Ami, i've read your email but forgot all about it again for the day, sorry, and i have to read my comment which triggered that response to just privately write you, hehe. I love that caterpillar, it looks so healthy, if i am the garden owner i will just let it anyway it is just one and will not finish all the leaves before it pupates. But i am not you, so you decide, i am not letting you feel guilty! haha. I agree with the prior comments, lantana leaves got soaked so the molds entered. Cutting the diseased ones and not watering them for a while or efficient air circulation will do the trick...I still pity the larvae though, i'am sorry Ami for this!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. It is amazing how well caterpillars hide so well. I don't know what is wrong with your Lantana...we are dry and are spared some fungal diseases. Your roses are just lovely, especially your Double Delight.

  12. Hey Ami,
    Your roses are so delightful to see and the photos are breathtaking. When I see them it makes me want to buy some.

    No, all the garden is not always easy but we learn and we grow along with the garden and we realize it is just part of the process. You are doing a remarkable garden for only such a short period of time.

    I'm sure you've moved your tomato hornworm or you are letting it eat until its next stage by now. Here, I let them eat away if they have not chosen my tomato plants to eat. Then I move them. The plant they choose to eat will look tattered (depending on instar stage) but will not be harmed usually (unless plant is very small/young). In any case they are easily relocated. And you will love the pretty moth it becomes.

    This from the Internet: Biological control
    ~~ Tomato hornworm larvae are also parasitized by a number of insects. One of the most common is a small braconid wasp, Cotesia congregatus. Larvae that hatch from wasp eggs laid on the hornworm feed on the inside of the hornworm until the wasp is ready to pupate. The cocoons appear as white projections protruding from the hornworms body.

    To me this is an amazing act of nature taking care of itself. Which is why we advocate live and let live where the insects are concerned~~ the good taking care of the bad ... if possible.

    The lantana leaves don't look like sooty mold to me. Sooty mold is an obvious mold that sits on top of the leaf. The lantana (as best I can see from the photo) leaves look as if the problem is happening 'within' the leaves. Here is a link to some information on sooty mold. Which in and of itself doesn't harm but looks pretty ugly.

    It definitely looks like some kind of fungus (maybe just from staying too wet) but hard to tell from the photos. The best thing to do is to take a branch of it to a local reputable garden center (not big box). Ask for the manager or owner. They will more than likely quickly identify it on sight and help you with what you need to do to resolve the issue.

    Anyway, sorry so rambling... the rest of your garden is looking marvelous and much to rejoice about. Soon your lantana will be happy again, too. Have a great day!

  13. Hi Ami your roses are so beautiful. I think its good to let other gardeners see how we overcome problems in the garden - its not all rosy out there - no garden is perfect. I hope you can tackle the problems in yours........ you've had so much good advice already from the comments I've read.

  14. Andrea: I do feel a little guilty now about the caterpillar :( But I am also glad that I learned something new by posting this. Please check the email I sent to you. Thanks!

    Noelle: Thanks. I have another lantana in a more open area, which doesn't have the same problem, so I am convinced that is something to do with the air circulation.

    Meems: Once again, I appreciate you spent much time to leave me a long comment here.

    There are lots of other florida gardeners having success with Roses, you may want to try again. For me, I am still waiting to see how the summer will do to my roses. Mine are all hybrid tea roses, which are not ideal for Florida environment. Others have good success with antique and knockout roses.

    As of the caterpillars, I only know it is not a threat to my plants after reading yours and others' comments. Now I feel guilty to have removed them. But I will know what to do next time. I guess this is part of learning, from lessons. Thanks for the links for the information!

    When I got time, I will relocate the lantana to a more open area to see if it will get better. Thanks!

    Rosie: Thanks for kind encouragement. I am definetly learning a lot from all fellow gardeners!

  15. I wish I knew the answer. Sounds like you got some good advice. I had to take a tree sample to our nursery the other day and they identified the problem rather quickly. Good to know bout the problems, too.
    Your roses are beautiful!!

  16. I am the same way; I can’t tolerate ugliness in my garden. Sorry I can’t help you with the lantana I never had that problem. The picture of the desert rose is magnificent

  17. I live in your zone and this is the first year I have grown lantana, although I have many years of gardening experience here. My lantana looked similar to yours and I believe it may be damage from lanatana lace bug. You may want to check the University Florida description. Of course I realize this is an old post, so you may have already confirmed what the problem was ;).


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...