Pretty Zebra Mallow bloom

For every pretty picture in my garden this week,  there’s a really ugly one, too.

Pretty ugly plant

The hybrid tomatoes have white flies.

The heirlooms have curling yellow leaves. 

A disease called rust has infected the hollyhocks.

And the old roses have black spot–of course.  After all  it’s been really, really hot. 

Mostly, I just live with these problems.  I cut the plants back or just avoid looking at them until less stressful weather arrives.   

But I have a large garden and that kind of personality.  Some people just can’t live with ugly.

Last week a family member told me about her sickly looking tomato plants which she hoped would improve after a dose of the Bayer 3 in 1 that keeps her roses looking good.

“OMG–you’re going to kill yourself!!!!,  I said using every last one of the exclamation points. 

Bayer agreed this was a bad move  when she followed up on their  1-800 number. 

Not only does this gardener have to pull out all her edible plants, but she can’t grow food within 3 feet of that spot for over a year. 

That 3 in 1 is  powerful stuff and not approved for food crops.

But looking back it was an easy mistake to make.  Bayer doesn’t put skulls and crossbones on their products.  And who reads all the detailed product info we get on packaging these days.

But with garden chemicals, you have to read.  That’s so important I’m going to say it twice.  Read the label.  Better yet– no sudden moves, impulse buys or applications until you get some good advice.

I suggest a visit to a local seed and feed store like Stone Brothers and Byrd in Durham. They can tell you if there’s an organic solution to your problem and explain how to properly use any garden chemicals you buy. 

And do try to live with some ugly in your garden.  It happens, especially this time of year. 

My tomato plants are super-ugly, but the maters still taste good.