Question on spotty mint, plus more gardening news

diseased mint from Jackie Fialkowski Gatas
Photo from Jackie Fialkowski Gatas

What’s the problem with this mint– and oregano, too?

Jackie Fialkowski Gatas contacted me with this question:

Does anyone happen to know what is happening with my mint? It’s also starting to show on my oregano. Don’t know if it’s a bug or a fungus. Thanks guys.

Readers, can you help Jackie? If so, please leave a comment below.


Sometimes readers contact me with questions that I can’t answer. I’m not a gardening expert– I’m a writer by profession. I interview knowledgeable people in order to provide you with great articles on

So when someone asks a question I can’t answer, I post the question and rely on my readers to share their expertise. If you have advice for Jackie, please leave a comment below. If you want to know the answer to these questions, check back later to read the comments.

Sending a question to me to post can be helpful if you’re looking for a wide range of opinions and don’t mind waiting for the answer. If you want to try this route, email the question to me at and I’ll pose it to my readers in an upcoming issue.

A more efficient route for getting your questions answered is to turn to Master Gardeners with Cornell Cooperative Extension or to turn to your local garden center.

For Master Gardeners at Cornell Cooperative Extension Erie County, call (716) 652-5400 from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays or email them at For Chautauqua County, email your question to; call the Helpline at (716) 664-9502, ext 224, or stop in to the Ag Center, 3542 Turner Rd., Jamestown,  from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays.

There are helpful Cornell Cooperative Extension offices in other counties, too. Find contact information here for your county’s Cooperative Extension office.

The shops that support this magazine have very knowledgeable staff. Click on an ad and you’ll get more information about their products and services, as well as their address, phone number and other important information.


Pollinator Week logo 2013

Take action during Pollinator Week

This is Pollinator Week, and you can take steps to help the animals that pollinate our plants.

According to the Pollinator Partnership, about 75% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators and more than 200,000 species of animals act as pollinators. Of those, about 1,000 are hummingbirds, bats and small mammals. The rest are insects such as beetles, bees, ants, wasps, butterflies and moths.

Here are a few steps you can take to help pollinators:

  • Design your garden so that there is a continuous succession of plants flowering from spring through fall.
  • Gradually replace lawn grass with flower beds.
  • Select native plants that provide nectar for adults plus food for insect larvae, such as milkweed for monarchs. If you do use non-native plants, choose ones that don’t spread easily, since these could become invasive.
  • Select old-fashioned varieties of flowers whenever possible because breeding has caused some modern blooms to lose their fragrance and/or the nectar/pollen needed to attract and feed pollinators.

Find out more ways you can help pollinators.


 Share your photos with our readers

Tequila rose in Cheektowaga NY
Tequila rose. Photo by  Chet Okonczak pf Cheektowaga

For many of us, this is the prettiest time of the year for our gardens. Our garden beds look good from afar and the individual flowers are stunning.

Here is a Tequila rose photographed by Chet Okonczak in his Cheektowaga garden on June 15, three weeks after I visited him to talk to him about how he keeps track of the many plants in his perennial beds.

I’m sure you have beautiful photos of your garden, too, but I haven’t been getting many lately. Please snap a shot and send it to me so I can share it with our other readers on the Your Photos page.

Please include your name and your town, as well as a little bit of information about what’s in the photo so I can write a caption. You might include the name of the plant if you know it, or a story about your garden, or a gardening tip or how you feel about your garden. You can share photos of a friend’s garden or nature photos, too.

Please send the photo as an attachment and email it to me at (My email address works with the hyphen and without the hypen.) I can’t wait to hear from you!


9 Comments on “Question on spotty mint, plus more gardening news

  1. John Farfaglia just addressed this one in a talk to our garden club a few days ago. I did not take notes, but I know it is an insect. I’m thinking it was the 4-line bug that sucks on the spot. It’s life cycle is about 4 weeks and then this damage stops. He said it particularly affected mint.

  2. Checked images on google to confirm. Definitely the same images for 4-line plant bug as the reader submitted. The nymphs hatched in April and May and feed for 4 weeks causing most of the damage on the leaves, the adults are there for one more month, and by end of June, they are gone. No more….much less problematic than Japanese beetles. Cornell Coop Ext of Wisconsin says you can use insecticidal soap, but remember this also kills the babies of lady bugs, and some other young beneficial insects. Hand picking is also recommended…which is how I deal with Japanese beetles too.

  3. Thanks, Kirsten! I guess I should have asked John Farfaglia when I was interviewing him about the rain! Yeah, I don’t think I would want to use insecticidal soap on leaves that I’m going to eat. If the bugs are gone by July, it sounds like picking off the affected leaves might do the trick, too.

  4. I use it & it does help. Don’t like to use insecticides. Keep it as natural as possible. At least soap washes off. Hopefully
    Doreen I use it on basile too

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