The Award of Garden Merit (AGM) is the Royal Horticultural Society’s most prestigious accolade. I occasionally feature AGM plants offered by Mr Fothergill here on Plant Talk – I discussed AGM lettuce varieties back in the spring – but today I’m bringing you news of some shrubs that have recently received the award; you’ll find them in garden centres or listed by specialist shrub nurseries.
Cornus Venus (‘Kn30 8’) (left, click to enlarge) is a flowering dogwood launched at Chelsea in 2009, eventually reaching about 5m, and which features unusually large pure white flowers, prolifically produced in May and June. The final two that I’ll pick from the twenty shrubs just added to the AGM list are Sarcococca hookeriana ‘Winter Gem’ and Skimmia japonica ‘Magic Marlot’ (right, click to enlarge). Growth cracks are common on many tomato varieties and result from the uneven growth rate of the fruit.
Septoria leafspot occurs later in the summer and causes small spots on the leaves usually bordered with a purple ring. In 2009 late blight caused extensive devastation in the Northeast but it is generally a minor disease in the St. Scale insects (Hemiptera) on night blooming cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum), also called, Dutchman's pipe cactus or Night Queen.
Although most problems associated with cacti and succulents grown as houseplants are bacterial or fungal diseases caused by overwatering, they do get the occasional insect pest. Mealybugs and scale both damage plants by sucking plant juices resulting in plants that are weak with wrinkled, shriveled leaves. Close-up of scale insects (Hemiptera) on night blooming cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum), also called, Dutchman's pipe cactus or Night Queen. Fungus gnats, insects that belong to the fly family Diptera, occur around damp, decaying vegetation, algae, and fungi.
Fungus gnats are sometimes confused with other small flies not discussed here, including black flies, midges, mosquitoes, shore flies, moth flies and March flies.
Fungus gnats develop through four stages: egg, larvae (four larval stages or instars), pupa, and adult. The larvae feed for about 2 weeks and then pupate near the soil surface within thread chambers.
Yellow sticky trap used to trap adult fungus gnats (Diptera), whitefly (Hemiptera) and other flying insects.
This entry was posted in Gardening News, Gardens in general, Our Garden and tagged hardy perennial, purple flowers.
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It’s only given to outstanding plants, and only after they’ve been compared, side-by-side, to similar varieties or following extensive discussion by experienced experts. A graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Graham was previously Gardening Correspondent of The Observer. A spray containing copper applied as a protectant can provide some protection but it is best to avoid problems by allowing for proper spacing and removing infected leaves early.
They plug the vascular tissue of the plant (water conducting tissue) and result in wilting of the plants and inevitable death. Symptoms can be curled or string-like foliage, mosaic coloration on the foliage and fruit, or deformed plants. They are slow moving and usually are in clusters along leaf veins or spines, on the underside of leaves, and in hidden areas at joints.
The first sign of spider mites is usually webbing and small brown dots, especially on younger growth, where the plant's epidermis has been damaged. The factsheets below will assist you in selecting the best plants for your landscape situation.


These tiny gnats can appear in large numbers in or around buildings, prompting complaints, and also can be a problem in greenhouses, nurseries, and interior plantscapes.
When their preferred food choices run out, they feed on roots, stunting plant growth, causing foliage to yellow and leaves to drop.
Adult fungus gnats are dark, delicate-looking insects, similar in appearance to mosquitoes.
The ¼ inch long larvae have a shiny black head and an elongate, whitish to clear, legless body. Unlike most sedums, ‘Ogon’ seems to prefer some afternoon shade in hot summer climates such as the St. I’ve been involved with both aspects of choosing AGM plants, so I know how thorough the process is. Once the dry, leathery spot forms it will not go away but, if the spot is minor, the fruit may still ripen normally. If all the plants of the same variety are equally affected, each plant is totally affected (not just part of the plant), and the foliage still looks green and healthy, most likely the roll is normal and not caused by spider mites or a virus disease.
The hornworm has stopped feeding and beneficial parasitic wasps will emerge from the cocoons.
Spider mites are piercing-sucking mites that feed on the leaves causing them to first look a bit off-color and later bleached and brown. Although chemicals are available to control some of the diseases, your first line of defense should be to plant your tomatoes with plenty of space between them; 3-4 feet apart should be the minimum spacing to allow good air flow around the plants. Removing an infected leaf early when it first appears can go a long way to controlling the disease without chemicals. Fusarium wilt is often noticed on just one side of the plant first but can quickly affect the whole plant. Remove diseased plants when noticed and look for varieties that are more resistant to the common virus diseases.
Adult flies do not cause any damage but the larva live in the soil consuming organic matter and roots.
To ensure that you do not introduce pests to your healthy plants, check new plants carefully and quarantine them until you are sure they are pest-free. Spraying the plant with a dilute alcohol solution (1:3) may help control pests that are not easily visible but the solution may damage the epidermis of sensitive cacti and succulents. There is information on plants for specfic situations as well as plants for special gardens, such as, a bird garden or a butterfly garden. Fungus gnats infest soil and container media, where larvae feed on organic matter and roots, feeder roots and root hairs. They do not bite people or animals and, in the United States, are not known to carry human pathogens.
Larval damage can be especially serious in greenhouses, nurseries, and sod farms where they harm seedlings, cuttings, and young plants without fully developed root systems. Any root feeding in gardens or landscapes is usually minor in comparison with the gnats’ beneficial role as decomposers converting dead vegetation into nutrients for plant growth, as important pollinators and as food for small animals such as birds, reptiles and beneficial insect predators.
Adult females deposit 30 to 200 whitish-yellow eggs singly or in clusters in crevices or cracks on the surface of growing media, and in moist, organic debris. Use biological control agents such as nematodes, rove beetles, and mites to control fungus gnats.
They are too often overlooked by gardeners who just report that the lower leaves on their tomatoes are turning brown and dying. Staking the plants can also provide better air circulation to allow foliage to dry quickly.


The disease begins as black, water-soaked spots on the leaves but can quickly spread and kill plants.
Control of these pests is difficult because they are small and hide in places that make them hard to see, because they have a cottony or hard covering to protect them or because they have developed a resistance to insecticides. In addition to the damage caused by sucking juices from the roots, root mealy bugs make the plant more susceptible to rot from bacterial and fungal infections. Large plants are usually not affected by the root damage but seedlings may be stunted or killed. Be sure to grow your cacti and succulents in the conditions recommended for the species including proper sunlight, water and drainage. You may also want to use our PlantFinder to help you select plants for a specific need, such as, full sun in clay soil with white flowers and is deer tolerant.
Both larvae and adults can spread plant pathogens and may promote disease in commercial crops. If conditions are especially moist and fungus gnats are abundant, larvae can leave slime trails on the surface of media that look like trails from small snails or slugs.
Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis (Gnatrol and Summit Mosquito Bits) is effective against larvae in potted plants. Because new adults emerge daily, repeat sprays every few days for at least two weeks to reduce populations. If the problem is more severe, the leathery spot can split open and provide an entry point for fungi and bacteria which will rot the fruit. Disease can also cause leaves to brown and die, but spider mites are easy to spot on close examination.
Crop rotation and selecting tomato varieties that are more resistant to the disease are the best control measures. Root mealy bugs may also be washed away if they are noticed on the roots when repotting the plant.
They have been implicated in the transmission of plant fungal diseases, including black root rot, Pythium blight, Verticillium wilt, Botrytis blight and Fusarium wilt.
It is toxic for 2 days and doesn’t kill egg laying adults, so repeat applications are necessary. Leaf color gives rise to the sometime used common name of Japanese golden sedum for this plant. Following these rules and removing leaves early that show signs of disease can reduce disease problems considerably. Fungus gnats are relatively weak fliers and remain near plants running or resting on growing media, foliage, or plant litter. Steinernema feltiae is an insect killing nematode that can be applied as a drench treatment. To kill larvae, allow soil to dry as much as possible (without damaging plants) between waterings.. Best results come from a first application at planting and then following with 2 to 3 weekly applications.



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