Q. What are some good vines to use in the landscape? I want to be able to block at least one unattractive view in full sun and I would like to use some old fencing for some vines that provide nectar to the butterflies and hummingbirds.
A. My favorite two vines are cross vine and butterfly vine. Cross vine is often the first blooming plant that gardeners see hummingbirds. It is evergreen and covers an eight-foot fence well. The blooms are an orange-rust color. One issue is that the deer often eat the blooms and foliage. Butterfly vine is usually not eaten by deer. It has yellow flowers that transform themselves into green butterfly shaped seed pods. It will also cover a fence or arbor well enough to block an ugly view. Passion vine is the plant that gulf fritillary butterflies lay their eggs on. It has pretty flowers but is not known as a uniform discipline grower. Queen Ann’s lace is an aggressive grower with pink or white blooms that often grow over trees and buildings. The blooms are spectacular and are always full of bees and other pollinators. It can become too large. Luckily, it is cold sensitive and freezes back to the ground every winter.
Q. Can we mow down our poppies, larkspur, and blue curl now? The flowers all seem to have matured into seed.
A. I would be surprised if all the blue curl had matured its seed, but it starts dropping seed early in its bloom period so there should be plenty on the ground. The poppies and larkspur seem to have distributed their seed in the locations where I see it growing.
Q. You are right about BHN968 and ruby crush cherry tomatoes having different but both wonderful flavors. The BHN 968 is tarter than the ruby crush, which is sweeter, but both are wonderful and easy to grow. What is the best full-size tomato?
A. I do not think any of the large tomatoes match ruby crush and BHN 968 for flavor. Taste tests always seem to have a different full-size tomato chosen as a favorite after the two cherries. Tycoon and celebrity are often selected but Phoenix, 444, and HM8849 are also just as likely to be selected. Cherokee purple is an heirloom tomato that has an ugly shape but good flavor.
Q. What does it take to control leaf footed bugs on peaches. They are so ugly and do considerable damage but do not seem to respond to my Spinosad insecticide spray.
A. You are right leaf-footed bugs and other stink bugs are hard to control, but I have had good results with both Sevin and malathion.