Collected Wisdom





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Email anytime for more information on our services and gardening classes -

Evelyn @ GardenPossibilities. com




Some helpful articles to explore -

Coping with the 
dastardly Lily beetle.

Shrub Pruning Tips

Black Walnut allelopathy
and the toxin, Juglone

Winter Garden Protection

Seed starting 

Correct planting of 
new trees & shrubs

Increasing Drought Tolerance.

"Low"maintenance gardening?




Sometimes the very best gardening advice comes from sharing stories and experiences with other gardeners.  Here are some articles I've put together with the help of collected bits of shared wisdom, along with help from some great books and the web to fill in any blanks.  Hope some of this helps solve your gardening problems. 

(Here's my very best tip though - set your recording device for 12:30 on Monday's so that you don't miss even a minute of the best gardening show going - CBC Ontario Today's Gardening Phone-in show with Ed Lawrence.  He's a wealth of sound, sane, friendly, knowledgeable, experienced, and most important - unbiased, advice.) 

Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Purpurea'
experiment with some of the many Euphorbias.  There's nothing like them for rich foliage colour and neat plant form. Their early spring chrome yellow flowers is just a welcome bonus!



Lily Beetle  - Yikes!     A control plan.
A bright orangy red, 1/4" long beetle, that can destroy your Oriental Lily bulbs.
Not an easy garden pest to control if you grow Oriental Lilies.  
Here's your battle plan!  By Evelyn Wolf, Garden Possibilities!

Lily Beetle control, battle plan.  GARDEN POSSIBILITIES.  A detailed battle plan to keep this ravaging pest out of your bed of oriental lilies.

This devastating garden pest attacks, and lays its eggs on, Lillium species mainly – the stunning bulb Lily family of plants. 


Lily Beetle was first discovered in North America in 1992, most likely hitch-hiking in a shipment of Lily bulbs from Europe.  It has since spread throughout the northeast to the complete demise of gorgeous Lily beds everywhere.  For years collectors tried product after product for control, but the Lily Beetle’s tenacity was no match.


Unlike most other garden pests, Lily Beetle (Liloceris lilii), has no natural predator on this continent, which is how they’ve been so successful in their aggressive march through Lily beds here, unlike in their home European territory.  They are strong fliers so can seek out their target, but their eggs are also moved around on host plants - i.e. your new Lily bulb purchase! 

Adult Beetles are easy to spot - bright orangey-red, square-ish, and about 1/2" long.   Their larvae are mushy slug-like things with swollen bodies and black heads that look just like a little slimy mass of fresh bird droppings.  The fecal matter analogy isn't so off-base either!  Larvae cover themselves with their own fecal matter to deter predators.  (That’ll work!)


Life Cycle:   Adults over-winter in the soil’s surface, emerge in spring (in sync with the emerging lily foliage),Lily Beetle larvae look like a bird has pooped all over your lilies!  and immediately mate.  (Early to mid May you'll find adults tucked into the leaf joints - often in pairs busy mating.).  Soon after mating, females lay brownish-orange eggs on the undersides of foliage that hatch within 4-8 days.  (Mid to late May, routinely check the undersides of leaves for an orange line of clustered tiny eggs).  This more or less brings us to early June here in the northeast, when you'll see the young larvae initially feeding on the undersides of the foliage, but later on the upper surfaces, stems, and buds. If you where vigilant about getting the adults and crushing the eggs, you shouldn't end up with too many larvae.


This larval feeding phase of their life cycle is the most destructive as they voraciously munch holes in leaves to the point of leaving nothing behind, and lasts for 16-24 days.  The happily fattened larvae then drop to the soil to pupate.  New adults emerge 16-22 days later (which brings us to more or less early August) and the new adults feed on your Lilies for the rest of the season. These are the ones that will tuck into the soil over winter and begin the cycle again in spring.  


Each female beetle produces 250-450 eggs.  That’s a lot of lily beetles!  Left unchecked they’ll overrun and demolish any host plants in the vicinity within just a year.


Management:  If you focus on the Lily Beetle’s life cycle, it's easy to see when you can be effective in controlling this devastating pest.  Cultivate the soil surface in late fall searching for new adults bedding down for winter.  In early spring, just as lily foliage is emerging, the beetles will too.  Be vigilant for a couple of weeks and hunt down the emerging adults that can be found hiding in nooks all over the plant, before they have a chance to mate.  (Trickier than it sounds since they have the uncanny ability to sense your thoughts and drop to the ground just a fraction of a second before your thumb and forefinger closes around them!).  A week or so later start another search and destroy mission each day, this time looking for eggs and newly hatched larvae.  In early August watch for new adults.


Avoiding the Problem:  If you’ve grown Lilies successfully in the past without meeting this nasty pest, don't be too smug!  With just one new un-inspected purchase the situation can change quickly.  When purchasing new lily bulbs, or accepting a gift from a gardening neighbour, rinse them thoroughly before they even get near your garden, and make sure the rinse water goes down a drain.  Remember, you're looking for bright red adults or slug-like larvae in the soil - not eggs, so they should easily rinse away if present.  Inspect them thoroughly! 


In the case of potted bulbs already growing, rinse them nevertheless.  The growing plants will be weakened, by they won’t die.  Wash away all soil that’s in among the roots using room temperature water, and also inspect stems and foliage for eggs.  Even just one beetle that makes it into your garden can begin the ravaging cycle, so don’t let your eagerness to get your new plants into the ground deter you from a thorough de-bugging.  


Even with vigilance, once you've got Lily Beetle you've likely got them for good.  Control is the best you can hope for.  Focus on its life cycle so you know what to watch for, when.  With a watchful eye, a battle plan calendar, and a gloved hand, you'll be able to keep their population down to a manageable level and continue enjoying your beautiful Oriental Lilies.


Evelyn Wolf, Garden Possibilities!




In my new home, I am surrounded by Black Walnut 
trees so I'm busy collecting information on the 
allelopathic toxin called Juglone
and which plants 
are most susceptible to it.  If anyone has any experience 
with this frustrating problem, please share!  Much of the 
information I've collected so far traces back to only a few 
original sources so any first hand information would be 
welcomed before I kill too many plants!  










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consultations - design & planting - expert shrub pruning - garden maintenance - workshops and classes. 
Over 25 years experience designing, creating, maintaining, talking about, teaching, and writing about, perennial plants and gardens!

This type of loose topiary, or bonsai-like pruning is the best thing to do with an old overgrown evergreen, instead of ripping it out.Email:

GARDEN POSSIBILITIES  Perennial Garden Services
Evelyn Wolf, garden consultant,  905 478-7395 or cell 289-716-1408
                               your perennial garden expert

20507 Leslie St.  (NE corner of Leslie & Queensville Sdrd.  By appt. only please.). 
Queensville (East Gwillimbury), Ontario, L0G 1R0  

All photos and articles © Evelyn Wolf, 2018.