Black fly, foxes, bindweed and horsetail (A gardeners lot is a troublesome one!)

Black fly are feasting on my dahlias, artichokes and runner beans flowers. I started by wiping them off the stems with my fingers, but now the infestation has ramped up to quite another level. So, out came my misting sprayer, filled with a good squirt of washing up liquid and water. Fingers crossed this will work and not harm the plant. I understand that if you just squirt with water, their bodies repel it, but the detergent will work through their protective layer killing them in the same way it cleans grease off your frying pan. Hopefully we’ll soon have an army of hungry ladybirds come to our rescue, finishing off those that get away.

Black fly on runner beanBlack fly on my runner beans after a spray

Black fly on dahliaBlack fly on the dahlia after spraying

A fox has dug a hole next to one of my pumpkin plants, disturbing roots and knocking all the soil on the gravel path. Outcome, plastic drink bottles ¾ filled with water distributed around the kitchen garden. It worked with cats that decided to use the gravel in my old London flat’s garden as a toilet. This tip was given to me by a friend whose grandfather had had an allotment for years. Apparently at night the reflection of light off the bottles deters the cats. In London it worked a treat; hopefully it has the same effect on foxes in the countryside.

Bindweed in my garden really is a bind! As I’ve mentioned before I dug out mounds of bindweed root whilst landscaping the kitchen garden. I have the odd shoot come up, but at this stage I’m just pulling them out. My main herbaceous border is a different matter. Before planting this border up in the spring of this year I dug it over thoroughly, pulling out networks of brambles, nettles and bindweed roots, however, I knew there’d be a lot of bindweed root left in. Jeanette the amazingly talented plantslady of Wheelgate Nursery suggested an ingenious but simple solution. When you see a bindweed shoot emerge, pop in a cane for it to grow up.

BindweedBindweed grown up a cane

When it’s established take away the cane, then, pop the length of bindweed into a sandwich bag. Spray inside the bag with glyphosate, pop a rubber band around the bottom and leave for a couple of weeks. Amazing, kill your bindweed whilst keeping your precious plants safe.

Bindweed in bagsMy bagged up bindweed

I have even tried it on a couple of horsetail shoots that have jumped the ditch from my pond area. I’m looking forward to seeing the results.

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