Friday, January 22, 2010

Trying to keep the bugs in check

I know I have created a tropical garden, but with the tropical garden comes things I dont want!

Mosquitoes and bugs!

Over the weekend I cut back a few branches from the tree that were touching the wooden fence.

This meant that absolutely no light reached into the part of the garden where the cordelines and costus were. Also some heleconias and a torch ginger. I think that might be why I was not getting many flowers and a lot of the leaves were being totally eaten away by catterpillars and green grasshoppers. (Probably other things as well, but that is what I could see.) I hope this allows a bit of light in so that the sodden ground can dry out a bit between storms and the plants benefit from a bit more sunlight. There is a fine line between full shade and dappled light.
The tree fern just loves this weather, as do the impatients.  I have let it run a little wild.

I have also thinned some plants out so there is more air circulation. Worked on the area to the right of my little path.  I removed a costus, so that I can allow these multicoloured croton to grow, creating a bit of continuous colour amongst the green.

 Also some of the hippeastrum (amaryllis) were donated to a neighbour.  They multiply like crazy, but I have yet to see any flowers in this garden.  They flowered in my previous garden before I moved them here.

I love this zig zag plant -  no idea what it is called, and just got a slip from a  friend

This weekend I will battle with the plants in the other half - I know the ground orchids need to be subdivided.  I have been planting extra plants out into the public area around the pool and in the traffic roundabout, but I know I will soon run out of room!  Will have to put up a post on freecycle - yes! we do have freecyle here!  We also amazingly have just got our first self service /self pay petrol station (gas station). I suppose this is all in the name of progress.  The locals are still saying we will NEVER have fast food or traffic lights.  We shall see.
I also would like to find some way to cut down on the mosquito population. I remember last year I sprayed a bit of citronella oil around the mulch, but it only seems to last until the next rain, and with a cyclone hovering the rain has not let up for days.  In the vegetable garden I have been using lemongrass as mulch in the hopes the smell will deter them.
Next I intend to make up a batch of chili and garlic spray, and maybe add a touch of citronella.

The battle begins..


  1. I love that jungle you've made, and I accidentally figured out that lemongrass used as mulch really does help to some extent for mosquitoes. Just not well enough.

  2. thanks, and it is nice to know about the lemongrass, Rainforest Gardener, I suppose we cant have everything our way - rainforest and no mosquitoes! I certainly am going to try though - will let you know how my spray works! It is Australia day on Tuesday - we are supposed to be outside having a barbeque!

  3. Good luck with your battle! I love zigzag plant. Never seen it before.

  4. Is this your garden in Australia? If I didn't know, I would've sworn it was in SA! Lovely and lush!

  5. Gillian,
    I get to look forward to a few more months without the waves of bugs and Mosquitoes here due to the dry season in South Florida. But now is the Ant season and they seem to be everywhere this year.During the summer I just keep a can of mosquito repellant by the backdoor and spray it on before working outside.The citronilla candles I tried didn't seem to have much effect for me.
    By the way I have been looking at the KGI site today.Thanks for the tip.

  6. Hope the tree trim means you get a few more flowers on your heliconias, costus and torch ginger. The impatiens and tree fern are loving their spot.
    That zigzag plant is called Pedilanthus tithymaloides 'variegata' or more commonly the Slipper Plant. It will take off very quickly and cover a huge area. I keep pulling out lots of mine!

  7. Thanks Bernie for that name on the zigzag plant. I am glad to hear it will continue to grow as I like to cut it for flower arrangements inside. Hi, Tatyana and French kitchen, thanks for checking in. I hope those arent fire ants you are referring to Sanddune, gosh I dont miss those! Very hard to get rid of.


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