Category Archives: Gardening

The Joys of Spring

dwarf pigfaces
dwarf pigfaces

I have to say, spring is my favourite time of the year. Everything is growing like mad and all the foliage is bright and fresh and new. You can sit out on the deck in the evenings without needing to wear three layers and the mosquitos and european wasps have yet to put in more than cameo appearances.

Having said that, here are my…


  1. Picking the shield beetles off the citrus– There’s no decent organically friendly way of killing these little buggers, at least not that I know of. They fly and they squirt stinky stuff into your face if they get the opportunity. I’ve taken to putting on a glove, grabbing them and drowning them in a bucket of water. I heard a story once about someone who sucked them up with a vacuum cleaner, needless to say, his partner wasn’t very amused.
  2. Picking the cabbage-white caterpillars off the broccoli and kale-
    White cabbage moth caterpillar
    White cabbage moth caterpillar

    we have lots of broccoli and kale at the moment, which is a good thing, because half of it is being consumed by caterpillars. I’ve tried organic control methods for these little bastards without a lot of success, but I’m going to give the sprays another go, because very few things are more revolting than picking them off one by one and stomping on them. Last year I didn’t know they were there until I found them, nicely cooked, at the bottom of my vegetable steamer. Yum.

  3. Hunting molluscs with a torch in the rain– okay, maybe I’m getting a bit obsessional, but I confess to having been out there with a set of tongs and a heavy pair of boots on various wet evenings. For the record, ringing your baby plants with eggshells or coffee grounds doesn’t work. I tried the whole beer trap thing only to go down one night and find I was running a free bar for enormous slugs, who were all busy slurping away at the beer while very obviously not falling into the trap.  Now they just get grabbed and mashed and I save the beer for more worthy purposes.
bee on borage flower
bee on borage flower

The Evil of Parrots- Part Three

sulphur crested cockatooThis is a sulphur crested cockatoo. It’s awfully pleased with itself right now because its EATING OUR CHESTNUTS. That wouldn’t be such a problem apart from two things. Firstly, we only tend to get chestnuts at the top of the tree. We don’t have a nearby cross pollinator and that’s the only place that gets any that the wind brings in, so there aren’t that many chestnuts to go around. Secondly, it’s never just one cockatoo. They travel around in packs of twenty or more, eating pretty much anything in their path. They’ll pick the seeds out of every lemon on the lemon tree, eat your wooden balcony railing and even gnaw on your actual house if they decide they’ve got a taste for it.  Oh, and if you ever make the mistake of trying to handle one, they’ll have a pretty good go at biting one of your fingers off.

We have a collection of tennis balls on the back deck that regularly get lobbed at the little buggers as they shred various bits of our garden. Our cat is waiting enthusiastically for us to hit one. Given my aim, he’s going to be waiting a while.

The Evil of Parrots- Part One

king parrot eating apple

This is a king parrot, snapped by me doing one of the things the little bastards love to do best; eating our apples. And they don’t even do it politely. They take a few bites, decide they can’t be bothered any longer, lob the apple onto the ground and move on to the next one. It drives me crazy, so crazy that this year I’ve resorted to this.

netted tree

It’s amazing what you can do with steel rods, electrical conduit, netting and garden ties. I’m not looking forward to getting it off again though.