Jean Cumming wrote me this wonderful e-mail:
What is Paris green? Bordeaux mixture? I presume arsenate of lead is an evil poison that cannot and should not be sold or purchased? I found Canadian gardening textbooks at a garage sale, one really, two editions, 1938 and 1951, by A.B. Cutting (I swear). Such fun. Very rigorous “year round” gardening regimen, including chemicals that I suppose people had kicking about. Puts me in mind of my southern Ont Gothic aunt, an asthmatic who burned and inhaled a saucer-full of herbs when it got bad. A post-modern Toronto friend of mind went to the herbalist on the Danforth with the recipe my then octogenarian uncle remembered by heart. The herbalist was shocked at my friend’s requesr: no, I can’t give you the ingredients for LSD.
I wrote back:
I feel about laughing at this Jean. Great story. I don’t know Paris Green so I looked it up in an old garden book and they have a long entry without actually telling you there’s arsenic in there somewhere. Dear God no wonder all our older relatives had weird things going on in their bodies. “Paris green is not being as widely used for spraying as formerly because of its tendency to burn tender foliage and flowers.”
Wikepedia says: copper(II) acetoarsenite
There is actually someone out there who doesn’t know what the lily beetle is. Lucky person. It’s a bright red beetle which spends all its time making love to other lily beetles or chewing up plants. If I can get a picture I will.
But here a great suggestions from Diane Smith. Everyone else who called or wrote said squishing was the only thing that worked. Well if nothing else this is one to record:
Hi Marjorie – the lily beetle has been in NS for some time now…in desperation I ripped out all my Asiatics years ago. Folks around here have tried everything (including Neem oil) with little or no success. At a gardening lecture I did a month ago a woman shared with me her secret to eradicating the red pest: Windex. Yup – sprays it liberally with no apparent harm to the plant. Maybe it’s the kind with ammonia. I’m not one for chemical warfare but thought I’d share this anyway. Love your blog!