Dealing with Blackfly and Rosemary Beetles

The Courgettes are thriving but they’ve come under attack from blackfly, and the Rosemary has a beetle infestation.

The sun has absolutely been blazing over the last couple of weeks, so this has meant a lot of running around with watering cans desperately trying to save the plants that are waiting to be planted out; the plants that can’t be planted out because the ground is like concrete; and the plants that are planted out and roasted.

Blackfly on the Courgette plants

Today, whilst on my watering can round (i need a hosepipe, don’t i?), I spotted some familiar friends have arrived to celebrate what looks like a bumper crop from my Courgette ‘Black Beauty’ plants.

courgette flower buds with blackfly
The Courgette ‘Black Beauty’ flower buds are covered in Blackfly.

On the flower buds were the little black things, with the occasional ant running around. Yes, it’s the blackfly!

I’ve already had these visiting my Tomato ‘Minibel’ plants, but they’ve now migrated to the four courgette plants in my raised bed (the other two are a few metres away, but have a companion plant by luck).

Blackfly on Tomato 'Minibel' plants
Spot the Blackfly on the Tomato ‘Minibel’. Their sap sucking holiday will come to an end.

I’ve not suffered with slugs and snails in this raised bed, and I’m wondering whether this is because i put some copper tape around most of it, or whether it’s because the wood of the bed is pretty rough. Either way, this doesn’t stop blackfly, but it would mean it’s a good place to plant the protective Marigold French ‘Orange’ plants – cheap and cheery – and something the blackfly don’t like. This seems to have helped the tomatoes, otherwise, i’ll be getting the soapy mister out again to spray them with.

The beetles: live at the Rosemary

Whilst watering my patio, where several plants sit waiting to be potted up, I then noticed some elaborately black and gold-y looking beetles in the replacement Rosemary plant that I had to buy when the big old one didn’t survive the house move ;(.

rosemary plant with rosemary beetles infesting it
My new Rosemary plant is being invaded by these pearlescent Rosemary Beetles. Pretty, but they’ll seriously damage it.

It needed a good soak, but curious of what these beetles were, I googled them and discovered that they are specifically Rosemary Beetles (or Chrysolina americana) and have only been known in the UK since the 1990s. The RHS knew all about them, and also have a survey (which i’ve just filled in).
Despite their name, apparently they’re also not restricted to rosemary, and may well spread to Lavender, Sage, and other aromatic plants. I really don’t need that, as I have plenty of those plants, and last weekend was establishing a herb garden area (i’ll show this off soon).

Whilst they spoke of insecticides, I’ve opted at this point for a thorough shake and flick method, and a meet and greet with my shoe, which is still very successful with the slugs and snails. It feels like such a shame to kill them, as they’re quite pretty, but this new rosemary plant is suffering before it’s even been planted out.

Anyway, elsewhere in the garden there are lots of things growing, and I’ll be sharing a few of these – including the first harvest photos, in my next post.

Happy gardening, and if you have to go out in the sun, make sure you wear suncream and/or a hat out there!

Thanks for reading – Andrew.


Daylily Dose

The Daylillies have finally opened, along with the Sweet Peas and Hydrangea. Meanwhile, one of the Courgette plants is beginning to form tiny courgettes.

When I moved into my house in October 2009, I inherited some clumps of bulb/grass like plants. There’s about three clumps in the garden. Last year they didn’t really do anything and I continued to wonder what they were.

For the last couple of years they have always grown with a big green lush surge of foliage in about March and April, but this year is the first year where they’ve actually bothered to flower for me. Perhaps it was because i dug around the green clumps in March and dug in a little compost?

A yellow daylily on flower.
The Daylily dose of flower greets me when I step out of my house.

I don’t know what variety of Daylily they* are but their blast of golden yellow and tinge of fox red really adds to the garden. It sits in contrast to the black brickwork of my neighbour’s wall and the blue of the Lavender nearby. It works well with the Courgette ‘Black Beauty’ plant that is thriving beside it (this courgette plant, like the other one, is now flowering.. but this one is starting to form tiny courgettes). The other courgette plant had a habit of dropping flowers – but it turns out that this isn’t anything to worry about at all.

Nearby the Hydrangea (again inherited when i moved in) is now starting to open – tiny salmon pink flowers – although it looks like it needs some feed. According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) they prefer moist, well drained, and slightly shady areas. The part of the garden it sits in has a lot of drainage but gets roasted by the sun.

Further up the garden, the first Sweet Pea ‘Cupani’ are flowering. They are an old and fragrant variety but I am yet to notice their reputed aroma – perhaps once they manage to fully scale the canes and bloom en masse, then i’ll be hit properly with the smell.

*UPDATE: Fellow blogger and budding horticulturalist Alex Jobber, reckons they might be Daylily ‘Hemerocallis Bonanza’. Certainly looks very much like them.