Wouldn’t it be wonderful if indeed wasps or yellow jackets were controlling the budworms before they have time to hatch and bore into the flowers? This could be the case and is another good reason for being an organic gardener. In the absence of poisons, the balance of nature is free to take care of the pests. If the wasps you have are the yellow-jacket-type, they could indeed be grabbing the little caterpillars and hauling them off to their nests.
While sitting having lunch under my rose arbor in the bottom of the garden I once noticed one of the smaller kind of yellow wasps I mentioned to you before—bright yellow, striped with brown, but shaped more like bees, without the pinched waist of a yellow jacket—doing an amazing thing. It was flying away with a caterpillar clutched in its mandibles that was almost bigger than it was.
Sometimes I’ve found the tiny eggs of budworms and brushed them off the buds before they hatch but it’s not easy to do so without damaging the flower. The moth that lays eggs of budworms is very tricky and often lays only one tiny egg or at the most two or three either near the tip or on the green calix of each bud. It’s a lot of work to clean them off a whole compound flower with many buds.
Regarding zinnias, we grew lovely ones on our Bucks County farm where I lived during the Second World War.
They never seemed to be bothered by much. I would suggest using Serenade™ against mildew (the white powdery stuff you mentioned.) Most zinnia varieties are prone to mildew. There is a mildew-resistant variety, however, developed for the cut flower trade, called ‘Benary’s Giant Zinnia’. You can find it in catalogues. It is also carried by Park Seeds but the name they give it is “Park’s Picks”. Other good ones are All America Award winners ‘Profusion Cherry’, ‘Profusion White’, and ‘Profusion Orange’, and ‘Zowie! Yellow Flame’, ‘Magellan Coral’. All these are drought resistant and mildew resistant too. All these are easy to grow from seeds straight in the ground where you want them (or in your window boxes.)
Re: New York. I was thinking about New York while doing my calisthenics this morning. I am in the middle of writing a second memoir and mentioned an event that had a connection with the womens’ apparel section of the Garment District, specifically the part that had wholesale houses in the 1940′s. I just need a street number. Any street in the garment district where wholesale houses for better womens’ clothes were sold will do. I looked in my paperback WPA Guide to New York City, (a reprint of the 1930′s original. It was one of Roosevelt’s schemes for keeping writers afloat during the Depression.) I decided 37th Street would do. (I’d written “47th St.” into the chapter I was working on yesterday but now I see I need to change that since it’s in the Upper East Side. Too ritzy.) Do you think 37th street sounds about right? (Womens’ clothes went as far as 39th Street, it seemed.)
Then, by golly, just now I looked in another memoir I wrote that was published 15 years ago and found the address of a house I’d like to mention again. The address is #122 and #124 East 38th Street, between Park Avenue and Lexington. These two houses were built by Abraham Lincoln’s son Todd Lincoln for his twin daughters after they married. (They are not brownstone, but built of brown brick.) There used to be a brass plaque on the outside telling their history.) Friends of mine, Jean and Jim Spadea, who were in the advertising and fashion business owned them and threw them into one residence. They offered me a job right out of college and also I would be living with them. The salary wasn’t much but it would have been great experience and they would feed me and I’d get all my clothes wholesale or free. But six weeks before graduation day, I met my husband to be and married him instead. I wonder if those houses are still there and how they are today? Also, maybe 37th Street is too close to mention as a place for wholesale dresses? But I suppose it might have been a few blocks down.
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