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Garden Beds and gate
 Page 35
Flower beds and borders Pests and Diseases.
               Decorative plants are grown for their appearance, and pests should not be allowed to spoil this. However, many ornamentals are prone to disease..

Pests and diseases of ornamental plants.  

Bulbs and roots
Basal Rot
  • Plants affected:   Most types of bulbs including  crocus, iris, tulips.
  • Treatment:   Dust  bulbs with sulphur  as a preventive measure,  then store in a dry, well-aired  place  that will not be affected by frost. Destroy bulbs as soon as the first symptoms appear.
CABBAGE  MOTH:   The caterpillar of this moth particularly  attacks the roots of China  aster, French  marigold (Tagetes) and pelargonium.
HONEY  FUNGUS:  Caused  by the Armillaria mellea fungus, this disease  attacks the roots  of trees,  shrubs  and flowering plants,  such as the abutilon and the peony.
  • Symptoms:  Bulbs rot in the ground,  or produce twisted leaves  with  no flowers.  This is caused by the larvae of narcissus  flies, which lay their eggs in the soil around  dying leaves  in spring.  The larvae hatch and burrow down into bulbs to feed for a year or two. Adult  flies look  like bees and are seen around  bulb foliage.
  • Plants affected:  Narcissus, amaryllis,  snowdrop, snow flake.
  • Treatment:   Avoid  this pest by planting firm, healthy  bulbs at the correct  depth. Dispose  of soft bulbs. Feed bulbs after flowering with a fertiliser high  in phosphate and potash. Sprinkle  crushed garlic  around dying foliage  as a deterrent.
  • Symptoms:  The stem goes soft and the rest of the plant withers  and dries  up. When violets  are affected, purplish spores grow on their roots, which then rot and crumble. This rot is caused by a variety of fungi including Pythium  and  Verticillium, which grow vigorously  in wet weather.
  • Plants affected:  Sweet alyssum, busy lizzy, lobelia, lupin, carnation,  French marigold (Tagetes), pelargonium.  pansy, petunia, sweet pea, sage (Salvia), verbena,  violet.
  • Treatment:  Remove  and destroy affected plants. Replant with non-susceptible types  and change  the planting scheme every  two years.  Apply sulphur dust around  the roots when planting, or at the base  of the stems of healthy  plants  in infected areas. In bygone days, gardeners  treated plants with horsetail  decoction  and stinging  nettle extract  to protect  plants  at risk.
This  little  weevil,  whose larvae are more harmful than  the adult insect,  attacks a large number  of flowering plants, such as begonia, fuchsia,  busy lizzy  ( impatiens), pelargonium and primula. The natural control is a parasitic  eelworm (nematode) which is drenched onto the soil and plant roots. The nematodes  parasitise  the weevils.

  • Symptoms:  On bulbous plants, white rot appears  first at the base  of the bulb, and then the leaves  turn  yellow. On ornamental  plants  with roots,  oily traces appear on the leaves  followed by a white, downy layer.  The plant rots and dies. This  rot is caused by the  Sclerotinia  sclerotinium fungus.
  • Plants affected:   Many types of flowering plants,  but most commonly  antirrhinum, China  aster  (Callistephus), cornflower  (Centaurea), crocus, delphinium, gladiolus, iris, lupin, sweet alyssum.
  • Treatment:   Remove  and destroy affected plants  and disinfect  the soil. The disease can  be active for up to four years  in the soil, so do not replant  with  susceptible  species. Dust the roots with sulphur when planting and feed with liquid nettle manure to toughen the growth and increase resistance  to the disease.
Catching problems Early.


Christmas Fern

As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure. By keeping the garden clean and tidy as well as ensuring that plants are healthy, there is less chance of pests and diseases causing much harm. A watchful eye can also alert you to problems early, so inspect plants regularly.
However, no matter how careful we try to be it is inevitable that some problems will occur through the growing season. If you do not garden organically and feel you must spray, please do follow the instructions on the packaging of the chemical to the letter. Always try and spray when the weather is still, and in the evenings when there are less bees and hoverflies about.
If you prefer to garden organically, then no spraying should be done at all. Rely on building up a wide diversity of plants in the garden, especially those which will encourage wildlife. Leave the odd corner here and there, undisturbed where beneficial creatures like hedgehogs and toads can shelter. It can take a few years to build up the natural balance between pests and predators which keep problems under control, but be patient it is a much healthier way of gardening.




Pest control the natural way.

               Here are a few attractive plants  to attract beneficial insects into your garden. They are easy to grow and ideal choices even for new gardeners. As an added bonus many of these insects will also pollinate your fruit and vegetable crops, increasing the yield..


1.   Cornflower(Centaurea cyanus)
                    This beautiful flower has extra floral nectaries. The plant's leaves release nectar even when the flowers are not blooming. This nectar is highly attractive to flower flies, ladybugs, lacewings, and beneficial wasps.

Sweet Alyssum

2. Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
                  A lovely white, scented annual, which attracts aphid eating flower flies. Useful as an edging plant for  borders or as a ground cover plant.


3. Borage (Borago officinalis)
              This annual herb has bright blue clusters of edible, cucumber-flavoured flowers. Borage is exceptionally attractive to beneficial insects. Common green lacewings have a very strong preference for laying their eggs on borage.

Golden Marguerite

4.  Golden Marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria) 
             A long flowering perennial with bright yellow blooms that are highly attractive to ladybirds, lacewings, flower flies, tachinid flies and mini-wasps. 

Mini Index
 Skips pages. Gets you to a general area.
Garden Bulbs.
Lillies& Alliums.
Flowers until Frost.
Annuals For Summer.
Borders Full of Colour.
 Collecting Seeds.
Foliage Plants.
Wooden fence with hollyhocks
Spire Obelisk
Wooden fence with hollyhocks
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