Spilostethus something-or-other

Given that spring is pest season, I’m always a bit alarmed when something new appears in the garden. Apparently these guys are most likely large milkweed bugs, Spilostethus hospes, although there are a bunch of species within Spilostethus and they all have similar markings. They’re all seed-eaters, though, so they’re probably not harming my new buddleias. Looks to be a whole lot of mating going on.

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First apples

We’re quite excited to get some apples this year. The Fuji appears to be the most prolific. This one’s a Granny Smith, the only fruit on the lone tree in the meadow. What are the chances a bird gets it?

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Pest management

The pear and cherry slugs (Caliroa cerasi) are back out of the ground again for another go at the cherries, pear and quince. Timing is very consistent with last year, so we’re on the job this time to wipe them out before they get out of hand.

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The pear and cherry slug is the larval form of the glossy black sawfly. The bulbous bit is the head, and the pattern of destruction on the leaf at the back is distinctive

One of the pink lady apple trees has apple scab, so any affected leaves are getting snipped off and composted. Hopefully diligence in both cases will go some way to breaking the cycle of these two pests.

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Apple scab on a pink lady tree

The cherry also got a little colony of aphids on the end of one branch. There were ants in the tree, too, so they’re probably an aphid farm for the ants. Wasn’t too worried, because there were a whole bunch of ladybugs having a feast, too. Left them to it.

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Blow in

Where do these things come from? This plant just popped up in the 1cm of dirt between the brick paving and the side of the house under the clothes line. It’s Lunaria annua or annual honesty. The oval or round seed pods with the spike on the end apparently turn translucent later on, and they get used in flower arrangements.

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We’ll save the pods and grow more!

Pond concreting almost done

The weather’s been very wet all week, so the concreting of the pond had to go on hold again.

About three quarters done now. The drain is already working like a charm.

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The darker green leaves near the stick belong to bidgee widgee, a local ground cover that’s actually pretty great, except for the incredibly spiky flower heads. The little bobbles explode into a mess of spikes that are really sharp and really hard to pick out of clothes. Must get this pond done before the weather dries out too much and those seed heads go all killer on me.

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Stylidium graminifolium

We got a few plants at the weed swap the other week. This one, Stylidium graminifolium, might make a nice border plant, if it can be coaxed to grow OK. It’s an Australian species, and is reminiscent of Liriope, which comes from Asia. I put these two guys down around the stone seat that’s with the pears.

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It’s one of those trigger plants that springs a little hammer out when you brush by.

http://anpsa.org.au/s-gra.html