May E-News from Viette's                                      Volume 12: No. 5

Lori Jones, Editor                                                                                                  May/2016

Peonies are the highlight of the May gardens!


The peonies are budding up and will soon be blooming!


In a few weeks, the
peony display beds will be a mass of glorious colors!
Stop in for a visit!


We have 25 different varieties of peonies available in pots in our garden center this spring!
Quick Links
Plant of the Month 
If you enjoy our newsletter, please pass it along to your gardening friends!


More May Tips ...
Bumble bee visits a spring azalea flower
Pruning Spring Blooming Shrubs
The time to prune spring blooming shrubs is right after they finish flowering.
After the blooms fade, prune 2 to 3 inches off the branch tips that flowered. If you want to prune the shrub to make it shorter, cut 1/3 of the oldest branches back 12 inches and prune the remaining stems creatively to produce an attractive layered look.  
Watch Mark's video tip on pruning Azaleas.
A spent flower on rhododendron
A spent flower on rhododendron
When they finish flowering, carefully remove the dead blossoms without damaging the small leaf buds that have formed just behind them. If the rhododendrons have gotten too tall, use the same pruning method mentioned above with Azaleas to bring them back down to size.
Forsythia blooms
Prune Forsythia right after the blooms fade to shape them up, thin them, and remove old wood. Take the oldest branches right back to the ground. Do not leave a stump or undesirable new growth will develop.
Watch Mark's video tip on pruning Forsythia. 
Lilac 'Sensation'
After they finish flowering, cut up to 20% of the oldest stems and any weak, spindly stems right to the ground. This will keep your lilac nice and full with blooms from top to bottom. This type of pruning also allows good internal air circulation which will help prevent disease problems like powdery mildew.
Read more about pruning lilacs and rejuvenating old, overgrown lilacs.
Watch Mark's video tip on pruning lilacs. 
This Month at Viette's ...
Saturday, May 14th - 1:30 pm
Wednesday, May 18th - 1:30 pm
Saturday, May 21st - 1:30 pm
Wednesday, May 25th - 1:30 pm
Andre Viette The Garden in May
all about the wonderful perennials, trees, and shrubs that bloom in the spring and early summer. Andre will talk about the beautiful spring blooming plants that welcome this exciting new season. He will focus on plants with easy culture and low maintenance. Learn how to prepare your garden for the spring season through good garden cleanup and maintenance, pruning, and fertilizing.
will take you on a personal tour of his beautiful spring gardens after his talk. See his gorgeous hosta collection and all the wonderful spring bloomers!
Free lecture
Gardening Tip of the Month
Lady Beetles and
    Other Beneficial
Lady beetle adult
Adult lady beetle
These are the good guys!
Present in every garden, landscape, forest, and field, "natural enemies" help regulate populations of destructive insects and other organisms. Learning to recognize some of these beneficial creatures is the first step towards conserving and encouraging their helpful presence.

Lady Beetles- a.k.a. ladybugs 
Lady beetle larva
Lady beetle larva
Lady beetles are beneficial insects that, in both their larval stage and adult stage, consume large numbers of aphids (their preferred food), scale insects, mealybugs, thrips, and mites. Lady beetle larvae can eat up to 25 aphids in a single day and the adults can gobble up at least 50 in a day! When their populations are high, these ravenous critters have the potential to reduce the numbers of aphids and other soft bodied insect pests to the point where spraying is not necessary. They are great natural predators to have in the garden. 
Lady beetle larva and two pupae
Lady beetle larva and pupae
The larval stage of the lady beetle is described as being "alligator-shaped" - fitting for its predatory nature. It goes through four different instars, becoming larger (and more voracious) each time. The last larval stage becomes relatively sedentary before it attaches itself to a substrate to pupate.
Lady beetle adult emerging from pupa case
Lady beetle adult emerging
from a pupa case

The pupa stage lasts from 3 to 12 days depending on the species (and the temperature). When the adult beetle of the species shown here emerged from the pupa case, it was a bright golden yellow color.
Newly emerged adult lady beetle
Spots beginning to appear

As the exoskeleton dried and hardened, it slowly changed to an orange-red and the black spots began to appear.

Read more about lady beetles on my blog!

Mason Bees - Great pollinators

Blue orchard bee_ Scott Bauer_ USDA Agricultural Research Service_
Blue orchard bee
Orchard mason bees or blue orchard bees (Osmia lignaria) are one of the most prolific pollinators of early spring flowers. These bees, which are native to the United States, are solitary bees. They don't have a complex social system or live in hives like the European honeybees.  
Just a few mason bees can pollinate a lot of fruit trees and they don't mind flying around and visiting flowers during the cool, rainy weather is so common during spring. You won't find many honeybees flying around in those conditions.
Mason bees make use of pre-existing holes and cavities for their nesting sites. They will use holes left behind by wood boring insects, holes drilled by woodpeckers, and sometimes they make their nests in hollow stems.
Mason bee house
Mason bee house with
active nests.
Like many species of solitary bees, mason bees are very docile and not prone to aggressiveness so they are wonderful bees to have around in the garden.

Since mason bees are such great pollinators, many gardeners and home orchardists will place artificial mason bee houses around their gardens or fruit trees in order to encourage them to nest there. This can help ensure good pollination of spring blooming trees, shrubs, and flowers.

Read more about mason bees and how to create your own mason bee house.

Braconids and Other Parasitic Wasps 
The cocoons of a braconid wasp cover the back  of a tobacco hornworm.
The cocoons of a braconid wasp cover the back of a hornworm.
Many groups of small, inconspicuous wasps including braconids, aphidiids, ichneumonids, and trichogrammatids parasitize insects or their eggs. The small, white cocoons of one braconid are often seen attached to the body of hornworms in home gardens.
for other species include various caterpillars, tarnished plant bugs, aphids, whiteflies, leafminers, and beetle and fly larvae or pupae. Paper wasps, yellow jackets, mud-daubers, cicada-killers and other wasps are predators of different caterpillars, cicadas, spiders and other organisms. Ants tending aphids for honeydew sometimes defend them against parasitoid wasps and predators. 
Read more about Beneficial Insects and Natural Predators

Did You Know?
Adult mosquito_ Jim Occi_ BugPics_
This tip from
Mosquitoes can cause more harm to humans than any other group of insects. There are nearly 200 mosquito species in the United States. They are active both during the day and night.
not only inflict a painful bite, but they can transmit organisms which cause human diseases such as malaria, encephalitis, West Nile, and the Zika virus. Zika is a disease caused by the Zika virus and is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika include fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis (red eyes).
Mosquitoes are a midge-like fly with tube-like mouth parts used to pierce the hosts' skin to consume blood. Only female mosquitoes bite. Mosquito saliva often causes an irritating rash. However, the real danger mosquitoes pose is the role they play as carriers of serious disease such as Zika and West Nile.
Mosquitoes require water to breed. Adults will lay eggs in stagnant or slow-moving water, or on moist soil or leaf litter in wet areas. Mosquitoes hatch from eggs and they start out as swimming larvae. In warm weather, they can transform from egg to adult in as little as four days.
Successful control includes killing larvae as well as adult mosquitoes and eliminating them from outdoor living spaces. The best way to keep safe is to eliminate mosquito breeding areas.
  • Drain unnecessary containers or any standing water on your property
  • Keep gutters clean and unclogged
  • Use a larvicide such as Bonide Mosquito Beater WSPs to kill larvae where it is not possible to drain water, or to treat ornamental ponds or bird baths. This product contains a bacterial larvicide (Bti) which controls mosquito larvae when they ingest it. It will not harm fish, amphibians, or other beneficial aquatic organisms.

Control adult mosquitoes by treating lawns, shrubs, or wooded areas using Bonide Mosquito Beater liquid sprays or fogger.  

From the Viette's Views Blog ...
04-29-2016 08:35:50 AM

Today is Arbor Day! Celebrate! Plant a tree! Show someone close to your heart that you really care about them by planting a tree in their honor or in memory of a loved one. One day it will grow to be a majestic tribute to that very special person! Here are a few tips for [...]...»

Andre's New Book  
is Hot Off the Press!
"Mid-Atlantic Getting Started Garden Guide"
A useful plant selection guide for gardeners in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
The mid-Atlantic region is huge and overflowing with great plants that you can grow - but perhaps you don't know which ones to select or how to grow them. Andre and Mark Viette, together with Jacqui Heriteau share their many years of gardening experience to help you choose the best plants for your garden and teach you how to keep them healthy. Whether you are a beginning gardener, a newcomer to the area, or an old hand who's looking for some new ideas, this is the book for you.

Featuring ... 

  • Recommendations for easy-to-grow, low maintenance plants for the mid-Atlantic region
  • Includes all plant types from annuals to perennials; trees and shrubs; herbs, bulbs, and vines ...
  • Loads of design tips
  • The authors' favorite cultivars and species
  • Advice on planting, growing, and care, including pest and disease control.
Before you buy another plant and cross your fingers hoping it will work in your garden, get a copy of this informative book! 
Call Viette's today at 800-575-5538 or visit
our garden center to get a signed copy of this wonderful new gardening resource or any of the other wonderful books by the Viettes.
Gardening Questions?
Andre  answers a listener's question during a broadcast of 'In the Garden' Listen to Andre  
on the radio every Saturday morning from 8:00-11:00 on 
"In the Garden  
with Andre Viette"
Click for a station list or
listen live from our
flagship station WSVA.
Listen to podcasts of "In the Garden".


Viette Discussion Board
Travel with Andre and Claire Viette in 2016!  
Budapest on the banks of the Danube
Budapest on the banks of the Danube
The Imperial Gardens  
and Treasures Tour
September 18 - October 1, 2016

Featuring the Imperial worlds of the
German and Austro-Hungarian Empires
Visit Hungary, Austria,
the Czech Republic, and Germany

Tour highlights include:
Budapest - Enjoy a guided tour of this beautiful city on the Danube; visit a botanical garden; spend a day in the Puszta - land of the Hungarian cowboys and be treated to an equestrian show and gypsy music   
Vienna - From Budapest, we will travel up the Danube by hydrofoil boat to Vienna where you will see the famous Lipizzaner Stallions, the Schönbrunn Gardens, and enjoy a concert of Strauss and Mozart at the  Schönbrunn Palace.
Berlin's River Spree
Cruising on Berlin's River Spree
Prague - We then travel north to Prague by way of the scenic Wachau Valley. Tour Prague, its famous castle, the Charles Bridge, and magnificent gardens. End the day with a three-hour cruise on the Vltava River! 
Berlin - On the way to Berlin, we will stop at the city of Dresden. In Berlin, relax on a cruise on the River Spree, enjoy a candlelight dinner and concert at the Charlottenburg palace, and take a walking tour of Berlin. You can even opt to join Andre and Claire on a visit to the largest private botanical garden in Europe.
Andre will give a series of gardening presentations throughout the trip.

Space is limited to 42 persons so this trip will fill up fast!


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