Nov 012016
attract beneficial insects

Lemon Blossoms and Nasturtiums


Every year the nasturtiums self sow and ramble along beneath the citrus trees.

These are companion plants and between them bring countless beneficial insects into the garden.

As summer progresses and the plants die off their remains become mulch to cover the dry earth below.

And you can rest assured that this simple cycle of life will reoccur next year.

Oct 152016
A mix of colours in the spring flower bed

A mix of colours in the spring flower bed



Springtime means  a colourful perfumed garden with a great variety of flowers where honey bees fly from flower to flower on their misson to collect pollen.

While the flowers in the dedicated flower bed are blooming many of the green leafy and brassica vegetables have flowered and are producing seeds.

The herbs rosemary, sage, thyme, marjoram,borage and mint are producing white and blue flowers which the beneficial insects are attracted to.

Even the white climbing rose and the Mexican Marigold are blooming.

While the early spring flowers of the camilia, azalea, cyclamen, clivia and snowflakes have bloomed we watch and wait for the summer flowers to add their shape colour and perfume to the garden.

Jul 192016
Bronze Fennel with New Winter Growth

Bronze Fennel with New Winter Growth

The first new lime green shoots of the bronze fennel have pushed up from the base.

At the end of autumn the browning flower stalks are left standing for as long as the native bees frequent them.

When these beneficial insects disappear the stalks are cut to the ground and the plant rests, restores  then regenerates.

During the spring the wispy leaves develop a deep bronze colour and the plant spreads into a cloud as it reaches a height of a metre and a half forming a beautiful ferny background to the garden bed.

Then the beneficial insects once more move in to work and hover in the dappled sunlight.

It complements the purple and grey colours of Mexican Sage which grows along side of it,

Feb 212016
Mites? on tomato leaf

Nymphs of Green Vegetable Bug on tomato leaf

It’s at this time of every summer that I throw my hands up in horror and ask,  ” Is it really worth the effort?”

The weather is changable; extremely hot and dry periods alternate with humid cooler periods.

Ants in zucchini flower

Ants in zucchini flower

Ants are harvesting in the zucchini flowers.

The leaves of the beans and zucchini have curled and dried out.  I have killed  quite a few  green vegetable bugs  there.

The capsicum I picked this morning had grubs in it and they had eaten their way across the entire inner surface of the  flesh.

Ladybirds in melon patch

Ladybirds in melon patch

And the tomatoes are infected with some  kind of wilt.

A scout around the garden showed an explosion of lady birds in the melon patch many of which were mating and three kinds of wasps were busily preening the leaves of various plants.

So it’s keep calm and carry on until equilibrium is reached.

Remove the dead leaves and clean up the debris at the base of the plants.

Wait and watch and consider using natural remedies of insect control eg soap solution.

Autumn is just around the corner!


Feb 052016
lady bird on lettuce leaf

lady bird on lettuce leaf

Honey bee on rock melon flower

Honey bee on rock melon flower

As rockmelons increase in numbers and swell in the summer garden and the self sown Cos lettuce grow tall and sturdy in the summer heat the population of summer insects increases.

The presence of aphids bring lady birds and for this reason I am reluctant to spray the vegetables with anything as while it may get rid of the unwanted insects it also annihilates the beneficial ones.

While it takes knowledge, time and patience to establish balance in the garden it is worth the effort and the wait.

Jan 172016
Paracytic Wasps at Nest

Paracytic Wasps at Nest

In November the paper wasps‘ nests built under the pergola were small.

Now they are quite large and are attended by many wasps going to and fro the garden.

These wasps are beneficial insects in the garden and are non aggressive unless their nest is disturbed which is what happened prior to Christmas when Morland decided to clear the cob webs from under the eves.

Although I had told him not interfere with the wasps’ nests he inadvertantly brought the cob web brush a litle too close to one and was stung several times on the head.

The head was red, spotty and sore  for a while but Stingoes alleviated the pain and there were no after effects.

And yes the nests remain in tact but all who come to the garden are warned that they exist.


Dec 222015
Rock melon Seedlings

Rock Melon Seedlings

Zucchini Seedlings

Zucchini Seedlings

Rockmelon ,  Lebanese Cucumber  and  Zucchini  seedlings sown during the second quarter last month have germinated and flourished.

These are the cucurbits, summer vegetables with internal seeds which require fortnightly feeding with Fruit and Flower Thrive for flowers and Seasol for root development.

Lebanese Cucumbers

Lebanese Cucumbers

As they are subject to fungal disease watering will be done first thing in the morning.

Cucumbers will climb the high trellis allowing for greater ventilation.

Crop rotation has been observed to avoid pathogens peculiar to these vegetables.

The beneficial insects  beeslady birds, lace wings, damsel flies  and hover flies abound in Jan’s Garden and these pollinate flowers and help to reduce pest populations.

So the ground work has been done and we now wait and watch to see how these seedlings survive the hottest month of summer.



Jun 012015
Flower Garden

Flower Garden

While deciduous trees are loosing their leaves and closing down for the winter other plants are just beginning their cycle of regeneration.

In this flower bed G9 most of the plants are preparing for an explosion of flowering over the next few months.

Already there has been much growth since the beginning of May.

The hope is that this bed will attract beneficial insects over winter and through out the spring months.

Winter is also the best time for continuous sowing  of vegetables  that will produce until summer arrives.

With luck we will have a wet winter.  A good down pour of rain works magic in the garden.


May 012015
Bed of Beneficial Flowers

Bed of Beneficial Flowers

This garden bed which is work in progress has previously been dedicated  to providing a variety of plants that flower through out the year.

Bronze Fennel, a perennial  which flowered and stood a couple of metres high from spring to autumn and been cut back and the potted summer flowers have been removed.

The northern border of garlic chives has developed strongly as the bulbs multiplied.

Since the recent planting of Statice, Lavender and  Mexican sage which are perennial, drought tolerant plants I think that the framework of the bed is now right.

Fill in plantings include

  • Wallflowers and Queen Anne’s lace which are biennial
  • Cosmos and Calendulas  which are annuals  and will flower through till next winter
  • Snowdrop bulbs which are perennial and bloom mid winter

The potted spice geraniums are suitable to fill in any spaces as they become available.

This bed should have a low water requirement and provide a range of flowers that attract beneficial insects through out the year.

With a bit of luck it just might lure the Blue Tongue Lizard back next summer.


Sep 172014


Fly on citrus leaf

Fly on citrus leaf

Praying Mantis Nymph on citrus leaf

Praying Mantis Nymph on citrus leaf

It’s only when you stand a while and look into the foliage of a tree that you are aware of the life that it attracts.

This morning the citus tree with its shiny new foliage and perfumed blossoms was  supporting beneficial insects both resident and transient.

Bee on citrus leaf

Bee on citrus leaf