Friday, July 29, 2011

Aphid Invasion

My milkweed plant is covered with yellow aphids! Looking at the plant makes my skin crawl.

Every flower cluster on every stem is swarming with yellow aphids!

I didn't want to spray the milkweed with a pesticide because its a host plant for the Monarch caterpillar. The solution had to be non-chemical......ladybugs!

Ladybugs love to eat yellow aphids. I already had a handful of ladybugs living in my garden but they were out numbered and needed help. I got online and ordered 750 ladybugs from a supplier in California. 750 ladybugs seems like a ton of bugs but its really not.....that was the smallest amount you could purchase. The largest amount was 5000!

Tuesday I ordered my ladybugs and by Thursday afternoon they were at my house. It only cost $14 for my 750 ladybugs with free priority mail shipping!

The ladybugs came in cardboard box with a small plastic tupperware container that housed the ladybugs. There was a mesh screen on top for air flow.

If you are interested in buying ladybugs, you have to store them in the refridgerator until last evening or early morning. My bugs stayed in the fridge all night until I released them at 6AM. Before releasing them, mist the shrub that you want to inhabit. They will need a drink of water before eating any insects. Open the container at the base of the plant and the ladybugs will climb up!

The plastic container had straw for the ladybugs and I dumped that out at the base of the milkweed and watched them go!

I checked the progress of the ladybugs at 9AM and they had reached the top portions of my milkweed and were eating yellow aphids! They probably feel like they are at an "all you can eat" buffet!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

On the 15th of every month gardeners take pictures of blooming plants in their garden. Since its so hot here, I don't have many flowers blooming. The die hard tough plants are blooming now--Black eyed Susans, Salvia and Gailardia.

This is Gaillardia AKA Blanket Flower and it is a tough plant! No matter how hot it gets (and its very hot/humid in south Louisiana) it keeps on blooming. Doesn't need much water either.

Butterfly Bush 'Nanho Blue' has light purple/lavender flowers all over the bush. This is my first time growing Butterfly Bush and I love it! To keep flowers coming, pinch off the spent blooms.

I love my Milkweed! It blooms alot and I love the orange color in my garden. Plus, its the only host plant for Monarchs. I had two Monarch caterpillars this year but they didn't stay in my yard too long. They flew away once they turned into butterflies.

This is my favorite salvia, Indigo Spires. The bloom stalks are at least 10 inches long and it stays covered with flowers all season long!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Atchafalaya Basin Fishing Trip

This morning we went fishing in Bayou Sorrell near Plaquemine, LA in the Atchafalaya Basin Spillway. I love going to the Spillway because of the beautiful scenery. There are plenty of bald cypress trees (state tree of LA) and lots of wildlife.

The above picture was our first fishing spot but the boat couldn't pass since the bayou was choked with water lilies.

See the dark stains on the bottom of the tree trunk? Thats from high water when the Spillway was opened to relieve the flooding of the Mississippi River.

Front and back view of an old houseboat.

This is an Egret and we saw these brids all day. They sit on a log and wait for minnows to swim by and strike at them with their long beaks.

These are my new water shoes, they are Keen McKenzies and are good for fishing or canoeing because water drains out but no rocks can go in.

After several hours of fishing and not even one bite, we went home. We had fun just being out in the Spillway.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Baby Mockingbird

While I was at work today, Dave spotted a baby mockingbird in our carport. He was able to snap these pictures and move the bird back to the yard where the mom was waiting.

Stay tuned later in the week for a blog post about fishing in the Atchafalaya Basin! My dad, Dave and me are going fishing Friday morning and hopefully I can catch lots of fish and photograph wildlife.