Six on Saturday – 28MAY2022 – Mosquitos

I don’t haven any photos of mosquitos – I’d just like you to visualize them. Stepping outside early in the morning, mug of coffee in hand, wandering through the kitchen garden and flower beds, reaching down to pluck away a dandelion about to scatter seed amongst the Iris, and, at the same time, scratch your leg, because there’s an itch, and you see the cause of the itch. One, two, no – three, jurassic size mosquitos right below your knee (because you’re wearing shorts, of course, it’s such a lovely morning), happily sucking out your blood.

Well.

You learn quickly to wear long sleeves and long pants with the cuffs tucked into your socks if there’s any sort of gardening to be done before a rising sun drives the whiny insects into the cool woods. But venture forth gardeners (and photographers) do, long sleeves, bug spray and all, because at this time of the year something new is blooming every day, and there’s seldom enough hours in each day to do and see everything you really want to do and see.

That said, Six on Saturday is a gardener’s meme hosted by The Propagator – if you visit his site you’ll see gorgeous gardens from around the world. Here’s a bit of my garden this week.

The large Allium have started now, including Purple Sensation (in the feature photo at the top) and Mount Everest.
I love how just a few Ipheion will, in just a few years, multiply into a glorious mass of starry blooms. Not only that, but their seed seems to be carried by insects of some sort because they’re appearing here and there over a wide part of the garden now.
Siberian and various bearded Iris have also started.
Whereas these charming (but highly invasive in some circumstances) violas have been blooming for several weeks now, peeking through tall grass in a rather wild part of the yard.
My Shasta Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Shasta‘) is looking better and better every year. Last year there was a single lacecap flower, this year there are a few dozen. Have a great weekend everyone!

34 Comments

  1. HOW does anyone wear shorts in THAT climate?! How do mosquitoes survive in that climate?
    Mount Everest was one of the Alliums that I wanted to try, but I got Allium Schumbertii and Allium christophii as gifts from Tangly Cottage Gardening first. They are likely better options anyway, since they are likely more reliably perennial. Their blooms are very wide!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have A. christophii coming up now, looking forward to the bloom…We all wear shorts in the summer because it gets as hot and humid as Chicago, New York or Philadelphia here. Except at certain times of the day when the mosquitos are out, then we wear long pants. And mosquitos…they survive was way up north, in the Arctic. Seriously.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I suppose that humidity makes the difference. I notice that 95 degrees seems to be very warm if it is also a bit humid, although it does not get very humid here with the chaparral climate. 120 degrees does not seem to be so warm with minimal humidity.

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  2. That Iris is superb. I completely understand about the mosquitos. We had a holiday in the Canadian Rockies a few years ago, we stepped out of the car to enjoy the vista after a long drive from Calgary and within seconds we were all sampled for breakfast or elevenses or lunch or all three by the local insects. And yes we had been warned but – you know – tourists and all that, we didn’t quite realise how bad it might be.

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  3. Lots of nice blooms from your garden, Chris. Mosquitoes! Don’t get me started. One almost killed me four years ago…literally. I exercise caution as best I can now, practicing what you mentioned. Cover up with treated clothing and smear Picaridin wherever I am exposed. I do have a photo of a mosquito but one of the harmless variety.
    A small cluster of Ipheion sits next to our foundation. It just showed up and maybe some ants carried the seeds for a distance to get them here. So far they control themselves.

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    1. Yikes! You must have been in the tropics eh? Here we just worry about ticks doing serious harm (another reason to wear long pants these days…). I never thought about the ants dispersing seeds…but they’re everywhere so could very well be!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nope. Right here in Western Massachusetts. I got West Nile Virus encephalitis and was laid up for 3 months. The worst part was no nature and photography. The best part was cuddling with my beagle in my recliner (our recliner) while recuperating. I still have trouble with balance and fall in the woods fairly often. Even with the protection I always use there was no way I could do so all the time and could very well have been bitten in bed or at work where our warehouse is open most of the day.

        Who’d think a mosquito would be so beautiful? It looks like a piece of jewelry.

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      2. Once you survive it you have an immunity to it. That won’t help with EEE though. Supposedly everything has a purpose. I suppose the mosquito’s and tick’s is survival of the fittest.

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  4. Well. You’d love our salt marsh mosquitoes (she says with tongue firmly in cheek). They’re tiny, almost as small as gnats, and they fly all day and all night. Walk into the grasses, and clouds of them rise up. Ghastly. Of course we have other species, too. They certainly make the dragonflies, bats, and birds happy, but the humans? Not so much. The Picaridin Steve mentioned is terrific. You can buy it in a spray bottle and treat clothes, tents, etc. It lasts through several washings, and, combined with a Picaridin spray, really works. It repels ticks and chiggers, too, and best of all, it doesn’t harm gear like cameras.

    The Ipheion and the Viburnum are my favorites — now nice that they’re willing to spread and/or increase blooms for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never heard of Picaridin – definitely need to look for it! We have something called black flies – they love to breed in fast moving streams and other wetlands. Luckily (know on wood) they don’t show up on our property, but when I lived in the North they were everywhere; swarms of them (plus mosquitos) have been said to fell a full grown caribou… They’re insidious because you don’t feel them landing, just the blood trickling down the back of your neck after they’ve feasted…

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      1. Picaridin is more for skin application. Permethrin is for clothing and lasts for several washings as Linda mentioned. Use it on a windless day for two reasons. First you don’t want it blowing on your face or exposed skin. It’s harmless to us once dry. Second you don’t want any collateral damage to beneficial or otherwise insects. You can also purchase pre-treated clothing to repel ticks from places like LLBean and Amazon has a few suppliers as well. As far as I know its only negative is to cats. It is harmful to them even after drying.

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      2. A quick Google came up with this” Based on experimental studies in animals, clinical signs of DEET toxicosis in dogs and cats include hypersalivation, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, excitation, ataxia, and seizures. Since November 2001, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has received numerous reports regarding DEET toxicosis in dogs and cats.”
        Citrus, not citronella, is a mosquito repellent. As far as I know cats are the only domestic animal harmed by Permethrin so that sounds like a nogo for you. I think pyrethrins are okay with cats.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Canada is famous for its mosquitoes, so you have my sympathies. Our current nemesis are black flies. So annoying…arrgh!
    I curse that I let those Star of Bethlehem into my garden many years ago, for the ants have spread them everywhere. They crowd out nearly everything in a garden, hogging nutrients, and now are taking over the lawn… be warned!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have heard about the mosquitoes (and midges) in Canada. It’s all those lakes and rivers you have, I guess. I am suffering from Allium envy, especially of Purple Sensation, quite hard to source here, and that Iris is simply gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Let us pause to sing the praises of all viburnums, shall we? So glad your Shasta is liking its spot. I have close to a dozen viburnums here (always adding more) and love each one. Others have moaned enough about your mosquitos. I’ve lived many places where they thrived – including Virginia and the coast of Portugal, surprisingly – but I must say (brag alert) we don’t suffer from them here. So I will be pleased about that and be thankful I am where I am, despite it continuing to be 48 degrees F today…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Still so cold! I think the reason I moan about them so much is I spent some childhood years living on the coast of Vancouver Island; like you, no mosquitos there. (But also quite chilly these days, my parents say…)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post and interesting discussion and I can’t add much to the discussion on mosquitos. But, without wanting to appear a smart alec I am afraid your ipheions are not ipheions but Ornithogalum umbellatum aka star of Bethlehem. Possibly just as nice but different.

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