My Favorite Garden and Environmental Pages and Organizations

American Horticultural Society

Pollinator Friendly Alliance

Zombee Watch, be a part of scientific investigation For helping Save The Bee

Free Organic Gardening Lessons

University of Illinois Extension


Everything you Need to Know About Organic Gardening

  If you are interested in organic gardening and would like to learn everything you need to know about it, there is an online course that will not only teach you, but also provides access to the amazing fertilizers and other organic products for your garden.  Using language even the young,  beginning gardener can understand, and full of invaluable information, I definitely would suggest this course to anyone interested in learning and understanding more. The best part is, Phil, is a down to earth type person with his education style, and is far from boring. If you would like to learn and understand organic gardening, and its benefits and importance to the environment and eco systems, I recommended following the link provided below. There is much more information on the Academy, several pages of free sndbuseful information, and links to some organic fertilizers and other products. 

 The Smiling Gardener Academy

Organic Liquid Fish Fertilizer

For Your Soil

Green Lacewing

The Green Lacewing

The Green Lacewing is a common flying insect that is beneficial in the garden with an appetite for aphids and other small soft bodied pests.

Below I have shared some detailed information about them I have obtained from wikipedia.

Head close-up of Apertochrysa edwardsi from Austins Ferry, Tasmania, Australia

Green lacewings are delicate insects with a wingspan of 6 to over 65 mm, though the largest forms are tropical. They are characterized by a wide costal field in their wing venation, which includes the cross-veins. The bodies are usually bright green to greenish-brown, and the compound eyes are conspicuously golden in many species. The wings are usually translucent with a slight iridescence; some have green wing veins or a cloudy brownish wing pattern. The vernacular name “stinkflies”, used chiefly for Chrysopa species but also for others (e.g. Cunctochrysa) refers to their ability to release a vile smell from paired prothoracal glands when handled.

Adults have tympanal organs at the forewings’ base, enabling them to hear well. Some Chrysopa show evasive behavior when they hear a bat‘s ultrasound calls: when in flight, they close their wings (making their echolocational signature smaller) and drop down to the ground. Green lacewings also use substrate or body vibrations as a form of communication between themselves, especially during courtship. Species which are nearly identical morphologically may sometimes be separated more easily based on their mating signals. For example, the southern European Chrysoperla mediterranea looks almost identical to its northern relative C. carnea (Common Green Lacewing), but their courtship “songs” are very different; individuals of one species will not react to the other’s vibrations.[2]

Larva of unknown species (from Latvia) camouflaged with sand grains

Adults are crepuscular or nocturnal. They feed on pollennectar and honeydew supplemented with mitesaphids and other small arthropods, and some, namely Chrysopa, are mainly predatory. Others feed almost exclusively on nectar and similar substances, and have symbiotic yeasts in their digestive tract to help break down the food into nutrients.[1]

Larvae have either a more slender “humpbacked” shape with a prominent bulge on the thorax, or are plumper, with long bristles jutting out from the sides. These bristles will collect debris and food remains – the empty integuments of aphids, most notably – that provide camouflage from birds.

Stalked eggs of unknown species, Mainzer Sand (Rheinland-Pfalz, Deutschland)

Larva of Common Green Lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea) or perhaps C. mediterranea feeding on an aphid

Eggs are deposited at night, singly or in small groups; one female produces some 100–200 eggs. Eggs are placed on plants, usually where aphids are present nearby in numbers. Each egg is hung on a slender stalk about 1 cm long, usually on the underside of a leaf. Immediately after hatching, the larvae moult, then ascend the egg stalk to feed. They are voracious predators, attacking most insects of suitable size, especially soft-bodied ones (aphidscaterpillars and other insect larvae, insect eggs, and at high population densities also each other). The larvae may also occasionally bite humans, possibly out of either aggression or hunger.[3]Therefore, the larvae are colloquially known as “aphid lions” (also spelled “aphidlions”) or “aphid wolves”, similar to the related antlions. Their senses are weakly developed, except that they are very sensitive to touch. Walking around in a haphazard fashion, the larvae sway their heads from one side to the other, and when they strike a potential prey object, the larva grasps it. Their maxillae are hollow, allowing a digestive secretion to be injected in the prey; the organs of an aphid can for example be dissolved by this in 90 seconds. Depending on environmental conditions, larvae need about 1–3 weeks to pupation which takes place in a cocoon; species from temperate regions usually overwinter as a prepupa, though C. carnea overwinters as newly hatched adults.

While depending on species and environmental conditions, some green lacewings will eat only about 150 prey items in their entire life, in other cases 100 aphids will be eaten in a single week. Thus, in several countries, millions of such voracious Chrysopidae are reared for sale as biological control agents of insect and mite pests in agriculture and gardens. They are distributed as eggs, since as noted above they are highly aggressive and cannibalistic in confined quarters; the eggs hatch in the field. Their performance is variable; thus, there is a lot of interest in further research to improve the use of green lacewings as biological pest control. Species that have hitherto attracted wider study and are more or less readily available as captive-bred eggs to deposit out for hatching in pest-infested plant cultures are several members of Chrysoperla as well as Mallada signatus.[4]

Gardeners can attract these lacewings – and therefore ensure a steady supply of larvae – by using certain companion plants and tolerating beneficial weeds. Chrysopidae are attracted mainly by Asteraceae – e.g. calliopsis (Coreopsis), cosmos (Cosmos), sunflowers (Helianthus) and dandelion (Taraxacum) – and Apiaceae such as dill (Anethum) or angelica (Angelica).

Systematics an

Wikipedia contributors. “Chrysopidae.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 12 Jan. 2017. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.

By SVG version was created by User:Grunt and cleaned up by 3247, based on the earlier PNG version, created by Reidab. – This version created by Pumbaa, using a proper partial circle and SVG geometry features. (Former versions used to be slightly warped.), Public Domain, Link



Aphids are a small, soft-bodied insect that you can find on many plants in the garden, usually on the new growth and under leaves. They can be green, red, orange, black or white and woolly,  and are usually in clusters on new blooms and new growth, they are a common pest on roses.

The aphids tube-like mouth pierces the soft new growth of the plant and uses it as a straw to draw out fluids it uses to survive. This can cause a plant to be deformed, causes the plant to be more susceptible to disease and can even cause the plants death. 

Although pesticides can be used, the preferable way to deal with these pests is to make sure your plants have the proper nutrients and soil conditions, are planted where they can receive the lighting required for the specific plants, and encourage beneficial insects in your garden. Some well known beneficial insects that feast on aphids are Ladybugs and Green lacewings.

Photo by WikiPedant at Wikimedia Commons [Attribution or CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Earwig: Forficula auricularia

Earwigs are an interesting insect, they can be considered beneficial insects, but they can also be considered a pest, they have scary rumors going around about going into yours ears at night to do who knows what, and they can look pretty scary . Earwigs can be a common sight in garden areas and if you are wondering what they are doing there, this post will tell you.

Well, when it comes to being a beneficial insect, Earwigs are a predator to aphids which are a common garden pest that tend to deform new growth and buds on many plants including roses. They also largely consume decomposing plant material.

On the other hand, the pest side of things, if they find a plant they like, or are forced to find above ground shelter because of rain, they are known to eat  dahlia, chrysanthemum,clematis, seedlings, potted plants, basil, leafy greens, fruit trees, and occasionally strawberry, raspberry, nectarine and apricot, you will find the plants have been devoured over night, some leaves being ripped to shreds, others partially eaten through. They may leave small black particles of excrement behind as well. Avoid growing susceptible plants close to hedges and walls covered in ivy as these can house a large numbers of earwigs.

Earwigs are rarely seen during daylight unless a rock or other hiding place has been disturbed. They can be found in dark damp places like under rocks, in dense plants, mulch and compost piles.

Spider Mites

Host Plants:

In the garden: Many flowers
On Crops: Beans, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, corn and strawberries

Closely related to spiders, spider mites (sometimes called web-spinning mites) are specialists at colonizing drought-stressed plants. Under warm, dry conditions with temperatures above 80°F (26 °C), leaves become stippled with hundreds of tiny yellow dots that run together to make the leaves look sun-bleached. On leaf undersides, a faint webbing is often present, especially near the leaf tips.


Spider mites use piercing mouthparts to suck juices from plants. Heavily infested plants are weakened by spider mite feeding. Spider mites are attracted to drought-stressed plants.

Preventing Problems:

Spider mites thrive under hot, dusty conditions, so keeping the garden watered helps prevent problems. Spider mites also have numerous natural enemies that are easily wiped out by the use of pesticides. In organic gardens where beneficial insects are encouraged, spider mite problems are rare.

Managing Outbreaks:

Clip off and compost heavily infested leaves, because they will not recover. Thoroughly spray the plants with a fine spray of water, taking care to rinse leaf undersides. If the mites persist, repeat the water spray and then cover plants with an old sheet or other lightweight cloth for a couple of days. Shade and moist, cool conditions will seriously set back spider mites. To save a prized plant, an oil-based fungicide such as neem oil is the best intervention.



If you tap an infested leaf over a white sheet of paper, a 10x magnifying glass will reveal numerous moving specks, which are the spider mites.

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aphid and lady bugs

Host Plants:
In the garden: Ornamental trees and shrubs, including roses.
On Crops: Most vegetable fruit and ornamental plants.


Small, soft-bodied pear-shaped insects less than three millimeters long are usually aphids. Depending on species and plant, aphids may be beige, green, yellow or almost black. They tend to congregate in groups on new growth or in leaf crevices. See also black bean aphids and cabbage aphids.


There are many symptoms of aphid damage, including decreased growth rates, mottled leaves, yellowing, stunted growth, curled leaves, browning, wilting, low yields and, eventually, death. Along with the loss of plant juices from direct feeding, aphids can spread diseases.

Preventing Problems:

Check plants often for early outbreaks. Clip off and compost stems holding aphid clusters. Encourage beneficial insects including lady beetles, syrphid flies, and lacewings, which are important aphid predators.

Managing Outbreaks:

In small outbreaks, a high pressure spray from the garden hose can help remove aphids from plants. Follow up with two applications of insecticidal soap, one week apart. Be sure to apply the soap spray to leaf undersides and crevices.


Lady beetles and their larvae are great beneficial insects to welcome into your garden. Ants tend to be attracted to the honeydew left by aphids, so ant activity can often lead you to aphid colonies.

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Rose tips #2

Roses are prone to getting powdery mildew, a disease  that resembles baby powder, mainly on the leaves but it can occur anywhere on your roses, especially in damp climates and if your roses are in a shaded area. This is caused by the leaves getting damp and/ or not enough air flow. To keep this to a minimum, or to possibly eliminate all together, when pruning your roses cut branches that cross and touch each other and use drip irrigation. If you are watering by hand, try watering from underneath avoiding getting water ON the plant. Over-spray from sprinklers,  or being planted in shaded areas may be culprits to this ugly and common problem.
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Order rose bushes. Several beautiful species.
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