Embellish Your Space - Benefit The Planet


The Dreaded Spotted Lanternfly

The Dreaded Spotted Lanternfly 0

Just the other day I lost my virginity. NO, It’s not what your thinking. Rather, I am speaking of becoming a card carrying member of the Spotted Lanternfly killing club.  No longer do I have to wonder what it might be like to squash that broad winged invader into a pile of bright wings and bug splat. Yes, it’s true...even the quiet ones score eventually. How did this monumentus event take place you ask?  Well, I was on a second story roof checking on a rogue tree that happened to be growing out of the chimney and out of the corner of my eye there it was. Flaunting its colors while warming itself in the afternoon sun it sat. My eyes lit up as I thought to myself of all the others doing their environmental duty and that I might be able to alleviate my own desire. I raised my foot high with extra might and slammed it down on the warm asphalt only to see the winged target jump just out of reach as the sole of my sneaker hit. Dang it! Them buggers be fast! They happen to jump more than they actually fly and they are quite good at it too.

My pulse quickened as I leapt myself and raised my foot once again in hopes that it would not get away and that I would miss my chance.  Once again the sole of my shoe came down with a thud. It was just on the late side for the second time. A few feet away the wings slightly fluttered in a can’t catch me manner. I can only imagine what this looked like from a distance. A guy two stories up running around on the roof and foot stomping most likely looks like a not the smartest thing in the world to do. I remind you that I have a Master’s degree, so let me be in my conquest. Haha.

As they say, the third time's the charm.  Kablaamm!!! Contact has been made and the nuisance pest has made its last getway. I must say that in all the humor that there is quite a bit of seriousness.  The Spotted Lanternfly is a true invader from China, India, Vietnam, and eastern Asia and very destructive. Invasive species such as this whether they be plant, animal or insect cause much environmental damage and cost billions of dollars in damages. There seems to be an extra large awareness of the Spotted Lanternfly. Rightfully so as agriculture is a large part of our economy. My hopes are that this also brings a larger awareness of all the others as well.The negative consequences of invasive species are far-reaching, costing the United States billions of dollars in damages every year.

Compounding the problem is that these harmful invaders spread at astonishing rates. Usually non native species have no predators or environmental controls to keep them in check. Just use the Burmese Python’s devastation of the Florida Everglades as proof of that. Such infestations of invasive plants and animals can negatively affect property values, agricultural productivity, public utility operations, native fisheries, tourism, outdoor recreation, and the overall health of an ecosystem. All in all there is no joking concerning the Spotted Lanternfly or any other invasive species. 

#invasive species

  • Thomas McTaggart
Watering- To Be or not To Be

Watering- To Be or not To Be 0

Although the Spring rains have been plentiful as of late we gardeners need to always keep in mind the watering of our plants in order for optimal success.  Seems simple right? Have a plant or two or a bazillion and just sprinkle them a bit every now and then. Things will be fine. Well, not exactly, having owned a landscape design firm I came across my fair share of issues regarding the correct way to water and the amount of water that plants need to succeed.

Unintentionally we tend to inflict abuse on our plants whether they be indoors or outdoors.  I have been asked countless times by both clients and friends, “What is wrong with my plants?” Only to witness time and time again droopy leaves and rock hard soil. “Looks like it needs water” I would respond only to be told that the plants were watered.  Sometimes we forget and sometimes we just take for granted that it is 95 degrees outside and that wetting the top of the soil four or five days ago is not sufficient. Now of course there are different requirements for certain types of plants , but even “drought tolerant” plants do not like to be bone dry. Remember that plants don’t have the ability to stop off at the local mini mart to get Gatorade when it is crazy hot out and they feel parched. When it’s hot out we adjust ourselves accordingly.  We need to keep that in mind regarding our plants as well.

It is best to water plants very well and deeply less often than it is to just spritz the top of the soil fast and frequently. The top of the soil dries quickly and the moisture at the top draws the roots up instead of downward. A good rule of thumb is to stick a finger in the soil around the base of the plant. If it feels dry then a good watering is needed. Of course as we mentioned earlier that different plants can have varied requirements and we can get much more specific regarding that, but this is a good general guide for better success and happier plants:)

  • Thomas McTaggart
Haverford Home and Garden Show

Haverford Home and Garden Show 0

We are proud to be part of the 2019 Haverford Home and Garden Show.

Sunday May 19th  https://haverfordhomeandgardenshow.org/

Come see our fun and cool products in person for some unbeatable deals!!

See you there!!!

  • Mile High Themes Collaborator
Plant Worthy

Plant Worthy 0

Some plants are easy. Some plants are work.  Some are more work than others. In this case we have a plant that is a bit of a job.  Not so much in its survival, but in getting it to bloom in its spectacular self. Clivias or Kaffir Lilies are native to Southern Africa and need special conditions to persuade it not only to blossom , but to bloom correctly.  When trying to make plants bloom that are not in their natural habitat we try to reproduce its natural element. In this particular case we are looking for dry and very cool conditions in our winter months. I keep my Clivia outside in a mostly high light area with almost no direct sun from mid spring until frost. Once frost has become a possibility the plant is brought onto an unheated sun porch for the remainder of winter and watered very sparingly only to keep it from going completely dry.  Now here is where it gets a bit interesting. Due to the unheated nature of my sun porch on really cold winter nights the temperature on the porch will drop below freezing so the plant must be brought into a cooler area of the heated home. So this dance of bringing it back and forth becomes a norm all winter. And yes this bugger is quite heavy at this point!.

Now, once the flower buds begin to emerge from the foliage the plant must still remain in a cooler area before being brought inside to enjoy.  If the temps are too warm while in bud the flowers will not extend above the foliage and bloom down inside the leaves. Not what you want. You want them to show their pretty little faces right?

In conclusion, yes this plant is a bit of a job and might frustrate at times: however, this beauty is worth the dance and the reward is pretty darn good! At least till I have to pick it back up to move it outside:)

  • Thomas McTaggart