Almost Paradise

If you saw my last post, my garden is doing generally well, but I have aphids out the wazoo and a couple of questions. Hence, this post.

First, the lilac. It bloomed wonderfully, and the foliage seemed healthy. The flowers died, as they would, and then the leaves curled up:


The white stuff is residue milk and baking powder. A few weeks after this attempted treatment, the leaves uncurled; however, it seemed more likely that this was the soil became dry, rather than the treatment. I have since sprayed a few times with neem: nothing happens. I have also left the pot largely unwatered. After 10 days without rain or water, here is what the plant looks like:



To me, the foliage is saying that the plant needs water; however, every time I water or it rains, the leaves curl up all over again. I want it to photosynthesize to its max, and feel like open leaves, despite the black spots, will have a better chance of doing that than curled up. On the other hand, if my plant needs water, I’d like to oblige it. Please, if there are any gardening experts out there willing to advise me, I would sincerely appreciate it! Oh, and yes, it had this problem last year too: May 2013, when I was a ignorant first-time buyer, and July 2013, after I was a 2-month owner.

Second, my passiflora incense. It is new this year from Brushwood Nursery and growing through the lilac. The lower leaves continue to go from green to this:



Anything above the first 1-1.5 feet of its height is simply pure green, healthy, and producing flower buds. I’m unclear whether to worry: If anyone knows whether or not I should and, if so, can also let me know what to do, I’d appreciate it.

Third, aphids: I have them under control on everything except my zucchini:


and moonflowers. For these, no matter how much I spray w/ a jet of water or with neem oil, they keep coming back and stunting the plants’ growth. I’d appreciate any suggestions – especially as my squash and eggplant have just produced blooms:



and I know the aphids are going to attack.

Finally, not a disease, but an interloper.




It is growing with my variegated hot pink bougainvillea. I bought the bougainvillea in the spring of 2013, it lived through the winter indoors next to green-leaved lavender bougainvillea, and then, in late winter/early spring, sprouted something different from the dirt of its original pot. Whatever it is, it is a vigorous grower, so I’d appreciate any feedback on what it is and what I should do (e.g. nothing, cut back, dig up, or repot).

Since this post has been only questions and confusion, I’ve posted some happy pics with which to leave you.

Borage about to flower:


My 2nd dahlia plant beginning to bloom:


The first one, with its relative:


And a trifecta of colors on my treasured rose:




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