Seed Swaps

For Want of an Aardvark...

16 Apr 2012
Rainy 9°C / 48°F

Worked a few hours outdoors yesterday afternoon. Took care of my strawberry patch and tackled the damage the raccoon-archaelogists had wrought on my new paths. Feeling rather self-satisfied, I was strolling around generally looking at things and then I saw IT.

Virus disease in a bed of tulips.


It’s not that the tulips were special (second year Mentons), it’s the potential ramifications that scare the living daylights out of me. I have lilies – lots of them planted over the last 6 years – and tulip viruses can spread to lilies and vice versa, from what I understand.

So I have dug up and “destroyed” all the affected tulips – still a few bulbs in the soil though – and will not replant that area with tulips for some years. Anything else I should do?

’Scuse my bad language, but I am so pissed off about this. I know the virus is spread by aphids. And I “host” an ant population that farms aphids up the gazoo.

On an equally “I-wanna-scream” note, I’ve also discovered that the dreaded European Chafer beetle has arrived. I care not a wit for grass/lawn but even so, it’s a mega pain in the behind.

On a happier note, I think I have lots of borage self-seedlings. Since I never had borage before last year, I’m only 90% confident that’s what they are: slightly fuzzy leaves and growing round where the plants were last year….is that a clue? :)

Main Photo: Variegated leaves in tulips that didn’t have them before. Oh-oh.
Photo 1: Death and the Menton
Photo 2: No sign of disease on the bulbs – so that rules out botrytis?
Photo 3: Here they come: European Chafer beetles have arrived.
Photo 4: Surely it’s Borage?




oh too bad about the tulips. I hope that solves the problem and your lilies are safe.

the pic does look like borage, if I remember right. I am hoping that mine has reseeded from last year, but nothing yet.

Posted on 16 Apr 12 (about 4 years ago)

I agree with glgardener, it looks like what I remember borage seedlings to look like.

I’ve never seen virus disease on tulips. If the beetle is eating the grass like grubs do here you may be able to pull some grass back like lifting an area rug. That was the highlight of my summer in 2010 when I was able to triple the size of the pond border garden in the space of an hour without needing the tiller or a spade.

Posted on 17 Apr 12 (about 4 years ago)

Yes! That’s what our borage seedlings look like too! We had one plant last year and this year they’re sprouting up all over the place. =)

Posted on 17 Apr 12 (about 4 years ago)

definitely borage. :)

and how do you know there are virus in the tulips? I wasn’t aware such a thing could happen, but maybe I should be watchful too? I hope it’s not the crinkely leaves that are the symptom; I have lots of tulips that look like that and thought maybe it was because of those few late dumps of snow we got…

Posted on 17 Apr 12 (about 4 years ago)

You are absolutely right… tulip viruses can be transmitted to lilies. Viruses are spread by aphids but also by dirty tools & nematodes in the soil. I would remove the soil from the immediate area where the infected tulips were. Maybe even plant a few marigolds around your nearest lilies? I’m not sure how much they really repel nematodes but it’s worth a shot.

Posted on 17 Apr 12 (about 4 years ago)

OH NO!!! I’m so so sorry …..Oh I get so mad at the ants and aphids too : ( …..I am growing Borage right now and yes your seedlings do look like mine so that is a good thing ; )

Posted on 17 Apr 12 (about 4 years ago)


Folia Helper

United Kingdom8a

It’s a shame about your Tulips, RM, but I didn’t know the Tulip virus could spread to Lilies as well. I think you’ve done all that can be done under the circumstances. Removing & destroying the infected plants as soon as discovered is the only practical way of halting its spread. I’m not 100% sure but I don’t think the virus is transmitted through nematodes in the soil, even if there were any. I think you will find that aphids/dirty tools are the culprits.

Posted on 18 Apr 12 (about 4 years ago)

Oh-no! I hope the tulip removal stops the spread to the lilies!

Posted on 19 Apr 12 (about 4 years ago)

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