July 13, 2001
Slime molds have been appearing, causing concern among some gardeners. Slime molds can be common on mulch or on low-lying vegetation, especially after rains or after watering plants in warm, humid weather.
These primitive organisms start out bright and slimy, usually yellow or orange, and take up an area from several inches to more than a foot. The slimy stage eventually dries and the slime mold organism develops into a colorful structure filled with dark, dusty spores.
A prominent plant in some lawns this summer is birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus). Grown for pasture and hay, birdsfoot trefoil has escaped to roadsides and waste areas. It is also an occasional weed in lawns as it adapts well to mowing.
Are you ready for the 2001 Home Demonstration Garden field day in your area? With 8 research farms participating, there is a garden within an easy drive of most Iowans. This year's themes run the gamut from the practical to the whimsical. We are growing space-saving plants, tomatoes with colored plastic mulches, colorful foliage plants, All-American Selection winners, and a few plants for the birds.
Several eastern Iowa counties have reported that Japanese beetle adults are out and about now. That means the rest of the state should be watching for this relatively new pest and send specimens from counties not yet marked on the accompanying map.
The common garden or zonal geranium is one of the most popular outdoor flowering plants. Not a true geranium, it actually belongs to the genus Pelargonium. There are more than 200 Pelargonium species, most native to South Africa. In addition to garden geraniums, the scented-leaf geraniums, ivy geraniums, and the Lady or Martha Washington geraniums are the four major groups of cultivated "geraniums."