Got Fire Ants?

In Florida, we have Fire Ants. No getting around it.

If you’re a gardener, this can cause a lot of problems. If you garden in containers, the ants will eventually find their way to them. Especially after a lot of rain like we’ve had for the past week. Fire ant hills have been popping up everywhere. They’re destroying my serenity and that makes me unhappy.

Using fire ant killer makes me unhappy too. It smells awful. It’s toxic.

I tried a method using Orange Oil concentrate and Dawn soap this morning and so far,  it appears to be working. As an added bonus my yard smells like oranges instead of fire ant killer (which smells like poison because it is).

Here’s the recipe:
  • 3 oz Dawn Blue Soap
  • 1.5 oz Orange Oil concentrate
  • 1 gallon of water.

Use this method in the early morning for best results.

I used one gallon of the mixture gallon per mound with one exception: I had an enormous three-hill complex out back. I used three gallons of the Orange Oil Dawn mixture on that nightmare.

There was study done on it and I’ve linked to the results below. Here’s a snippet if you don’t feel like reading the whole thing:

Results and Discussion 
At the 3, 7, and 12 day observations, there were significantly less active fire ant mounds in the Spectricide® and the combination of orange oil and Dawn® soap treated plots compared to the other treatments; also the Organocide™ treated plots had significantly less active fire ant mounds compared to the water controls (Table 2).  At the 14, 25 and 30 day observations, Spectricide® had significantly less active fire ant mounds compared to the other treatments; the combination of orange oil and Dawn® soap had significantly less active fire ant mounds compared to the Organocide™ and water treatments; the Organocide™ had significantly less active fire ant mounds compared to the water control plots.  Overall, the Spectricide® treated plots had significantly fewer active fire ant mounds compared to the other treatments.  Both the Spectricide® and the combination of orange Oil and Dawn® soap had less active fire ant mounds compared to the other treatments throughout the study. Further tests should be conducted to confirm the recommendation of orange oil and Dawn® soap.   The average daytime temperature throughout the study was 76°F with a total of 7 inches of rain.    



Sweet Fantasie Brugmansia

Sweet Fantasie Brugmansia

What a Sweet Fantasie of a flower!

I fell head over heels in love with Sweet Fantasie this fall. I hadn’t heard of it until it was offered for sale on Facebook. I looked at some pictures. I thought, “Wow! What a lovely white double.” I like doubles. I like whites. I love brugmansias. I decided to get it. It looked like a really nice bloom. So why not?

I was not prepared for the magnificent beauty of this plant.

Sweet Fantasie has very large, very fluffy blooms. It blooms in large flushes. The blooms from my little four-foot- tall plant just blew me away. It put on a show that put older, larger plants in my garden to shame.

Until I saw the buds of Sweet Fantasie starting to open, I had pretty much ignored it. But Sweet Fantasie will not be ignored. From the first bloom, I knew it was going to take my breath away – and it did.

The blooms look like great clouds of white cotton candy. The brilliant white can be seen from far away. No matter what I was doing in the yard, once my eyes drifted to Sweet Fantasie, I had to pay her a visit.

The blooms of Sweet Fantasie tend to open all at once. Big flushes and big blooms are always a big plus in my book.

I can’t wait to see Sweet Fantasie with a little maturity in the garden next year. This plant is a creation of Monika Gottschalk in Germany. I have no idea how it got to the United States and I don’t care. I have one. I have Sweet Fantasie and I don’t care if I ever have another white brugmansia in my garden, as long as I have this one.

Neither my camera or my photography skills can do justice to Sweet Fantasie, but have a look below anyway. I think you’ll love Sweet Fantasie as much as I do.  I may need to get a better camera. But it’s not all my fault. None of the pictures I saw online do her justice either. This is just one of those brugmansias you have to see to believe.

I’m not offering cuttings or plants of sweet Fantasie yet, since it’s still a baby. But you can join my newsletter. When I do offer it. you’ll be among the first to know.

A Birthday Bloom

A Birthday Bloom

This is a cross of Brugmansia Sam x Kyle’s Giant White. If I had a better camera you could see the pink edges. This beautiful brugmansia decided to bloom on my birthday. I think it’s a great birthday present to myself. With its velvety texture, this bloom reminds me of a rose.

This hybridizing experiment was actually “practice” and my second cross ever. Since the first bloom opened in fall, I’ll probably have to wait until spring for the true colors. Wouldn’t it be nice if the edges turned out to be just slightly more pink with this buttery yellow? Then it would look like a Peace Rose.

Some brugmansias bloom a lighter shade in cool weather. Some bloom a darker shade than their natural color. Some stay the same. Angel’s Moonlight is a great example. Angel’s Moonlight’s colors range from pure white to yellow to orange.


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