Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Tackling A Few Garden Challenges

Do you have areas in your garden that present a constant challenge for one reason or another?
One such area for me is right here at the front door.
I like to have something growing in the pots to soften up the space and look more welcoming.  The challenge here is the area is in total shade.  Through the years I have tried a variety of shade loving plants (caladium, coleus, impatiens, etc.). While in most cases they lived out the season, they didn't exactly thrive and also didn't look too impressive as the season wore on.  Not what I want right at the entrance to my home.
While at the garden center over the weekend, I settled on these ferns.
I've given up on flowers here.  I do like the looks of ferns on front porches, so I have high hopes for these.

According to the information on the plant tag, it should be happy in it's new home.  I think the golden-orange fronds will add some interest too.  Plus the fact that it is a perennial will mean that it won't be necessary to replant the pots every year.

Throwing in a photo from my garden center visit.
With Mother's Day coming up, the displays were particularly pretty.

Another challenge in the garden is the state of this Sky Pencil Holly.
There is one on each side of the grill.  The one on the right looks fine.
This one has dead branches and yellowing leaves.  It just doesn't look healthy and I wasn't sure what the problem was.  The other day I noticed little bright orange dots running around the stone surfaces next to the grill.  I am guessing them to be spider mites.  That made me wonder whether that was the problem on the nearby holly.

The day I was at the garden center they were handing out ladybugs free with a purchase.  In reading the label I learned that they love to feast on spider mites and many other undesirable garden pests.
How interesting, I thought.

I learned many things about their life cycles and how to release them into the garden to obtain the best result.
It was suggested to water the affected plant well, wait until dusk or early morning and then open the bag and let them crawl out on their own.  Shaking the bag to get them out could cause them to fly away.

Here they are emerging from the mesh bag.

Now I leave them to have a feast.
I much prefer this method to spraying a bunch of pesticides.
Time will tell whether the problem will be solved.  If it is, I may purchase more lady bugs to assist in keeping the bad pests out of the garden.

Enjoy this last day of April!!


  1. Your front door area looks good with the ferns on either side. I bought 3 ferns last year for our shaded front door and they looked fine. Unfortunately they did not come back this Spring in spite of being "very hardy". This year I got 3 Hart's Tongue ferns hoping they'll be hardier than the Autumn ferns were.
    I don't use sprays either. I have soapy water in a spritz bottle and that seems to do the trick.

  2. I love your entry way. The ferns are just perfect. I've never heard of that type before so it was fun to see them. And, ladybugs being given away! I hope they help your pest control problem big time!

  3. Ladybugs make me smile! I just sent a little cartoon to my hubby of a bird that is spotted like a ladybug and the other bird is asking him how many ladybugs he ate! hahaha! Happy Spring!

  4. I think the ferns will do fine there.
    The ladybugs are a great idea. I hope they do the job. I like how they call them ladybirds in GB.

  5. Your front door area looks so pretty with those ferns. Good choice! And how cool that you got free ladybugs and that they'll even take care of the spider mites. Like you, we're not fans of pesticides and choose natural ways of dealing with yard problems.

  6. I hope the ladybugs (our ladybirds) solve your problem. I've never heard of them being sold. I suppose they're 'pre-fed' to stop them eating each other?

  7. Let's try this again - Blogger seems to be a bit finicky today so I shut down my computer and restarted it. Hope I can post a comment now.
    Your pots of ferns look so pretty and I hope they thrive there. The ladybugs were a great little gift and hopefully they've been munching away on the spider mites.

  8. I never have any luck with the ferns I've tried to have inside -- desert country is not the idea environment for them. Hopefully yours will thrive. I've had a problem with mealy bugs before on my balcony plants -- those buggers sure can spread like crazy. I've seen where even houseplant lovers use natural predators like ladybugs and lacewings to eat up their pests. You'd think with all the research and reports of the poisonous effects of chemical pesticides that people would stop using them but some people just think that's easier and don't have patience for a more natural route. :/ Have a good day.

  9. Hi Kim - love ferns here - just bought my annual two Boston ferns for the front porch hanging baskets. Of course the finches came within 15 mins of hanging them and one pair tried to start a nest so shooed them off as they make such a mess! Plenty of other places in the garden to nest - not right outside the door! Your ferns will be lovely there - hope they thrive. That's a first, never saw ladybugs in bags for sale - hope they help out with the bad bugs in the garden.
    Ready for the hot days? 90F today in Raleigh - far too warm - need to get out with the hoses today, the hydrangeas will be wilting by lunch time!
    Hugs - Mary


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