Darling you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
If you say that you are mine
I'll be here til the end of time
So you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?--The Clash, 1981
I really didn't want to have to talk about this. It's not something I've been looking forward to. But I had to reach out for help before it's too late and I'm 'taken out'. Literally.
I am a Coneflower. Echinacea purpurea, to be exact. I am a magnet for pollinators!
Over the last several years the head master gardener here, Jan, has come to realize the importance of native plants and began adding me and my pals to the gardens.
Here in Just-Be Gardens, I am mostly true-to-the-native-form (but a couple of my friends are cultivars, such as E. 'Pink Double Delight', above.)
Along the way, my head master gardener was intrigued by some of the new cultivars and brought home several, such as E. 'Pixie Meadowbright', E. 'Kim's Knee High', E. 'Magnus', E. 'Cocunut Lime'--but many of them did not return the following year.
But I will say, strictly speaking as a coneflower, E. 'Pink Double Delight' has been a highlight of my time in Just-Be Gardens. She has come back year after year and even though she's got 'frills', she's always covered with my insect friends.
It's not that it isn't okay to have some of the cultivars of Echinacea, if you like them...just be sure you also provide some natives so my pollinator friends can actually get some substantial sustenance like pollen and seeds!
At any rate, there's a big problem lately here in Just-Be Gardens, and the head master gardener seems to think the only way to solve it is to rip us out.
We all seem to be plagued by a new 'oddity' that has never entered these gardens before. Jan has tried to ignore it, claiming to 'accept' us with our flaws and not judge only by outward appearances.
After talking to some other gardeners and doing some research, however, my Echinacea friends and I are afraid she has come to the haltingly grim conclusion that we have got to go! (We wondered what she's been doing this past year in her Master Gardener classes...and now we're not so sure we're happy with some of her new-found knowledge)!
We really don't look THAT ugly, do we? What harm can come from letting us stay, I ask you?
It seems that we've got something called Aster Yellows. It's a disease caused by an organism called a phytoplasma--similar to a virus or bacteria.
The phytoplasma is sucked up by leafhoppers, which feed on us and then pass it from plant to plant.
Perhaps you've seen something like the white substance on the hosta shoot, below? Ever wonder what that was? It's not a disease...it's leafhoppers! Leafhoppers don't really hurt the hosta...so they can just be hosed off, wiped off, or allowed to stay, if you're ok with their visiting.
But leafhoppers carry the phytoplasma organism from this damaging Aster Yellows disease to many other plants, particularly Echinacea...but also to Rudbeckia, along with hundred of other kinds of plants in a variety of families.
I have to agree with the head master gardener here, it would be sad if our disease was transmitted to her other plants, which would not only make them look deformed, but continue the cycle even further.
If we aren't
So, I guess this is goodbye from
Sometimes you have to hurt the ones you love, I guess. Such is life in the real world, and in the gardening world.
Since native plants are important to me and included in the subject of this post, I've added it to Gail's Wildflower Wednesday meme at her Clay and Limestone blog.
Until next time,
Words and photos ©Thanks for today.™, by Jan Huston Doble @ http://www.thanksfor2day.blogspot.com/
Not to be reproduced or re-blogged without express permission of the author.