Last year on September 1st, one of my neighbors was offering a young angel’s trumpet plant free to anyone who wanted it. This neighbor had recently learned that the angel’s trumpet (aka brugmansia) was poisonous. She had a couple of dogs that she let run around in her backyard, and she didn’t want to take any chances of accidental dog poisoning.
Having no children, pets, or any kind of nice flowering plant in my front yard, I quickly volunteered to take the free brugmansia. Sean and I went over to her house with a bucket, and her husband dug up the little plant. It was only about three feet tall and pretty much just a forked, leafy stick at the time, but we took it home in our bucket and planted it in the front yard. Coincidentally, that day was also my birthday, so it was a neat little way to mark a new year in my life.
I don’t typically have a green thumb, but with a little bit of luck and some internet research, I was able to nurture that forked leafy stick into an actual thriving plant. After a few months, the trumpet flowers started to bloom.
The bummer, though, was that beetles were eating the leaves. I wanted to wipe out those little critters, but I also didn’t want to douse my plant with pesticide. I looked into organic alternatives and decided to order some ladybugs online. The smallest available quantity was an order of 1,500 ladybugs.
They were supposed to arrive via UPS two-day air, so I told Sean (who is currently on summer vacation) to stick around the house and wait for the UPS guy since I had to be at work all day. At around 11:30 AM, I was in my office when the phone rang. It was Sean.
“Just wanted to let you know your ladybugs arrived,” he said.
“All right!” I said. “Did you open the box to see if they’re still alive?”
“Yeah,” he said. “But how do I get them all back in the box?”
I was speechless. In that moment, I could just see 1,500 ladybugs flitting around the cathedral ceiling of my beautiful Morro Bay house, while I sat helplessly at my desk inside the prison.
I said, “Are you serious?”
“Nah,” Sean said and laughed. “I’m kidding.”
“Ha ha,” I said. “There better not be any ladybugs flying around inside my house right now.”
“Don’t worry,” he said. “We’ll let them loose when you get home.”
So that’s what we did, but not all 1,500. I’m going to ration them out a little at a time over the next few days.
And even if they don’t get all the beetles, they’re still very pretty to look at.