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Ugh. First Japanese beetle (Popilia japonica) of the season. Found it on the ‘Gold Medal’ rose.

Sometimes it seems as though the world conspires against gardeners. Every time I think, great, this plant/setup/new thing is going to be awesome! something happens to it. The elder bushes had elder shoot borer caterpillars (Achatodes zeae), which they never had before. The leaf-mining midges (Cricotopus sp.) didn’t waste any time at all chewing on the water lilies. Beet leafminers (Pegomya hyoscami) have been making a mess of the beetroot leaves, which fortunately I don’t bother with (I only want the beetroots themselves), as well as the sorrel (Rumex acetosa), which IS being grown for the leaves.

And now the Japanese beetles are back, as they always are, right on time.

And of course, squirrels digging and killing and making a mess, rabbits chewing and killing everything, raccoons crapping…it’s like some demented gardening version of A Partridge in a Pear Tree. Where’s a fox when you need one? Or a hawk? The local hawk’s a tiny one, barely bigger than the robin I found it eating once (on my neighbour’s lawn).

There is one success story though…sort of. When I put the tropical pitcher plant (Nepenthes ‘Deroose Alata’) outside for summer, I have no trouble at all with wasps. Unfortunately, the local chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) often rip the pitchers open. Whether it’s to get at the dead bugs or the liquid inside or both, I haven’t figured out yet.

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