Friday, September 14, 2018

Mid-September Update

Yay! My Paradise Garden is free of netting.

Hello everyone, it's been a month since I last posted and wanted to give an update on what's been happening in my gardens. After our usual intense summer heat, we had a couple weeks in which it rained almost every day -- I almost forgot what it was to water all my pots every day, since I didn't have to do it for two weeks. The cool weather and near-daily rain was welcome after we had been dry for while.

I also would like to give a recap about my Big Net, in case people are wondering how that worked out. As you might recall from my earlier posts, we've had a horrible Japanese beetle problem here, and they were destroying my roses, especially in my new Paradise Garden. So I came up with the idea of draping a Big Net over that entire garden:

Here's the PG a month ago. The Big Net actually worked very well, keeping the JBs off my roses, and I didn't mind the net at all.

But then disaster struck:
On August 28, a tornado warning, a ton of rain, and a huge windstorm with gusts recorded of up to 80 mph blew through here. I was home at the time, and I looked out the front windows and saw the net blowing straight out, horizontally (toward the viewer in the above photo), and saw that some of the garden was uncovered. After it was safe to come out of the basement, I went outside and saw that the net had been Torn Asunder:

Shredded. Back to the drawing board....

After this calamity, I was able to use paper binder clips to pin together the net in spots so it covered most of the garden again, although I had to keep a close eye on it on breezy days and re-adjust the net frequently.

During the cooler, rainy weeks, I hardly saw any JBs, so I finally took down the remains of the net a few days ago (I saved the two-thirds of it that wasn't shredded, to use on other shrubs or fruit trees next year). There are still a few remaining JBs now that it's turned warm and sunny again, but only a few -- not the mobs of them destroying my roses like before. I just go out a couple times a day and knock them into my soapy water cup, and the damage is quite limited. They'll likely be completely gone in another week or so.

The netting structure, partly disassembled. It's all packed away carefully for next year now.

Free at last! Filled with butterflies and hummingbirds, it really is a flower-filled Paradise.

The net really did help my roses avoid terrible damage -- they look great right now, as do the dahlias, marigolds and other flowers that JBs love to wreak destruction upon. I'm planning to buy another net next year and make a few engineering modifications to next year's edition:

  1. I need to reinforce the net with some kind of weather-resistant tape where I attach the grommets along the sides (those hold the net in place during wind and make headroom to walk under the net along the sides. 
  2. I need to cover the ends of the wood slats on the pergola at the back of the garden (maybe with tennis balls or something round and smooth), because their sharp ends were what caused most of the tearing of the net.
We'll give it another go next June, and see if it will work better, even in high winds.

These make all the trial and error worth it. If a Big Net is what I need to enjoy
my roses, that's what I'll use.

Still a lovely spot to sit and enjoy my flowers....

The Clematis paniculata is blooming incredibly generously, considering I just planted it in May, and you can see scented tuberoses and lavender at center, and lovely roses and sweet peas across the path. Heavenly scents all of them.

After the next few days of continuing warmer weather, it looks like it will cool down here and that might be the end of our summer weather. Hard to believe autumn is upon us. I've bought a few spring bulbs that are waiting to be planted, and there are still several improvements I need to make to garden areas this fall -- but it's a lot easier and more enjoyable to work once it's cooler.

I hope you are enjoying beautiful fall weather in your own gardens (and a few more warm summer days too!). Thanks for reading! -Beth