What happened was this, I was happily walking under a large Bay tree in my garden when a couple of brown leaves fell on my head. Given that they shouldn’t be falling this time of year and the fact that I am a fan of the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and I was aware of Sherlock’s famous dictum “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth”. Therefore “cogito ergo sum” as my old friend Descartes used to say … it must be bloody white fly.
Now that opening paragraph is a tour de force of shoehorning literary allusions into a gardening blog and we haven’t even got to the plants yet. Anyway, on with the show there is work to be done.
22nd October: Things I have been doing lately
🚿 Spraying white fly. After the fateful leaf fall mentioned above, I looked up and the Bay tree was infested so heavily with White fly that you could barely see the leaves in some areas. There where millions of the buggers, and to be fair I should have seen this before as the area under the tree was covered with dead leaves. The first photo below shows a part of the infestation, whilst the second photo shows the ground under the tree. Click on each photo for a larger view. It can be difficult to identify an infestation such as this because it could be Aphids or Mealy Bugs. But the tell tale sign is the clouds of small flys that take off when you disturb the plant.
Now, to be honest, white fly are immune to most insect sprays and ideally you should just try and knock them off with a jet of water. But this infestation was mega and needed drastic action. The photo below shows me in my full super hero garb as I battled the White fly. Hopefully I didn’t kill too many beneficial insects.
👃 Enjoying the scent of Dame de Noche. Because of the great drought and the subsequent heavy rains we are now enjoying the best ever blooming and therefore scent of our Dame de Noche (sometimes Galan de Noche). This night scenting Jasmine is a glorious addition to any garden as it gives off a very heady perfume at night. The plant itself is relatively plain and the flowers are more or less non descript. However, the scent at night is wonderful. It is worth planting near to a sitting out area or barbecue so that you can enjoy the beautiful scent. The photo below shows the Dame de Noche in full bloom; but if you sniff it during the day there is absolutely no scent, it is only at night that it releases its glorious smell.
🍊 Getting ready to harvest Persimmon. If you don’t grow Persimmons, then you should. Sometimes known as Sharon Fruits, this is a very tasty orange size fruit which when it is ripe can be scooped straight out of its skin. Cruella (my wife) says it has the consistency of a tomato and the taste of a Peach (but then again she eats dead bats; sometimes before they die). The fruit ripens on the tree after the leaves have dropped, and you need to be patient and wait till the fruit turns a pinky red. If you pick it too early it has a strong astringent taste and it will suck all the moisture out of your mouth leaving you with puckered lips and a disapproving look. The photo below shows some of my Persimmon patiently waiting to turn pinky red.
🌿 Planting out Bush Lily. I had a plant growing under a North facing wall which meant it had lots of shade. Also it was growing under a substantial hedge of greedy Hibiscus etc but it seemed to be thriving and flowered with lovely deep orange flowers that then turned to berries. I took the opportunity to split the plant to create lots of new ones. The cuttings have been happily sitting on my potting bench for about five months (May the cuttings were taken) but I still didn’t know what it was. After extensive detective work (books, internet, plant finder sites) it is Bush Lily (Clivia miniata) that comes from South Africa.
This is an excellent plant for shady spots or under trees (not Pine; too acid) it’s bright flowers light up dark spaces. The first photos below show Bush Lily when it first arrived on the potting bench. The second photo shows the strong fibrous roots it grew over it’s time in a pot. The final photo shows some of the five Bush Lilies that I have planted out (plants for free, what’s not to like).
⛈ From drought to deluge. Many of you will have been fed up with me moaning about the great drought we have suffered here in Spain. The last few months have seen plants die and the lawn turn into the Sahara desert. But, as is the way with gardening it has all turned around and we have had torrential rain on a number of occasions. I have gone from having no water to having too much. I have filled every water butt, box, receptacle, dog bowl. Everything is bursting out, including the weeds which are enjoying a late summer renaissance, even my gravelled areas are beginning to look like meadows. The photo below shows just some of my water bounty – I have lots more. I am thinking of selling it back to the government.
3 thoughts on “White fly have invaded the earth…I have become a super hero”
WOW! That night blooming jasmine is so excellent! It can grow here, but does not get so big. It freezes to the ground in the winter, so must regenerate annually. I have not grown it since 2006, when I left the home in town. Once I get the garden going again, I intend to grow it again. It so reminds me of summer in Beverly Hills (in the Los Angeles region). It naturalized there, and is a very traditional fragrance that anyone in the region remembers.
One of our clients in Beverly Hills was Ozzy Osbourne, who was an old rock star who was known for biting heads off of bats. I do not know if it ever actually happened. When we built the fir pit in the garden, it was adorned with a bat motif in the tiles. It was . . . weird. I doubt the people who live there now kept it like that.
Is that bay tree a Ficus microcarpa ‘Nitida’? It look like what we know as an Indian laurel. For us, bay is either Laurus nobilis, or the native Umbellularia californica.
Hi Tony, I want to send you a picture of a tree for identification. Is it possible to load the picture on WordPress?
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Oh, I do not know. You can send it to lghorticulture@aol. Remind me that you sent it if I do not respond in a day or so.
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