Friday, 24 December 2010
A bugcatcher is a simple trap that doesn't hurt the spider (but you do have to be careful of its fragile legs). Painless, relatively untraumatic for both the spider and the involved human(s), it facilitates the removal of an uninvited and unwanted spider guest from the house to the garden efficiently and without the worry of direct skin contact
Last night a dark hairy large-ish spider was noticed on a wall in our house. The Victorian Spiders Database identified it as a Brown House Spider, Steatoda grossa.
I wanted to leave it on the wall to do its own thing, but was out-voted by three anxious family members. I later learned that a bite from this spider gives you a headache, nausea and causes blistering. So I suppose their desire to relocate it did have a certain logic.
Here you see the spider starting to move into the bugcatcher.
Once it's in - you put the lid on and there's relief and pride in a job (nearly) well done.
The final step is to go outside, take off the lid and go to bed (if it's bedtime which it was). In the morning the bugcatcher is empty, and hopefully that spider has found a home somewhere else.
This post is dedicated to my cyberfriend Wendy, whose determination to garden enables her to overcome her fear of spiders and insects.
Thursday, 16 December 2010
Saturday, 11 December 2010
I used to be ruthlessly uncompromising. I’d see something that looked out of place or unattractive, (even a tree that was 3 years old) and within days it was out – moved, given away, even on the way to compost. (I told you I was ruthless). Now on the whole I’m pretty happy with the way the garden looks. I think twice now instead of starting again all the time in the search for perfection. (Except in a couple of spots that are definitely still unfinished!)
At the moment there are two plants in the garden that are not perfect in my design-eyes but I think I will compromise and keep them anyway.
One example of my newfound pragmatism is this Acacia itypheallea shrub. I planted it about 3 years ago and forgot to consciously withstand the urge towards symmetry. Consequently I placed it right in the middle of its garden bed!!!!!!!! I wish I would have planted it about a metre to the right but intend to live with it as it is.
The other example is this Teucronium betonicum. I have two specimens and they have both been extremely mobile, probably moving around the garden at least 5 or 6 times. Now I have found two spots where they associate beautifully with their neighbours and are growing healthily and happily.
Unfortunately I didn’t realize the flowers were such a bright pink colour, nor that they would be in flower at the same time as the wallflowers whose pink is much more subtle and muddy. I like the look of the flowers but they spoil the colour scheme of the front garden. I’m not going to move them though. I have a brilliant and simple idea to remedy this problem. I’ve decided to cut off the flowers – as soon as I photograph them to illustrate this point.
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Photos taken from ABC News website.
In addition to flooding, there is the problem of locusts.
For several months the media has been warning of mass hatchings of plague locusts. Now a swarm reaching 25 kilometres (15.5 miles!) is approaching towns in northern Victoria. They are eating everything in their path and drivers are being warned of the danger on the road if you run into a swarm.
Photo taken from Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website.
Thursday, 2 December 2010
Gardening can be a wonderful experience - but you can’t count on it.
This evening as I gardened I appreciatively breathed in the scents of oregano, wormwood, honeysuckle and philadelphus wafting in the damp air. I was aware of clouds of mosquitoes and the rain starting again. I made a mental note of the weeds growing in between the bricks on the paths. I heard the familiar music of cicadas. I only stopped gardening and came inside when it became too dark to see.
Yesterday I decided to liberate the paths that had disappeared underneath the foliage of plants blithely outgrowing their allotted spaces. It was not a blissful gardening session. Instead of focusing on path clearing, I did a bit of weeding, a bit of pruning and a whole lot of stressing.
There is a lot of talk and writing about the health-giving and serenity–inducing powers of gardening. I don’t think gardening can make you calm. If you are already calm gardening can certainly enhance it. It all depends on your mental state. If you’re angry you’ll garden angrily. If you’re stressed like I was yesterday you’ll garden with anxiety.
Tonight I was capable of mindfulness. Just sweeping paths and placing the sweepings in the compost heap made me happy. It was a blissful, calm, meditative gardening session.
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