Barbie's garden Bugs & Pests Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

Bugs Galore

Springtime spender brings more than the beautiful flowers and great edibles!! It brings the hungry critters that devour those same Spring essentials! They must have all arrived on the same bus, because my garden is full of them!!

A fruit beetle in the Tea Tree

This fly is interesting – what is this?? He seems to be devouring a house fly!! It looks like he is a predator. Perhaps a good thing?

My beautiful Borage flowers always bring the bees!! I make sure they are all over the garden. This one is under my peach tree!

My roses are under attack!! The aphids are having a glorious time !! I am waiting for the lady bugs to come and clean up !! So no pesticide spraying in my garden!

What kind of fly is this in a bee costume!!?? Or a bee in a fly costume!??

More and more aphids! These are black and only under the leaves of my Artemesia Powis Castle! Very interesting. I use them in a tea as a bug repellent!

Here is that weird fly again – can anyone put a name to this?

Now this is the strangest – tons of blue flies all over my Tea Tree flowers! Drunk on the nectar!

I have come to respect all those critters and flying visitors to my garden. If there were no aphids, I would never see a lady bug. So all I need to do is patiently wait for the good bugs to arrive! Garden spiders, frogs and lizards are also gathering to feast on the bugaboos. My birds are always happy to help clean up as well. The sugar bird also helps when the button spider population is over growing!  Every little creature is necessary in the big scheme of things – so as nature intended it to be!! Who are we to interfere!

Happy bugging (and gardening) xxxx

Barbie's garden Bugs & Pests Gardening Home page features

Bugs galore

Not only is my garden overgrowing, the good, the bad and the ugly have also arrived! The bugs are having a party in the veggie patch and the rose bushes, but the army of ladybugs have taken control. I have left the aphids alone in the Artemesia – Powis Castle. I think it acts as a trap for them as they seem to do no harm to the bush. Within a week the ladybugs and the larvae have devoured them – the good and the ugly. This is the first time I have really seen the beneficial bugs taking over.

Have a look whats crawling in my garden …. the good ….

The ugly – Newborn larvae look sort of like tiny alligators. After only a few days, the larvae will be large enough to begin to molt (shed their skin), and they keep molting for as long as they are growing. You can find the molted skins on leaves if you look very hard. Here you can see the larvae and the pupa it came out of. They are voracious eaters, I believe. Looks like mommy ladybug has chosen the perfect bush – tons of aphids.

On the roses too.

The Aphids -they are the bad …..

What bugs are in your garden – friend or foe?

Happy Gardening xxxxxx



Annuals Barbie's garden Bugs & Pests Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Bugs alive

I guess with the sunshine and the great goodies the garden has to offer, it is not surprizing that I will be seeing more and more critters taking advantage of the flowers! But, I have seen less bugs, so far, than last year. The ladybird beetle is back and she loves the celery and coriander bushes. Aphids are still my archrivals. They are in the roses, lemon tree, brassicas and now I see them in the Artemisia Powis Castle. This is unusual because I thought that bugs don’t like the Artemesia plants. Well, that is where the Ladybird beetle comes in – go fetch!!!

My Calendula is something new to my garden. I read about the great benefits of this wonder plant – Calendula is has been used throughout history in skin preparations. Calendula is beneficial for dry or damaged skin and also promotes the fast healing and regeneration of the skin because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Applying calendula topically is effective for decreasing inflammation and promoting the healing of wounds, burns, eczema and other inflammatory skin conditions. But the beetles swarm the flowers and the caterpillars are making a feast of it!

[one_half]Munch munch[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Little black beetles everywhere[/one_half_last]

I seem to think that the bugs like the YELLOW!! This is the first spring that I have so many ‘daisy-like’ flowers – this is Chrysanthemum.


My hero – the Ladybird beetle!! Go get em!!

Oops! sorry! I see you guys are busy!

A Dandelion in the meadow does not escape the jaws of these little critters!!

I am happy to see that my home-made bug spray is working wonders. I always start with a soapy solution for the Aphids, but this doesn’t seem to last long. I have to apply it frequently, so I tried a new solution. I take Tansy leaves and Artemesia Wormwood and make a tea of this. I have read in Margaret Roberts’ book of 1000 herbs that these two are excellent bug repellants. I fill a bucket half way with the leaves, pour boiling water until it covers the leaves. Leave to cool. Strain the tea and place in a spray bottle with a teaspoon on Sunlight liquid (dishwasher liquid).

I sprayed my Roses last thursday and the Aphids are still gone. However, the new shoots need treating, so I will give it another splash of Bug Spray! This is the only plant that I spray – the rest I leave for nature to enjoy. I have so much to be thankful for, I can let it slide for now!

Happy Gardening xxxx

Barbie's garden Bugs & Pests Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Cleome attack

Oh No!! Something is chewing on my Cleome and I have lost one bush already! What can this be? Chris, I know that you lost your Impatiens to cutworm – could this be the same thing? I hope it is not that dreaded Stem Borer Beetle that is now attacking other plants in my garden. The Cleome is in a patch near the Fig and Guava tree. I will not spray any pesticide so I will have to tackle this by removing the pest by hand.



This looks more like something is chewing, not boring – but the adult beetle chews. The leaves are also all chomped up and have turned yellow. This all seemed to have happened recently. The rest of my Cleome patch is looking healthy and happy and I can’t see any damage on the rest of them.

I will keep you posted on what the pesky thing is that is eating my plants.

Bugs & Pests Christine's garden Gardening Home page features


It’s a bug-update post! Some are pretty, others not so much. But they are all fun to photograph.

The white spider in the third photograph was hidden in an iceberg rose and I noticed him as I was cutting off the spent blooms last week. I let him disembark and he hopped onto the Heliotropium bloom where I thought he looked quite beautiful contrasted against the purple flowers. I’m scared of big spiders that get into the house but I love the smaller ones and value them all in my garden.

Here’s my latest Bug-parade …

[one_half]From the ordinary chafer beetleFrom the ordinary chafer beetle[/one_half]

[one_half_last]to the almost scary looking bugto the almost scarey looking bug[/one_half_last]

[one_half]an intsy wintsy white spideran intsy wintsy white spider[/one_half]

[one_half_last]and then another one of theseand then another one of these[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Who’s eating my Anemones?Who's eating my Anemones?[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Ah ha! Caught in the act!Ah ha! Caught in the act![/one_half_last]

[one_half]There was a parade of caterpillarsThere was a parade of caterpillars[/one_half]

[one_half_last]and we saw plenty of beetlesand we saw plenty of beetles[/one_half_last]

[one_half]He annihilated one of the IrisesHe annihilated one of the Irises[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And perhaps turned into this?And perhaps turned into this?[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Or was he this before?Or was he this before?[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Or maybe even this?Or maybe even this?[/one_half_last]

[one_half]They keep the aphids at bayThey keep the aphids at bay[/one_half]

[one_half_last]and then get munched by this!and then get munched by this![/one_half_last]

I’m a very “bug-friendly” gardener. The truth of the matter is, I’m way too lazy to be bothered with all the spraying and laying of potions and pellets. My idea of “pest control” is throwing snails over the wall and lifting those really ugly grey worms up with a trowel and throwing them out with the garden refuse. The rest I let live and hope they keep each other in check or provide food for insect-eating birds. It’s all much easier that way :).

Seen any interesting bugs in your garden lately?

Happy gardening

Barbie's garden Bugs & Pests Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

Bug-a-boo Zoo

I have had such weird and wonderful bugs coming into my garden lately that I had to do a special post on all the bugs I have met so far. Every time I step onto my back deck, I have to run and get my camera. It is as if they wait for me and pose. Thanks to a lot of our friends, we were able to identify all of them. Here are a few of them, from the most recent visitors ……

A cheeky grasshopper is sitting in one of my sunflowers and chomping away on the petals – yum!

[one_half]Not a bug, but a common visitor and friend[/one_half]

[one_half_last]This female hopper is hanging by 2 claws[/one_half_last]

Voracious fruit beetles all clambering for a taste of the sticky, yummy figs! The annoying Starlings wake us up in the mornings with their squealing as they tear open the figs. They eat some but they just destroy a whole lot of them. These broken figs are what the fruit beetles are devouring!

[one_half]Remember this little guy? Longicorn beetle[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And this strange beauty? The Devil Horse Mantis[/one_half_last]

[one_half]This Rhinoceros beetle I found in the manure, remember?[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Some kind of horned caterpillar…. forget the name![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Colourful little beetle, isn’t he? A Harlequin bug[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Another Harlequin Bug[/one_half_last]

[one_half]En masse the locust can destroy, but this one is ok on his own[/one_half]

[one_half_last]This Haarskeeder is the ugliest insect of the bunch![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Remember this mommy Praying Mantis who left her basket of children at my front door?[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Ladybugs are always welcome in my garden!![/one_half_last]

Well, I hope you enjoyed visiting my Bug-a-boo Zoo. I will keep you updated with any new additions.

Happy gardening xxxxx

Barbie's garden Bugs & Pests Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous Perenniels

Heat of the Summer

The heat of the summer days does take its toll on the garden. It is usually 2-3 degrees higher here than in the city of Cape Town. So if my friend, Christine, says its 30 degrees in her garden, than its usually 33 degrees here. A few of my plants are now dropping leaves and flowers – notably the fuchsia, but my neighbour was very surprised to see it still blooming, so it lasted well.

The crickets are out at night and I hear the lonely high-pitched sound of the mating frog. In the hot afternoon, you hear the cicadas and the grasshoppers stake their claim on large green leaves. The sun is high and the air is dry. The garden waits for its daily watering …

[one_half]This grasshopper lives on the corn-stalk[/one_half]

[one_half_last]An old skin shell of a grasshopper[/one_half_last]

[one_half]My grasses are doing well in the heat[/one_half]

[one_half_last]They are now growing and filling the spaces[/one_half_last]

But they do need watering regularly.

[one_half]My Miscanthus growing tall[/one_half]

[one_half_last]But some are feeling the heat[/one_half_last]

In this early morning shot (8am) – it was already 25 degrees

[one_half]The Leopard Trees are strong and resilient[/one_half]

[one_half_last]But everyone needs a drink of water[/one_half_last]

Summertime is for lazy days in the sun and swimming in the cool pool. I know most of our friends are in winter, but I hope that we can spread some sunshine your way.

Happy gardening xxxx

Bugs & Pests Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Gecko and his dinner

I’ve been trying to get a few reasonable photographs of my Geckos to show on the blog. I have always had geckos, and this year there seem to be a lot more than usual around. My geckos only come out at night  – they are around during the day but tend to hide under rocks, behind walls and in pots and whatever else they can find to escape from the heat of the day. Can’t say I blame them. Temperatures have been in the range of 38 – 40°C (100.4 – 104°F).

So getting photographs of them is not that easy for me. For starters, I’m a useless photographer at the best of times and second, night-time is particularly challenging for me. So imagine my surprise when my latest attempt at catching a few shots of the friendly terrace gecko turned out to be ok – and I managed to get a shot of the gecko as it went for its prey and then munched on it. I wasn’t aware that was what I had photographed until I was looking at the photos on the computer.

See the bug with the arrow pointing at it?

Gecko charging for dinner

Now look at what is in the Gecko’s mouth …

Gecko having his dinner

Chomping down on the last bits …

Almost finished

What’s for dessert?

What's for dessert?

Ah ha! There they are …

There they are

Bugs for the Gecko … I supply plenty of these

Bugs for the Gecko

Bon Appetite! I don’t think they actually eat the stink bugs (or do they?), but they sure eat all the moths. There are two of them living on the terrace under this light fitting. They come out every evening as soon as the moths come to the light.

See? A good reason to waste a little bit of electricity. I need to feed my Geckos!

Happy weekend & happy gardening

Bugs & Pests Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

The latest Bug Parade

I thought I had plenty of bugs and slugs and creepy crawlies to show off with when I did this post and then, (were they feeling left out?) a whole new army of bugs moved in …

I took myself off to the book store and came back armed with what I thought was a book about local bugs – alas, it was a British book (yes I know, I’m blonde and not always very bright – my excuse is it was the ONLY “bug” book available at Exclusive and I assumed it would be a local book, plus, I was in a hurry!). So I’m no wiser than I was last time I posted on bugs in my garden.

Here are the latest summer invaders!

[one_half]Sun tanning on the PhilodendronI let him live - no harm done[/one_half]

[one_half_last]His buddy perched oppositeHis buddy perched opposite[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Climbing up the Gloriosa shootClimbing up the Gloriosa shoot[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Beautiful neon coloursBeautiful neon colours[/one_half_last]

[one_half]One of my favourite sightsOne of my favourite sights[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Another crawlyAnother crawly[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Uh Oh! Whats have we here …Uh Oh! Whats have we here ...[/one_half]

[one_half_last]One of the baddies eating flowersOne of the baddies eating flowers[/one_half_last]

[one_half]So much leaf damage on the AggiesSo much leaf damage on the Aggies[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Yikes! He was Huge!Yikes! He was Huge![/one_half_last]

The last one was dragged in by my cat and I let nature take its course – Dexter finished him off. The bad news I guess is that if there is one of these there are probably lots more.

Happy Gardening

Bugs & Pests Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Bug parade

So with the summer weather also come the summer bugs. And there seems to be no shortage of bugs and creepy-crawlies in my garden.

I had this grand idea that I would live and let live and that they would control each other. After this bug parade I’m having second thoughts. I’m not at the stage yet where I’m getting the sprayer out but I am hand picking some of them when I see them and squashing, drowning or throwing over the wall into … well you know where 🙂

The Gecko of course is most welcome … I have two at the moment. One lives in the back veggie garden (its nice and hot there) and one lives on our front patio, in the brick-work somewhere. They are cute and I love seeing them, but they are very shy and sensitive to sound (and I constantly have 2 noisy dogs in tow) so it’s not easy to photograph them in a beautiful setting. Wall shots are the best I can get – I will try to do better in Summer when they come out of hiding for a bit longer.

Here is the collection of bugs that have been parading around my garden this week …

The Good …


and all the rest …

[one_half]Lovely markingsLovely markings[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Eating the HabanerosEating the Habaneros[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Yikes, they look awfulYikes, they look awful[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Double yuck!Double yuck![/one_half_last]

[one_half]On the MandevillaOn the Mandevilla[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Seems to have lost a legSeems to have lost a leg[/one_half_last]

[one_half]One of the good guysOne of the good guys[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And the not so good …And the not so good ...[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lots of these on the roses!Lots of these on the roses![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Found the culprit!Found the culprit![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lots of babies or what is this?Lots of babies?[/one_half]

[one_half_last]A whole family of themLots more where these came from![/one_half_last]

Whats eating your garden?

Happy gardening