Spring is such an interesting time of year in the garden. What survived the winter? When will the spring blooms begin? It seems every year is different in how and when the growing season unfolds. I thought it was going to be an early spring, and then we had quite a cold snap and slowed everything down. Or maybe just made it more normal, but its hard to know what normal is anymore. In any case, as I was walking the yard I was noticing how pretty and interesting the shrub flower buds were. I was so focused on waiting for the blooms, I hadn’t been noticing the beauty in the buds getting ready to explode in color.
Dwarf Korean Lilac
While we were out looking closely at the shrubs, we had quite a surprise when we saw this guy hanging out on the Star Magnolia.
After consulting with my mom Peggy, who is my dragonfly expert, she identified it as a Green Darner. It’s a fairly common, very large dragonfly and can be identified most easily by the very distinct “bull’s eye” on its forehead.
But why is this guy in my yard and not near any water? Green Darners are one of the few migratory dragonflies. There are two separate populations, one resident and one migratory, and to see an adult this early in the spring suggests that it may be part of the migratory group and he stopped off for a rest. What a treat!
Earlier in the spring, I began to notice that many, but not all, of my bushes in the front yard (Dwarf Korean Lilacs, Judd Viburnum, Boxwoods, Burning Bushes, Annabelle Hydrangea) were looking a bit unhealthy. Their leaves were oddly curling and looking dry, even though we’d had plenty of rain. The worst was one of the Burning Bushes and large sections of the lilacs.
Not knowing what to do, I called my tree and shrub caretaker to come and take a look. He diagnosed it as mealy bugs and mites, although I had trouble seeing what he saw. Looking into it some more, it seems it could have also been related to any number of other pests, or even incorrect watering or fertilizing. No matter the reason, it was clear from the symptoms that something was literally sucking the life out of the leaves and they needed to be treated or the shrubs could die. He recommended spraying with a pesticide/fungicide combo to cover all the bases. I don’t usually like spraying nonspecifically, but whatever the problem was it was affecting a number of specimen shrubs in my front yard that were already stressed from the harsh winter. I had already lost one large burning bush to mites a couple of years back and I didn’t want to chance losing all these bushes this year, so went ahead with the sprays.
Just recently, I finally started to finally see some new healthy growth on the shrubs and no further damage. Some of the curled leaves uncurled, others remained curled, but stayed green and didn’t appear to be any further damaged. Crisis averted for this year.
Have you ever seen anything like this? Any suggestions as to the cause?