Wasp Control in the Home and Garden

Wasps in gardens, picnic areas, pub gardens and communal areas in the summer months can quickly become a major nuisance. Wasps are a social insect, forming colonies containing anywhere from 5000 – 10000 wasps per season. The hibernating and fertilized queen will emerge around mid April time (or sooner, depending on temperatures) and search for a suitable nesting site.

The nest starts of as a golf ball sized nest made from chewed bark, dried timber mixed with saliva, within this starter nest she lays between 10 and 20 eggs, the first brood of adult workers (sterile females) will take over the development of the nest and providing food for the next lot of eggs being laid by the queen. At the start of the season wasp pose little or no threat (this can be a different matter if the nest is interfered with) and it is only towards the end of the wasp season that they become a nuisance towards humans.

During the latter part of the summer the queen will mate and then leave the nest site to find a suitable over-wintering location. The remaining workers and few remaining males become sluggish, and their feeding on over-ripe fruit will produce a “tipsy” behavior, leading towards aggression towards anyone interfering with them. The on-coming winter will kill off the workers and the remaining males, with only the fertilized queens surviving by hibernating. During this nuisance time, the wasps will be bothering the general public in places like pub gardens and parks etc, they tend to feed off the sweeter food stuffs such as children’s lolly-pops, soft drinks alcoholic drinks, and pretty much anything containing sugar.

Obviously the nest (if near by) can be treated, but this could mean the area being out of bounds for up to 24 hours, this could in turn lead to loss of business and loss of profits. However other methods for dealing with wasps are available. New wasp treatment systems such as the waspbane are easily available to obtain from online pest control shops.

The wasbane is a wasp trap, the wasps are attracted and lured in to the trap with specially developed attractants, the wasps enter the chamber of the trap to get to the attractant, once the wasps have entered the trap they cannot escape. The trap can be placed at the bottom of the beer garden, around parks, or hanging from trees. In a recent study at a well known theme park, it was recorded that after installing the waspbane trap in various locations around the park, reports of wasp sting went down as much as 95% in 1 year. 

Ivy For Your Home and Garden

This plant, in some of its varieties, is probably the most popular ornament of the parlor. The ease of culture, its beautiful foliage, its rapid growth, and evergreen character all combine to make it a favorite.

The soil should be a rich loam; the richer the soil the more rapid will be the growth. Yet avoid stimulating manures. Slips root readily, taken off at any leaf joint, and placed either in earth or water; in the latter they will soon throw out roots, and may then be transferred to pots.

The only precaution to be taken in growing ivy is to keep it from frost while in growth and if frozen, to keep the sun away from it, thawing it out with cold water from whatever garden water feature you possess. In summer the plants may be set out of doors, and will make vigorous growth.

There are many species, of which the most common is Hedera Helix, the common twining ivy, a native of Europe, of which there are many varieties. The leaves of these varieties vary quite a bit and many distinctions have been founded on these variations.

There are two very beautiful kinds, the silver and golden, the foliage being beautifully variegated with white and gold. The Tree or Aborescent Ivy is merely a form of the common variety, which is shown by its returning to the primal Aborescent form not infrequently. The leaves are entire, and the plant often, retains its form for years.

H. Roegneriana is a variety with large, heart-shaped leaves, which is much esteemed.

H. digitata, the palmate or hand-shaped Ivy is a pretty variety, of rapid growth; the leaves are small, dark, and veined. This is often called, erroneously, the Irish Ivy.

H. Canariensis is the Irish, or Giant Ivy, the leaves are five-lobed, and larger than those of the common ivy. This type of ivy may not be best for areas where patio statuary is on display since it can grow quite large and overshadow the statues.

Almost all the varieties of nurserymen’s’ catalogs are merely forms of these, with peculiar foliage.

The Golden Ivy is a splendid plant; when the young
leaves come out it resembles a mass of yellow flowers. Ivies are grown in hanging baskets, around windows, made to trail around picture frames and looking glasses; indeed, they may be made decorative in the highest degree.

The plants should always be well supplied with water, though it should never be allowed to stand at the roots. Large plants of the common varieties may be procured inexpensively. The ornamental foliaged varieties are somewhat pricier.

If you have ivy growing out of doors (and it will thrive if you keep the winter’s sun away from it), a pretty effect may be produced by cutting large branches, and keeping them in vases or outdoor fountains of rain water. They will grow well all winter, and planted in spring make nice plants for autumn.

The plant commonly known as German Ivy is not an ivy; the botanical name is Senecio Scandens. It is deservedly popular, from its rapid growth and its freedom from insects. The Coliseum Ivy is a species of Snap-dragon, as may be seen from an examination of the flowers, and a very pretty plant it is; botanically it is Linaria Cymbalaria.

Five-leaved Ivy is the Virginia Creeper or Woodbine (Ampelopsis Virginica), a native of our woods. The Poison Ivy is Rhus Radicans or Rhus Toxicodendron, and not of the same family as any of the above.

Water Fountains For a Beautiful Home and Garden

Water fountains have been in existence for many centuries. As a matter of fact, they have been already popular in the ancient times. The Roman influence on them is strong even today. As the ancient Roman population was more than a million people, the engineers constructed 11 aqueducts to give a stream of fresh water to everyone in the city.

Once the decline of the Roman empire was underway, many of these aqueducts got cut, however the Middle Ages has seen a restoration of many aqueducts and the creation of various public fountains. Ever since then garden types have been very popular all over the world.

These days water fountains have various uses, ranging from drinking fresh water to being beautiful pieces of engineering art. You can find many different designs that can greatly enhance any garden they are placed in. You can find jet fountains in front of various governmental and commercial buildings, and in many parks. They can be either single or multi tiered whereby the design perfectly blends in with the ambient.

There are also floating fountains that are very popular in ponds and pools. A wall type with a dim light installed on it is flowing nicely like a satin curtain. The one with the lion head is one of the most common types that come to mind. The choices are endless and whether you want it indoors or outdoors, you can find the perfect one for your needs.

The Feng Shui fountain is popular indoors when you like meditate or you want to enhance the health and wealth of anyone being in the room. If you are into Feng Shui, this is a must. However avoid keeping it in the bedroom as the water element and sleeping quarters don’t mix well.

Crafting Stained Glass Mosaic Stepping Stones for Your Home and Garden

Making your own stepping stones is actually quite easy, a bit messy and a lot of fun. It’s a wonderful outside family craft for a warm seasonal day. Crafting a personalized hand-print and/or footprint stepping stone for each child, parent and even the pets will not only add charm to your garden path but also become prized keepsakes. The kids will enjoy comparing their hands and feet to their parents as they grow and the parents will cherish the memories the little prints’ will hold of childhood for many years to come.

The easiest way to craft stepping stones is to make them using a method called the “Stone Topper”. If you have never made a mosaic stepping stone or are looking for a quick and inexpensive way of crafting a number of stones, this method is perfect. No molds, no expensive kits, little mess and you probably have most of the needed materials on hand!

For each stone you will need:

1. A 12″ already made plain cement stepping stone. Any shape will work.
2. Five pounds of Cement Mortar Mix, this can be purchased at most home improvement stores.
3. Broken pieces of stained glass, glass nuggets and/or marbles.
4. A roll of strong and sturdy duct tape, enough to wrap around the edge of the stone.
5. Water.
6. A plastic bucket or large plastic bowl.
7. Measuring cup for liquids.
8. A garden trowel or old large spoon.
9. Dust mask, eyewear protection, and latex gloves.
10. A level work surface covered with paper or plastic.
11. Paper towels and trash bag for clean-up.

To make:

· Soak your stone in water until thoroughly wet.
· Wrap the top of the stone with duct tape forming a 1 ½” deep bed into which you will pour your cement mortar.
· Mix your cement following the manufacturer’s guidelines.
· Pour the cement into the duct tape bed leveling the mortar evenly throughout.
· Press your hand or foot into the wet cement.
· Decorate with the glass and let dry 5 to 7 days before placing outside.

The garden stones can easily be made in an afternoon and after a few days of drying they will be ready to set in your yard or they can become the perfect gifts for the Grandparents to enjoy in their yard.

Stained Glass Mosaic Stepping Stones are one of the easiest crafts to learn. It doesn’t require a great deal of artistic knowledge or technique to make a simple beautiful piece. If you love the look of stained glass and the fun of putting together a jigsaw puzzle you will love crafting these garden stones.