Lilies are plagued by the Red Lily Beetle but they are still my favourite summer flower. I have been working on my collection and my web pages about them for some time. This edition of Dallying is a bit later than usual because I was determined to finish the Lily pages and here they are. Enjoy and see why I fight the good fight with the little red devil.

Massive disappointment yesterday morning. One of my large Tuberous Begonias collapsed, leaving 2/3 of it on the deck just as the large salmon coloured blooms were opening. They just seem to get too heavy for the thinner bottom part of the stem to support. I have switched to a fertilizer with less nitrogen to slow the vegetative growth. I try not to water excessively so that they don’t start to rot at the soi line. The break does not appear to be rotted it just appears to be weak. More experiments and some research are required to see if I can find an answer to the problem. They will grow back but it was just coming into full bloom. The fancy, very expensive, Blackmore and Langdon Begonia is also just opening its first blooms and they show great promise. Pictures in the next edition of Dallying.

Tomatoes, fresh from the garden are one of the main reasons that we all grow a few veggies. I have had a few of the miniature varieties but the first of the big red beauties has just arrived. It is an interesting story. The main Tomatoes growing on my Tomato structure are doing very nicely. One of the Loblaw’s Gigantico plants we received was the large fruited Tomato variety, Big Beef. I planted it in front of one of the new Trellis that were constructed this spring. It has grown amazingly well despite having most of its sunlight from one side and it has just produced a couple of wonderful large red fruit, well ahead of the main crop. I will have to go out and buy my yearly pound of bacon to indulge in toasted bacon and tomato sandwiches, a summer time treat that the Assistant Gardener and I eagerly anticipate.

The hodge podge of things that were planted on those trellis have yielded some interesting results. The Big Beef Tomato was tied to the trellis once and then it seemed to grow tight against it by itself. Now I can see that the interplanting with the Morning Glories has produced some unexpected benefits. The rapidly growing Morning Glory vines have twined around the Tomato vine and are holding it tight to the trellis with out any further effort on my part. Mother Nature is showing me new, lazy gardening methods, yet again. The climbing Zucchini is up and over the 8 ft trellis and is producing wonderful tender fruit faster than we can consume them but that’s what Zucchini are famous for.

The rest of the trellises have produced a delightful wall of vegetation, on and between the trellis pieces. The Cucumbers are over the top and producing enough fruit to keep the neighbours happy and the giant sunflowers in between are creating a solid wall of vegetation to replace the privacy lost when the big Cedar hedge went through the chipper. Morning glories are also wrapping themselves around the thick stalks of those sunflowers, making a continuous wall of leaves and flowers. A true success story as this year’s new addition to our garden.

There is this apparent blank space in one of the front beds, until mid June or later and then this rapidly growing Hibiscus shoots up to at least a meter tall and on a good year, like this year, puts out a succession of rich pink blooms that are at least 15 cm across. It, like everything else, started a couple of weeks early this year and thus we are getting a great show of these blooms in the garden. I believe it is Hibiscus Moscheutos as there are very few Hibiscus that are hardy in my part of the world. I’m quite sure it makes a bigger shrub in warmer climes but here it is just root hardy. Nonetheless it is nice to have something so tropical and exotic looking blooming in the garden. If it would just show up a little earlier it would save me the annual June debate over whether it is dead or not. It has kept me guessing for at least ten years so it is probably here to stay for awhile.

The pole beans are just starting to bear pods and I’m waiting patiently. I am trying a few new varieties this year, some of which my son in the UK sent to me. One of them, Wisley Magic, has a long flower stalk that sticks out from the vine and bears several brilliant red flowers. The package says it has delicious pods that bear over a long season. So far it looks good.

Keeping up to date on gardening activities can be followed on a more frequent basis by checking the front page of my web site, It changes every 2 or 3 days to show you what I am up to. That change only takes a few minutes, while producing Dallying is a much larger effort.

My newsletter subscribers get to ask me questions. Just ‘reply’ to the email newsletter. It is always interesting to read the questions; mostly to see if I actually can answer them or if I have to wade into the textbooks to research the answers. If that happens then we all learn something.

A asks? When do you cut back large alliums when the flower heads have faded?? Thanks

Ken Answers! There are those who leave the flower heads on almost until fall, thinking they look attractive. Martha would spray paint them gold. I cut mine off before the seeds fully develop because Allium seedlings can become a weed that is tough to pull out and eventually gives you a garden full of Alliums.

Marina Asks? upon checking some flowers tonight, we noticed our holly bushes have a white substance on the stems that looks like small pieces of soft marshmallow when I touched it...Wondering if you can tell me what this is and will it kill the bushes? I sprayed with Raid.....thanks,

Ken Answers! There are several possibilities and very difficult to analyze without seeing. If they are really soft and spongy then it might be an infestation of mealy bugs. Turn one over with a toothpick or cotton swab and see if it has tiny legs and a body buried in all of that white stuff. Physically removing them is the easiest route to take because the white fluffy will stop most insecticides from penetrating. The Raid was a good starter.

Geraldine Asks? I am writing for help with my Asiatic lilies in the back of the house on the East side have the Blight .I have had to totally cut them down and remove all sign of them and fallen leaves. They were in with day lilies which aren t effected. Will these return next year, is there anything I can get to fight the blight ? I have many more in other places and I don't want to lose any. The lilies in front of the house on the west side and those on south side so far are fine. Thanks again.

Ken Answers ! You have me quite stumped. I have never had any diseases attack my Lilies although my research does indicate that such things exist. There appears to be a virus infection or two that might cause damage similar to what you are experiencing. If it is a virus then cutting and destroying, as you have done, would be the only possible treatment. A blight, which I could not readily find, would be a fungal infection and a treatment with an effective fungicide could halt the progress of the disease. In either case, the main thing that you should be careful of is any possibility of transfer to your uninfected plants. Disinfect hoes or pruners and do not work on the healthy ones in the same clothes that you wore when cleaning up the diseased plants. They ones you cut will probably grow next year depending on how early you cut them down. They need the leaves to regenerate the bulb. Good Luck.

111 Trent St. W.
Whitby ON