The pretty pest eating your garden right now

Now that the strangest summer in living memory has ended, many new gardeners are still enjoying the food produced by their COVID victory gardens. The summer pests faced by all gardeners are also enjoying the bounty. One, the cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae), is fluttering about in many a garden on these foggy or sunny early-fall days. Non-gardeners often find them charming, but if you are growing food crops, you will want to learn a bit about this butterfly in order to save some of the crops you are harvesting now as well as the ones you plant for fall and winter.

Very few butterflies damage plants we eat, but the larvae of this one will chow down heartily on all crops in the cabbage family. That includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards and kale (known as “cole crops”), as well as turnips and radishes — all crops that Bay Area gardeners can plant in the late summer, and, in some locations, into fall. The caterpillars of cabbage white butterflies, known as cabbage worms, will devour the leaves of these plants. While they will feed on plants of any age, young plants are particularly endangered, since one caterpillar can devour an entire seedling in just a couple of days.

During World War II, victory gardens in England suffered so much from this pest that people called them “Hitler’s allies.” Gardeners who know what these caterpillars do to crops are often irate to the point of wanting to chase and kill butterflies. However, besides not being good for your blood pressure, that is not the best control method. To reduce damage, we need to learn a little about this pest.

As a butterfly, it has a four-part life cycle. The adult flutterers mate, then the female, (identifiable by the two black dots on her forewings) lays pale yellow eggs on the undersides of the leaves of preferred crops. (The eggs look like tiny rockets ready for launch.) In five to seven days, these hatch into tiny velvety jade green, very hungry caterpillars. After they have eaten for a couple of weeks, when they are an inch long or a bit longer, they form a chrysalis (a cocoon), often on the same plants they have been eating. This can last from about 10 days to the entire winter season before new adult butterflies fly forth.

This little green caterpillar is the larva of pieris rapae.

The most susceptible stage of this pest is the egg. If you have only a few plants to protect, your best bet is to examine leaf undersides every few days and brush off the tiny eggs. While you’re examining the plants, if you encounter any caterpillars, remove them, too. Also, while you’re at it, brush off any other tiny eggs you find on the leaves, as they will mostly hatch into something that is up to no good, and crush or wash off any aphid infestations. If you have too many plants for frequent examination, inspect a few of them for a while to monitor them, and

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Sitting Pretty home decor sets up shop in New Canaan

NEW CANAAN — Laura Mason, owner of the Sitting Pretty home decor store, had so many locals visiting her Westport shop that she recently decided to move it to New Canaan.

“I came here because I had a lot of great customers from New Canaan,” Mason said. “This town has a wonderful downtown with stores owned by individuals, so every store has their own style and charm — very personal.”

Sitting Pretty has a new second floor shop at 111 Elm St. in with colorful items from far corners of the world and right nearby.

Mason said she curates a wide array of personal and household items from local artists as well as from the Netherlands, Italy, Morocco, Japan and France. She sells furniture, sweaters from France, lamps, puzzle cards, trays, gifts, ottomans and much more.

Prior to COVID-19, she traveled widely, bringing back items from her trips that she brought back to her store in Sconset Square in Westport.

Many of those items were sold to people from New Canaan.

The Westport native is excited about moving her store to New Canaan.

“I like the idea of being in a town like that,” Mason said. “The people here are very aware of creating a good vibe.”

Mason, an experienced designer, educated in interior design at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, said she likes the designer Epice from Paris and carries many of the designer’s items. She started at first with Epice scarves.

Traveling to France, “I discovered they had a home line. I was excited,” because “I don’t see these products anywhere else. I was glad to bring back something more unusual.”

She helps people shop for items to add flair to their homes, by looking at pictures of their rooms on their phones.

“I tell them

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7 pretty rockery ideas and 20 best rock garden plants

a close up of a rock wall: Rock garden ideas: Japanese rock garden, by David Martin

© Provided by Real Homes
Rock garden ideas: Japanese rock garden, by David Martin

These rock garden ideas will inspire you to create your very own rockery – it’s just as well that autumn is a perfect time to start building a rock garden. Rockeries are easy to build from scratch is just about any garden. Even if you haven’t got the space for an expansive rock garden, you can start one in containers and display it on a garden table. See all our favourite rock garden ideas below.

Find more garden ideas at our dedicated page.

1. Rock garden ideas for a slope? Build tiers

Sloped gardens present lots of wonderful opportunities for rock garden ideas – use stones of roughly the same size to create a spectacular tiered rock garden, filling the spaces between the rocks generously with rock garden plants of different heights and sizes. 

See more sloping garden ideas in our gallery.

2. Use a natural planting scheme in a large rockery

If you have a lot of space to cover, you may find it easier to scatter a seed mix over areas you’d like to be carpeted with flowers, rather than attempting to plant up the vast space manually. A rock garden doesn’t have to look formal – a natural planting scheme reminiscent of Alpine flower meadows will look stunning in a large space.

This rock garden uses the Annual Rockery Plant Mix Seeds  from Amazon.

3. Rock garden ideas for small spaces: plant in containers like Monty Don

Even a tiny garden can still have a rockery – you can easily start one in containers. To create a rock garden effect, choose rock garden plants – succulents, cacti, miniature bulb plants like small daffodils and iris – and sprinkle the soil around the plants with pebbles. Then, display your miniature rockery on a garden table. Beautiful. 

Monty Don has created his rockery on a table in containers and we’re sharing (above) because we think you’ll love it as much as we do. It would look fabulous reproduced in any garden, but one of the things that’s brilliant about it is that even if you have the smallest of exterior spaces, you could pull it off, too. 

4. Easy maintenance rock garden ideas? Add rocks and pebbles

If you prefer a clumped planting scheme for your rockery (where rock garden plants are dotted in groups around your rock garden), add texture and interest by filling the spaces between the plants and large rocks with smaller pebbles. The result will be more interested and polished than if you leave the soil between plants bare. And, of course, it will mean fewer plants, fewer weeds, less work – and less money spent on rock garden plants.

5. Rock garden ideas from Japan

Japanese rock gardens are a bit different from Alpine-style rock gardens. Firstly, a Japanese rock garden will use more shrubs and compact trees such as acers rather than just low-growing plants. Secondly, slate and fine

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The Pretty Things Reveal Video For ‘Come Into My Kitchen’

The Pretty Things Reveal Video For 'Come Into My Kitchen'

The Pretty Things have shared a video for “Come Into My Kitchen” from their acclaimed new record ‘Bare As Bone, Bright As Blood’ released today through Madfish Music.

A beautifully orchestrated tribute from the band to their iconic frontman Phil May who sadly passed away suddenly in May 2020; “Come Into My Kitchen” is accompanied by a moving visual of lovingly curated archive material from across the band’s career interwoven with special footage from their sold out 2018 ‘Final Bow’ show that marked The Pretty Things’ retirement from electric performance.

A powerful take on the Robert Johnson classic and a return to the delta-blues they loved as young men, this an essential recording for Pretty Things fans – “Come Into My Kitchen” finds Dick Taylor once again demonstrating his mastery of blues guitar while Phil May’s vocal is masterful and impassioned, once again proving why he is such an influential figure in the history of British popular music.

“Come Into My Kitchen” is taken from their brand-new album ‘Bare As Bone, Bright As Blood’. Released today by long time label Madfish, the album showcases 12 stripped-down tracks that will no doubt contribute towards The Pretty Things’ incredible legacy. Already receiving high praise from critics, the record

Consistent with The Pretty Things’ ambitious musical history and refusal to simply sit still creatively, this album is the breathtaking outcome of a personal challenge set by the band to themselves; to create meaningful new music in a stripped back, acoustic-driven format. ‘Bare As Bone, Bright As Blood’ achieves this intention emphatically, resulting in the life-affirming sound of two truly incredible musicians and lifelong friends playing together at their experimental best.

‘Bare As Bone, Bright As Blood’ is out now on CD, gatefold 2xLP on red vinyl and digitally, and is available here.

Watch the new video here:

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