Wednesday, July 6, 2011

ACK! Powdery Mildew!

clematis before 2  374
Clematis recta purpurea in it's full glory.

Well, with the arrival of hot weather, it was only a matter of time before Powdery Mildew reared its ugly head in the garden. It seems that no matter how diligently I water, some plants are just determined to get PM. I blame the fact that our springs are so lovely, mild and wet (not to mention, long), that the plants get used to easy living...then BAM...summer hits and they are like, "What's this all about?"

This year, the first victim was, surprisingly, this Clematis. I don't remember it getting it at all last year, but this year, it certainly did. I'd read that this Clematis (which is grown primarily for it's lush new purple growth) can be cut back hard in midsummer after the foliage turns bronzy-green and you'll get a new batch of purple growth. I hadn't intended on cutting it back, figuring it still added some nice bulk, texture, and floral beauty, but after I saw the leaves covered in PM earlier this week, I decided to just chop it to the ground and hope for the best.

clematis before 2  373 clematis after again  375
Before Powdery Mildew After Powdery Mildew
On the left is the Clematis last month, looking fabulous, to the right...they same area, right after I cut it back. At first, It looked pretty sad, with a big hole right by the front steps (I did wait until after everyone left our 4th of July BBQ), but by the next morning, Geranium 'Ann Folkard' had moved in and claimed the space as her own, at least for the moment.

clematis in waste  376
Here is the poor Clematis, waiting for the City of Portland to take it to its final resting place.

Oh, and I now have my spray bottle of anti-fungal...and I'm pre-emptively spraying the Monarda...this time, it's personal!


  1. Don't you just love hardy Geraniums? My 'Jolly Bee' and 'Patricia' are the same way, mingling in and out of their neighbors' spaces. So far no PM on my 'Raspberry Wine' Monarda--ever! I'm seeing it on one of my roses though, darn it. Ah the joys of gardening. :)

  2. You get 'em! Is your yard waste bin always so empty?

  3. Bummer about the PM. I haven't noticed it on anything yet, but I have seen rust on my hollyhocks, and they haven't even flowered yet. That clematis looks so nice as a backdrop for the Ann Folkard foliage, but the space looks pretty good even without it too.

    I just bought an Ann Folkard Geranium recently, still trying to figure out where she belongs.

  4. I thought I heard someone playing "Taps" the other morning.

    My condolences. :(

  5. My Heliopsis is my problem child with PM. I've never sprayed it though. It's always on the to-do list, but gets pushed to the bottom--so much other stuff to do!

  6. Oh, man! What a pain. Good luck saving your mondarda...I had mildew on mine last year as well, so I'll keep my eye out.

    Things look really nice anyway!

  7. This wet humid weather is so tough on our plants this year. Too bad about it getting to your clematis that is strange. I just love the foliage on it Scott. I have never heard of it before. I love blogging. LOL!

  8. Just found your blog and it's great!

    We feel your diseased plant pain. We're trying to save our poor little pear tree from a bout with fireblight. Nasty bugger. Makes the rust our other one got seem like nothing.

  9. Grace: They are, as a group, probably in my top 3 favorite plants...there is truly one for any circumstance! I wish I could say the same for my 'Raspberry Wine', she gets PM at the drop of a hat for me...I must be cursed!

    Loree: Hahaha...hardly, I was kind of shocked there was nothing in it! Then agian, it usually gets used mostly in the spring for cleanup.

    Greggo: :-(

    Alison: I'm hoping I can keep ahead of it this year...we'll see! Congrats on 'Ann Folkard', just know that she'll stretch her arms out in all directions...she's a great weaver!

    Norm: It was the 4th, after all, very fitting.

    Sue: Hahahaha...I remember when I had a bigger garden that those tasks never seemed as that I have a small garden, every plant gets scrutinized!

    Diane: Definitely...PM is such a pain!

    Lona: Oddly, we have just the opposite weather...which you'd think would alleviate the PM outbreaks...but the plants just get stressed and there it is! The Clematis is a GREAT plant...if you can find one...they are a bit rare, strangely!

    Chrissie: Thanks for visiting! OMG...I'll cross my fingers for your pear sad to see the poor things fighting to live...sheesh!

  10. I'm finally seeing a couple blooms on my C. recta this year, but the foliage is nowhere as lush as in your before-mildew photo. Those cool rusty sparklers are picking up the clem's slack.

  11. I'd like to hear how the pre-emptive spraying for mildew works on the monarda. Keep us posted.

  12. So sad about your clematis, but I hope it comes back stronger and even healthier next year. It seems like we gardeners are always battling something; I've got hollyhock rust and my flowering crabs may have apple scab. But my biggest battle right now is with Japanese beetles--be thankful they don't fly to Portland, too.

  13. If you create an ecology in a garden, you don't need chemicals. It's a system, and it inevitably includes creatures that benefit each other.