Trying Out A New Potting Area, Etc.

Abandon plant and potting area behind the shed.

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you well and enjoying our nice weather. I have to say nice even though it is plenty hot here. I have to keep it positive, you know. It could be worse and be -40 with 3 feet of snow.

The Japanese Beetle invasion left me a little bewildered for a while. I am normally very positive and enjoy life as it comes. I don’t worry even though I could, and maybe should sometimes. I think it is called avoidant personality disorder. Well, the mental health folks had to come up with a disorder to describe people who are positive minded, don’t worry, and realize most everything will work out just fine without getting worried or pissed off. We accept everyone has a right to their own opinion and find plenty of common ground. (Even though we know we know we are always right, we don’t rub it in. 🙂 )

Where was I? Oh yeah. I think I have said “What the hell!” more times in the past two weeks than ever before. If I had a psychiatrist they would tell me I am making progress. I had one of those moments today. NO! I had two! One this afternoon and one at about 12:30 AM. Oh, Crap! It is now 1:02 AM and I am just starting this post. It is already tomorrow! Oh well, that just means it is another day already and I don’t have to wait until I get up to start.


Alocasia ‘Portora’ on the potting table.

My sister and niece came down so I asked her if she could help me do something. She said, “Sure” without even knowing what I wanted. Then she asked. I told her I needed help moving the potting table and she asked where I was going to put it. I told her I didn’t know but had a couple of ideas. I went outside and looked at the options AGAIN (!). There were no good ones but I knew I didn’t want to leave the table where it was behind the shed. I would have too many of those “WHAT THE HELL” moments with no shade and all the dead leaves on the ground and constantly falling.

I decided the best place was on the back deck. I had to remove all the pots from the shelf and sweep all the dead leaves and beetle poop off the table. Then I stood the table on its end and then on its top and drug it to the back porch. I didn’t want my sister carrying it all that way.

After they left, I decided to try the new spot out. There are several plants that need to be re-potted, but I thought I better start with the pot that needed working on the most. A few days earlier I had gone to Wagler’s Greenhouse to see if they had some good sized pots for several Alocasia plants because I had run out of bigger pots. After all, I was going to take the plants to them anyway. Unfortunately, the pots I brought home weren’t big enough… I used to have plenty of pots! Where did they all go? Oh, yeah… I put plants in them and gave them away.


So, this afternoon, or yesterday afternoon since it is tomorrow already, I decided to put a few empty pots on the table and bring up a few other plants that needed attention. The Callisia fragrans (center pot), Agave univittata, two pots with four smaller Alocasia ‘Mayan Mask’, and a pot with a few smaller Alocasia gageana. I also brought the Aloe juvenna to the table after the above photo was taken.


One of the larger “plantlets”, or whatever you call them, of the Callisia fragrans had sprouted flowers. Very interesting, huh?


A week or so ago I removed one of Callisia fragrans kids and put it in a pot to see what would happen. Since it is doing just fine, decided to remove all the stems and cut the plantlets off. Some of them were not in very good shape, though. Normally, I would have put them all in pots but I decided to just save the better ones. I also cut the top off the main stem so it would regrow.


Now, there are 11! Make that 12 since the other one is on the front porch. PLUS the old stem in the bigger pot which I kept to see what it will do. I hate throwing a plant away! Once they start rooting I will give them away. Probably take them to Wagler’s since she gave me the start in the first place and she knows what they will do. Sometimes it is hard to give plants away if you tell them they multiply. A Spider Plant multiplies like this, so what’s the difference?


The Aloe juvenna (Tiger Tooth Aloe) was getting a little cramped up in its pot, so I put it in a 6 1/2″ diameter x 5 1/2″ tall pot. Now it can send up some new pups and fill the pot.


The Agave univittata (Syn. Agave univittata var. lophantha)(Center Stripe Agave) has been telling me its feet were needing more room. So, I checked and sure enough, it needed a bigger pot.


Now it has been upgraded to a 9″ diameter x 6″ tall pot.


The new potting area is officially broke in. I made this table when i was in Mississippi from boards that were stacked in the old covered patio behind the mansion. The neighbor told me that they were from an old board fence that used to be around the backyard. I made a lot of plant tables for two of the sunrooms out of those boards.

After I finished re-potting, I went out to get a photo of the Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ because its flowers are now open. On the way, I had my first “what the hell” moment of the day…


The Vitex agnus-castus ‘Shoal Creek’ is flowering up a storm and really looks AWESOME. At first, I thought it was LOADED with bumblebees because they were flying around the flowers. Then, I saw the Japanese Beetles! “WHAT THE HELL?” First the Chinese Elm trees, chewing the leaves of the Amorphophallus and Calla, the flowers on the roses, and now the Chaste Tree! Oh, they are on a few other trees down by the hay lot, too.


Then I walked over to the shade bed and took a couple of photos of the AWESOME Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ with its first flowers. The stem is 34″ tall!




Alocasia ‘Portora’ is patiently waiting…


At 12:45 AM I walked by the sliding door on the way to the kitchen. I looked out the door and said, “WHAT THE HELL?” A mother Racoon with FOUR babies! The mother is a smaller Racoon and she isn’t all that wild. She may be one of the babies I took the videos of last summer. There have been several times I have sat on the back porch and she continued to eat cat food. Tonight, I couldn’t get a good photo, so I opened the door and turned on the light. She walked toward the steps then came back.

That’s it for this post! Until next time, stay well, positive, be safe and GET DIRTY!

Overnight Disaster-Japanese Beetle Invasion

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all well. The Japanese Beetles (Popillia japonica) have been back for a while now, but they are getting ridiculous. Every year they come and feed mainly on the leaves of the Chinese Elms. They also eat the flowers on the roses. My plant tables next to and behind one of the sheds is under a Chinese Elm. It normally provides the perfect light for the potted plants, cactus, and succulents. The shade beds are also under a maple and two Chinese Elms. In that area, the light changes from shade to light shade.

Well, that is just nature. Until last year, there was really no problem. Then last year, the Japanese Beetle population turned into an invasion. I hoped that the colder than usual January would have helped control them and there wouldn’t be as many. But, that wasn’t the result. This year, they are worse than ever. Now, the Japanese Beetle lay eggs in the ground and then turn into their larvae stage. Then in June (maybe starting in late May), they become adults. Their main goal is to feed and mate.

They had really done no damage to the potted plants, mainly feeding on the leaves of the Chinese Elm. Then, on July 2 I noticed them on the Amorphophallus and a few on the Calla. So, I moved those two plants to the side porch.

Then, on July 4, it was much worse…


They attacked the Begonia ‘Frosty’ and even the Oxalis triangularis subsp. papilionaceae and Oxalis tetraphylla (Iron Cross).




They are easy to get off. Just shake the plant they fly off.


The bowl I mix potting soil in had water in it and A LOT od drowned Japanese Beetles.


They attacked the Begonia ‘Brazilian Lady’…


And even the Bryophyllum daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands).


I went over to the Chinese Elm growing on the old back porch to get a photo, but they took off by the thousands!


They didn’t chew much on the Tradescantia sillamontana, but their leaves were covered in poop and debris from the elm tree.


I had to take all the plants off the longer table behind the shed and drag it (upsidedown) to the front porch. Then I took several wheelbarrow loads of plants…

The light here is not the best for some of the plants, either too much or not enough for some, but it will have to do for now. The beetles didn’t chew on all the plants I moved, but you never know. Not only that, they leave a big mess behind on the leaves from the elm tree. Fallen leaves and lots of poop. I watered the shade bed and the leaves of the Alocasia and Hosta were covered with poop and debris from the elm trees. So far they haven’t been feeding on them.


The Amorphophallus sp. is now safe on the side porch. Believe it or not, there are eleven Amorphophallus in this pot now… Up from two last year!


They had just chewed on a few leaves of the Calla, but I moved it to the side porch, too.

As far as the shade beds are concerned… It won’t be so shady now. Most of the plants will be OK except for maybe the Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’. Unless the beetles turn to the Hosta, Alocasia, and Heuchera.

I can see why the moles are so active in the yard in front of the chicken house and the shade beds. They are after the larvae… Spraying plants with neem oil doesn’t help fight against Japanese Beetles. About the only thing is to use milky spore which was developed by the USDA and applying it to the soil to kill their grubs.

You can read more about this crazy critter on the Wikipedia page by clicking HERE. Ther are thought to have come to the US on shipments of Iris bulbs from Japan before 1912… They have natural predators in Japan which keep them in control, but here and other countries they are now in, they have none… They feed on many plants besides the Chinese Elm, including many vegetables and other food crops and ornamentals.

Well, that’s it for this post. I hope you are all well and staying cool during the heat of the summer. Take care, stay well and be positive! Of course, GET DIRTY when you have the chance!