About a year ago there was an article in the Palm Beach Post about Poinciana caterpillars, which can defoliate a big tree in a few days. One evening recently I was out in the garden with the dogs and heard what sounded like raindrops but it wasn't raining water; it was raining frass, the polite term for caterpillar droppings. Ugh! These caterpillars spend the daylight hours hiding in debris on the ground and then march up the tree in a river of caterpillars at dusk. Fortunately this behavior makes them fairly easy to control and spraying the whole tree is not necessary. I did some research and then used a garden dust containing pyrethrin, spreading it at the base of the trees and up the trunks a few feet. That seemed to reduce the population quite a bit, but there were still a lot of them. The next application was Sevin dust, and I believe 90% of the caterpillars are gone. I will be vigilant for a few more days and may spread more dust if necessary. These caterpillars have infrequent outbreaks, going 10 years or more before returning. There has been an outbreak this year in Boca Raton.
A friend recently gave me a wonderfully useful gift of several rolls of horticultural Velcro tape. It is strong, will not girdle trees or damage soft plant tissue, and can even be reused. It works great for tying orchids or bromeliads to trees or staking things. I am not sure which store it came from, but keep an eye out in garden shops.
I have been adding more begonias to the landscape in the simplest possible way using thickstems and rhizomatous. Six-inch chunks of rhizomes can be removed from existing landscape plants. If there are roots, just plant the pieces in the garden, remove the biggest leaves, and tuck some mulch around without burying the rhizome. If the rhizome pieces have no roots, remove all but the smallest new leaf and place the rhizome horizontally in a shallow indentation, not buried, and tuck some mulch around, also without covering the rhizome. With thickstems, just plant the stems vertically about two inches deep, again removing most of the leaves. In just a few weeks, new leaves will form, and by bloom time in winter, these will be vigorous new plants. So easy. You can also get some canes to root the lazy way if they are in a moist, shady place. I frequently have canes sprout from waste piles that I have covered with mulch. I continue to do battle with snails. I wish they would disappear for ten years like those caterpillars.Doris Happel
The meeting began at 7:32.
Sept. meeting speaker will be Allen Stopek speaking on succulents.
President Price indicated that the turnout for Selmark Gardens visit was very good and each member/guest received 2 plants. The Society sent a thank you note. Discussion around having this trip as an annual event and considering the University of So. FL April or Oct bus trip.
Sue Ellen reported that silent auction helped pay for bus trip and the Society was in good financial shape.
Charles Jaros introduced a new U listing book which will be available in September. A loose leaf binder format with sheets including pictures and descriptions will allow for additions. 252 U#’s are highlighted. 70% of profits go to conservation fund. Book cost: $30.00.
President Price discussed ideas from the recent Board meeting which included:
Club will buy 8-10 plants from commercial growers for Raffle.
Continue with badge plants
Membership table will showcase a feature plant for $1 per ticket.
Shady affair plant sale Sept 11-12.
October meeting 1st Monday due to holiday.
Speaker Virginia Jens discussed the Paul Lowe hybrids. 150 beautiful hybrids from Paul were the result of 40 years of cultivation. Virginia provided lists of the hybrids for the members, unregistered and registered cultivars.
Charles auctioned plants and plants were raffled in order to continue to propagate these important plants.
The meeting concluded at 8:45.