Dunnville Horticulture Society

Mid-summer Dunnville Horticultural Society update

By Deb Zynomirski

President, DHS

As I write this, my Tiger Lilies are past their prime, their bare flower stems sadly swinging in the sweltering breeze. I can hear the cicadas’ mournful song carried along too. 

Why does summer seem to take so long to arrive, yet be so fleeting?

Aside from keeping up with some weeding, the hard work is done, and gardeners can enjoy the beauty of their flower gardens and the beginning of harvesting fruits and veggies. 

This is the time for you to relish the proverbial fruits of your labour. Stop and smell the roses, cut some fresh flowers to adorn your dinner table and share them with friends. 

Or perhaps you are skilled at canning. Pickling cukes are readily available, as are peppers and beans. 

Blueberries freeze well and can be made into smoothies well through the winter. 

Take full advantage of all the bounty of the season!

Were you fortunate enough to receive one of Dunnville Horticultural Society (DHS)’s “Splash of Red” door hangers? The DHS board has been surveying in town and our surrounding area in search of great gardens. 

We have been excited to hand this recognition out to almost 200 local gardeners so far!

As August days carry on, and the back-to-school ads start taking over the airwaves, remember that fall will be here before you know it. 

While you take full advantage of summer, remember to plan for fall. DHS will be returning to in-person meetings on September 15 at the Dunnville Optimist Hall. 

Mark your calendar and plan to join us that night!

DHS meets the third Thursday of the month at the Optimist Hall. For more information, check out our website at dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or our Facebook page under Dunnville Horticultural Society. DHS President, Deb Zynomirski, can also be reached by email at debzyn@gmail.com or by phone at 416-566-9337.

Get growing: The robber fly – a beneficial insect for your garden

As much as I like working the soil and watching our garden grow, I’m not entirely fond of the insects I run into. However, it’s important to know which insects I should toss to Rosie, our chicken and garden ‘helper’, and which ones should be allowed to run free. A few weeks ago, I was standing among our tomatoes and spotted a nasty looking bug. My first instinct was to squash it, but then I thought I should see what bug it was. So I pull out my phone, went to the Seek app, and snapped a photo … Efferia aestuans, also known as a robber fly.

Now this is not a pretty bug and I’m glad I looked it up because I would have thought it to be a bad garden bug, but it turns out to be a beneficial bug. Robber flies should be a welcome sight in your garden, but their bee-like appearance and aggressive nature can leave gardeners wondering, “Are robber flies dangerous?”

Robber flies are distant relatives of the common housefly and their appearance can be somewhat frightening as they are a big, hairy, humped flying insect. Robber fly insects are a mixed blessing to gardeners; if they’re seriously perturbed, they can inflict a painful bite and they do prey on beneficial insects too. But most gardeners tolerate this visitor, even if they do munch a few butterflies or bees, as the extensive pest control they will provide in your garden and landscape far outweighs the damage they do to a few other individual beneficial insects. They help rid the garden of harmful pests like grasshoppers, other flies, wasps, leafhoppers, white grubs, and pupating beetles.

So, when you spot one in your garden just be kind and don’t upset it.

Read more about robber flies at Gardening Know How online at gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/beneficial/robber-fly-information.htm.