Delighted to hear from you and answer your questions. The following are a few recent emails edited only for space:
Missouri's Native 'Susans"
“…help us settle an argument. Are Black-eye Susans brown?”
According to "Missouri Wildflowers" book by Edgar Denison, we have Missouri natives Rubdeckia hirta, Black-eyed Susan, and Rubdeckia trilby, Brown-eyed Susan, both Daisy-family members. The main difference is that the first is larger and has "hairy" stems; the second is smaller and has bottom leaves that are three-lobed. I have both in my wildlife garden and they are one of the few flowers still blooming through this drought. Who won the bet?
“I was walking through the woods last weekend with my dog and that night I realized I had gotten bit up really bad on the bottom half of my body by what I believe to be chiggers! Three part question:
1. Is this time of year worse for chiggers then other times? (I have walked this path many times and have never come back with these bites!!) 2. I was walking on a cleared path and never got into any thick areas of woods. The only things I walked through were some shin high grass in the field headed down to the woods and then a few grown over spots of tall weeds on the trail itself. 3. Is there a way to get rid of the chiggers and itching? I read one article that said the chiggers are not on me anymore, only the irritation from there bites are left.“
Sounds like you found yourself quite a patch of chiggers!
Chiggers usually start up mid-spring but this time of year they're definitely out in force, especially with our hot, dry weather. Chiggers are teeny tiny itchy red mites that live in the kind of grass you've been walking through. Here are a couple of recipes friends have passed on to me after my close encounters:
Ozark Chigger Medicine, for use after Chiggers bite. You'll need 9 aspirin. 1/4 cup vinegar. 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol. Dissolve aspirin in vinegar. Add alcohol. Store in jar with tight plastic lid. Apply to skin with cotton balls. Stops chigger itching for hours, will also work for any type of fungus.
Chigger Repellent Spray Recipe, for use before you go outside. You'll need 2 cups white vinegar. 1 cup Avon Skin-So-Soft bath oil. 1 cup water. 1 TBSP eucalyptus oil. Mix. Apply before going outside. Hope this helps!
Write for Rain
“…the last time you wrote a column about watering it rained. If I wash my car, will you write another column….”
If writing a column made it rain, I would do it every day until this drought was over! How about this, let's both leave our car windows down and see if that doesn't get a thunderstorm started!
Charlotte Ekker Wiggins shares her gardening adventures at http://www.gardeningcharlotte.com. Copyright 2012 used with permission by The Rolla Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Contact Charlotte at firstname.lastname@example.org.