People always ask me for feng shui landscaping tips because San Francisco is made up of so many micro-climates. To start, get inspiration about what to plant by walking around the block to observe which plants are happy and thriving. That will give you ideas about what plants grow well right where you live. Yes, peony bushes are both lovely and lucky in feng shui, especially in your relationship area, but not if peonies won’t grow where you plant them!
The garden in my yard started out as a bare cement slab. My neighbor James is a gardener, so we went up to the roof and looked at the nighboring gardens for ideas; ferns, especially Australian tree ferns, were the happiest. We added potted plants just to bring some energy back to the yard. We potted up a few friendly ferns, a fast-growing Swedish Ivy, and a couple of jade plants donated by another neighbor Chuck. But this Spring aphids arrived and attacked one big leafy plant, the Swedish Ivy (which is neither Swedish nor Ivy.) Those aphids have good taste and they went for the best plant.
I didn’t want to use bug spray to kill the aphids, so I went to Plant It Earth on Divisadero at Hayes. Lady bugs are sold on a bit of straw wrapped in a mesh bag. 1,500 lady bugs cost $14. The lady bugs peacefully slept in the cool of my refrigerator overnight, and when misted w/ water in the morning they popped right back to life. I let loose 1,500 lady bugs who feasted madly, then copulated in massive bug balls. Aphids were eaten, and the ivy was cleaned out too.
Gardeners complain that released lady bugs just fly away, usually to the neighbor’s yard. What worked is that I released the lady bugs IN THE RAIN so they had no choice but to seek refuse under the leaves (where the aphids are). When the rain stopped, the lady bugs had their beetle orgy in the yard. They could not fly away until the delicate wings under their shells could dry.
When the Sun came out two days later, hundreds of lady bugs lifted their spotted orange wings up high, and stuck out their lacy black underwings to dry. The aphids were gone, the lady bugs didn’t seem to want to leave, so they flew up into the old gnarled ivy and ate lots of bugs in the ivy. The ivy changed from being dark greenish black to being a light lively green, but only where the lady bugs feasted.
So if you try live ladybugs in your garden, release them in the rain, after the rain, or water your garden heavily before release. It’s nice to get closer to plants and nature in this Hare year 2011. Create your peaceful sanctuary now in Hare year so you have a safe retreat and haven for Dragon year 2012.