I'm on the warpath. In the past two days I have squished no less than 15 red lily leaf beetles on ONE patch of orange tiger lilies by my driveway. I casually walk by and look and there they are, mating, right before my eyes. I kneel down to capture them and I find another one. My new technique is to turn back the lower leaves as that is where they are hiding. My other technique is to pull out last year's dried stalks only to find them crawling out from underground. Of course, once I see one, I grub in the dirt until I capture it. I am relentless.
Once again, I got a little overzealous in my beetle searching. In the process of checking the underside of the foliage, I snapped off a bi, beautiful, thick lily stalk. Oops. That is the end of that lily's flowering adventure for 2012. What a sinking feeling. Its like throwing out the baby with the bath water. Major bummer of the universe folks. I felt a bit sickened but then I quickly recovered as more beetles made themselves known and I was back on my mission. Man, these are really prolific bad bugs.
Other observations today- I have two flowers open on my Viburnum carcephalum which usually blooms on mother's day weekend. I have flowers opening on my Iris pumila, usually mid May bloomers. The buds on my 'Coral Fay' peony are swelling and showing color. Granted, this relative of the fern leaf peony is an early bloomer, but mid April is just ridiculous. My 'Yellow Cheerfulness', 'White Cheerfulness' and 'Geranium' narcissus, all planted to bloom for me in early May, are in flower today.
I weeded for hours. It was like weeding a dustbowl. The soil is dry as a bone and I move my little sprinkler from bed to bed trying to urge the edibles to move along in the process of sprouting and eventually providing me with food. It is a VERY strange year in the garden so far...