Head Gardener Marie Gattinger On Lily Beetles - Lougheed House

Posted by | August 13, 2014 | Uncategorized | 4 Comments
flowersblogThe 2014 Lougheed House Gardens

Our Head Gardener Marie Gattinger knows how to get a garden in tip-top shape. She has worked hard this year with her team of volunteers to create a garden rich in colour and symbolism.  She calls her inspiration for the year’s garden “beds in motion”. Commemorating the WWI centennial, the gardens reflect the movement of flags and include flowers symbolic of WWI, such as Ladybird Poppies.

Creating and nurturing a large garden presents many challenges, one of which is the Lily Beetle pest. Marie explains this problem, and how her team has remedied it:

We have discovered within our gardens a nasty little pest call the Lily Beetle in our Gardens.  It was discovered in the United States in 1945 and has spread throughout North America since then.  Lily leaf beetle (Lilioceris lilii) is known to lay its eggs and develop only on true lilies, Lilium species (Turk’s cap lilies, tiger lilies, Easter lilies, Asiatic and Oriental lilies) (not daylilies), and fritillaria (Fritillaria sp). Although lilies and fritillaria are the primary hosts, lily leaf beetle also feeds, sometimes just lightly, on a number of other plants, including lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis), soloman’s seal (Polygonatum sp.), bittersweet (Solanum sp.), potato (Solanum tuberosum), hollyhock (Alcea) and various hosta species. It is however, a devastating pest to true lilies.

lilliessLilies in the Lougheed House Gardens. Photo by Lia Kozlik
Red Lily BeetleThe Red Lily Beetle. Photo by The City of Calgary

Luckily, we have found them going about their business only on the lilies.  Some damage has been done in our west bed and the wildflower garden. Our volunteer Heather Lowe first spotted them and we have been removing the insects individually, removing the infested leaves, applying talc powder and washing the stems with a strong water stream.  Once the irreversible damage was done the plants are cut back to bare stems.  We will continue to monitor them and divide the bulbs in the fall and relocate them to uncontaminated areas.

The good news is that this is the only insect problem we currently have.  Ants are under control and the flowers are thriving.  A magnificent display this year and we encourage you to come to view the hard work that has gone into them.

– Marie Gattinger


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