Seed Swaps

Hadlow Pests & Diseases Day

18 Jun 2012
Partly Sunny 21°C / 70°F

So, at 8:00am I left the house, and two trains and a bus later I arrived at Hadlow College to begin learning about the identification and control of pests and diseases.
We began with a walk around Hadlow College’s impeccably maintained (their hedges are perfect, and herbaceouses seas of colour) gardens – Broadview. There we collected and learned about lily beetle larvae (which cover themselves in their own poo so birds don’t eat them), froghoppers, black bean aphid and sawfly larvae.
Then we took a short minibus trip to Downderry Lavender Nursery to learn about the rosemary beetle, which clearly prefers lavender. The nursery made good use of us, putting us to work picking off a total of 420 beetles. They do this manual cultural control every day, as the lavenders are used in such intimate products that chemical control would be impossible. There was free lavender ice cream… yes, lavender ice cream. Weird: enjoyable on a hot day but not a flavour I’d choose again.
Lunch, and during this hour I visited the Broadview garden centre to buy myself some… Nepenthes looking pitcher plant which I need to identify and another Rhipsalis pilocarpa, which, at just £1.49 was irresistable.
On to Hadlow College’s production houses!
Wow, I was so star-struck by professional flowers for floristry and fruit and veg trials. It was fascinating. Here we learned about the pollen-eating thrips, or thunderbugs.
While learning about powdery mildew and the benefits of bees (putting my ear to a cardboard box full of them was a little scary), I tasted what may have been the tastiest strawberry ever. …then while in the sterile tomato trial house, learning about green aphids and the teeny tiny parasitic wasps, I may have tasted the tastiest tomato ever.
In one of the education houses, we covered scale insect, spider mite and predatory mites.
Back to the classroom for a DVD, after which I probably know considerably more about aphids and their predators adn parasites than an ordinary human being should. Ah, horticulture.
A little identification test and then home.
A day well spent, but I’m looking forward to work tomorrow. We’ve got two new work experience guys in and I’m eager to meet them.
Satisfied. :)

1: My jar of collected rosemary beetles, and a cinnabar moth that I ensnared briefly.
2: Downderry lavender nursery, display garden.
3: Tomato production.
4: The very tiniest fraction of Broadview’s herbaceous and hedges; beautiful.
5: Strawberry production.




Sounds like a good day – I’ll know who to consult for pest control now! Good to hear that thought is being given to the bees too. It can be difficult to chemically control insect pests without harm to them too.

Posted on 20 Jun 12 (about 3 years ago)


Folia Helper

United Kingdom8a

Now we have a “resident” pest specialist! LOL!

Sounds like a very interesting day. I’d have loved to have spent the day with you!

Posted on 20 Jun 12 (about 3 years ago)


Folia Helper

United Kingdom8b

Thank you both, though I would narrow it down to aphids and rosemary beetles. There is SO much we didn’t cover! …leaf miners, for example. ;)

Posted on 20 Jun 12 (about 3 years ago)

What an interesting day! I’m sure I would have felt ‘buggy and itchy’ by noon. So … did you learn any controls for lily beetles other than picking them off (beetles and larva)?

Posted on 20 Jun 12 (about 3 years ago)

I had never heard of rosemary beetle – sounds like a pain to deal with and sounds like it’s not a North American thing. I hope no one brings it home with them on an “innocent” cutting.

I had to look up the Downderry lavender nursery, and I’d for sure visit it if I ever get the chance. I have a few (very small) lavender plants in a row at the front: I’m working towards making pretty rows of lavender like I see in photos like yours around the property.

Posted on 20 Jun 12 (about 3 years ago)

Fascinating stuff! I really do enjoy reading about all you are learning on your path to working at Kew!

Posted on 23 Jun 12 (about 3 years ago)

Great post! Loved the pics too although I also had no idea about rosemary beetles and lavender. Much as I dislike pests of all types – don’t get me started on ants and aphids – I do have a begrudging admiration for their “go get ’em” outlook.

Posted on 24 Jun 12 (about 3 years ago)


Folia Helper

United Kingdom8b

Thank you HollyBee, yes, haha, learning about thrips (thunderbugs)…. they’re so small and wriggly. shudders And no, I did not learn any controls for lily beetles other than picking them off (they are, at least, bright red)… but at least if I see something that looks like something that came out of an insect’s backside on a lily leaf, I should remove it, as it may be a lily beetle larva.
HazelJ, thank you, and the rosemary beetles are a shame to deal with if anything, they are so pretty. They’re also big and very easy to remove. Good to hear you don’t have to put up with them though. :)
Thank you very much, Deanna. While I think I would love to work at Kew, I feel a great loyalty to my current workplace, and I may end up settling there… working up the ranks though! ;)
Thanks LouiseM, that’s a refreshing and inciteful view on pests, and I fully agree, one must admire any organism for surviving. :)

Posted on 24 Jun 12 (about 3 years ago)

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