I brought in only three plants from the veranda in late October before the snow set in, trying to help them through the winter. Last year I brought in a dozen, to the dismay of my family, who tried to live with my efforts to keep moving dismal-looking potted plants to catch the elusive winter sunlight in our dining room. Everyone tripped over them and grumbled, including me.
But I’ve worried about the reappearance of nasty little aphids just as my three plants start to look healthy again, which is what happened last year. The small beasties appeared en masse and went after all the green shoots. I used sprays, which I had hoped to avoid, and spent most of the winter nursing back my plants so they would survive moving outdoors again in spring. It took them until September to look good in our mountain clime, at 1,100 metres altitude, so I had to rethink my wintering-over strategy.
I kept wishing I had hunted for ladybugs and brought them indoors before the first blast of 2009 cold.
You can imagine my pleasure last week at finding a little ladybug on a shade near the plants. But just one. Then my husband found another and to my great pleasure he gently moved her closer to the plants.
And then today, I found another, a tiny little fellow, on the bathroom wall tiles. I moved him into the dining room as well.
Now we need just the right number of aphids to make them happy and provide a decent diet, but not so many that my plants lose their pep. Fingers crossed.
Oh, the worries of the winter gardener!