Sunday, August 28, 2011
If it hadn’t been for my near death experience in the garden this past week, I would not have considered bringing this topic up. It’s been discussed this season, although not by me and not in this most terrifying way. The day started off like any other, clutching my coffee cup like a life line, I made my way out to the garden to greet the day and coax my crusty eyes open slowly. I examined a bush, a flower, a tree while sipping my nearly black brew that I’d doused with flavored creamer. My world was as close to perfect as one can get when out of nowhere I was attacked. Screaming and screeching, I slapped at the monster that had hidden among my beloved plants. This was no ordinary assault; this was a premeditated, calculated (with precision) invasion of my personal space. Landing on the hand that held the cup that held my precious Joe was the largest, ugliest, most blood thirsty-looking grasshopper I have ever seen. With huge haunted eyes that I’ll never forget he pounced when I was most vulnerable. Pajama clad and barely awake; I was slapped, punched and nearly bitten as I attempted to extricate the erratic creature off my body. In the chaos that ensued, plants were trampled, coffee was spilt and I was deeply shaken. Now to be fair to myself, I have to admit that the grasshoppers around my place are as big as Chihuahuas and it’s amazing how much damage they have done. I’m doing my best to be as environmentally friendly as possible, but this incident has me researching methods of retaliation. I think I’ve been fair. I haven’t sprayed or suggested insecticides, pesticides, fungicides or staying-insides all summer long. Call it green gardening, organic gardening or natural gardening - the point is I’ve used limited or no chemicals in my flower beds and vegetable gardens. Like me, you may have suffered similar indignities and you may be perplexed as how best to get grasshoppers under control without killing all the beneficial insects that call your gardens home. May I suggest selecting plants that the hideous grasshoppers don’t prefer? Plants like; American beautyberry, Artemisia, Bridal wreath spirea, Confederate jasmine, Coralberry, Crepe myrtle, Dwarf yaupon, Dwarf burning bush, Dwarf Mexican petunia, Euonymus, Forsythia, Juniper, Lantana, Mexican bush sage, Moss rose, Nandina, Passionvine, Perennial dianthus, Persian lilac, Rock rose, Salvia greggii, Verbena (perennial.) Or you may be more inclined to purchase guinea hens. These pleasant poultry predators also enjoy ticks, Japanese beetles and crickets. Whatever you decide to do, remember my tormenting tale and be forewarned. Grasshoppers are out there. Lurking, plotting and waiting, for you.