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Help! The greeblies have gotten my geranium! May 24, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, gardening, Uncategorized.
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Silence Dogood here. This weekend, I noticed that some kind of greeblie had gotten all over the stems of one of my pelargoniums (aka zonal geraniums). It’s my biggest, and I’ve had it for years with no problems, so I was horrified. (In fact, the only problem any of my pelargoniums has ever had is my sporadic winter watering in the greenhouse.)

Needless to say, the plant is now off the deck and well out in the backyard away from all the other house/greenhouse plants. And after close inspection, I can say with some confidence that whatever it is isn’t on any other plant.

But what is it, and where did it come from? It looks like the kind of hard frost that makes tiny icicle-like crystals stand out from the stem. The stems are coated with these greeblies, which appear to be multiplying rapidly. But they don’t fly or even move. Perhaps it’s a disease, but experience tells me to think bug. Hmmm, that would be a mealybug or scale insect, I thought. But it doesn’t resemble cottony cushion scale or any mealybug that I can find a photo of.

So help, please! What is this, and what should I do about it? Will neem save my poor plant, or am I going to have to get out some cotton balls and alcohol and (eeewwww!!!) rub the stems down by hand?

Eeeewwww. Miserable greeblies!

               ‘Til next time,



When autumn met summer (and it was love at first sight). September 30, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, homesteading, wit and wisdom.
Tags: , , ,

Silence Dogood here. I was just driving through the little townlet of Maxatawny en route to my bank, admiring roadsides lushly covered with the white and lavender asters, goldenrod, and white-flowered nettles that proclaim the arrival of fall.

But once on the main (and as far as I can tell, only) street through Maxatawny,  I came upon an amazing plant combination that I would never, ever have expected. Someone had planted a small-flowered white aster that, unlike its wild cousins, had great clouds of white bloom, behind a standard red-flowered zonal geranium (pelargonium).

To see those brilliant red summer flowers blazing in front of the white cloud of autumn blooms was heart-stopping. Intentional, or an accident? Whatever the case, the result was inspired. It made my breath catch, even as I was driving along focusing on making a desperately needed bank deposit, and that’s saying something.

If I weren’t such a Luddite, I’d have stopped and clicked a picture. As it is, you’ll have to make that picture for yourselves. Red stars suspended in front of a white cloud, transforming a plant many of us take for granted (the zonal geranium) into a plant with unparalleled pizazz. Far from fading out as autumn took its turn, in this case summer was teaching us that sometimes, the best really is yet to come.

        ‘Til next time,