Beware a new bug. I recently found out about the Japanese Cedar Longhorn Beetle, a.k.a. the cedar longhorn beetle, equally destructive to trees and shrubs as the infamous Asian Longhorn Beetle. Although it was thought to be a dead-wood eater in Japan, it seems it has taken to tastier digs here: pines, false cypresses, cryptomerias, arborvitae, to mention a few. Emerging in early spring at the point where two branches meet, the females lay yellow eggs in the crevices of the bark, and the larvae eventually feast on the wood, creating serpentine roadwaylike lines. The cycle starts again the following year. Montgomery County is affected, and according to horticultural consultants Keystone Tree Experts, the bugs have been spotted in Bucks County, too. You can help by reporting any sightings to your local Cooperative Extension Agency. For more information, go to http://massnrc.org/pests/pestFAQsheets/japanesecedarlonghorn.html.
Add to your plant palette.Oenothera fruticosa (narrowleaf evening primrose or sundrops), in bloom now along roadways and in meadows, can provide a tall vertical visual in the garden while attracting all sorts of pollinators and birds. Finches and siskins love the seed and warblers love the insects it attracts. If that's not enough, the root can be used for flavoring wine. It even has healing powers, used as a curative for everything from female problems to whooping cough. The plant, which likes poor soil, is a biennial (its full life cycle is two years, flowering in the second year). Sprinkling the ripened seed in several weeks will provide green plants for next year and tall verticals the following year. To learn more, go to http://pss.uvm.edu/pss123/peroenot.html and http://tinyurl.com/bqezh7c.