We have been marveling at our tamarillo crop, amazed at how well the plants are doing this year. We were looking forward to a bumper crop, as the trees were loaded with fruit. However, last week we noticed that some of the ripe fruit seemed to have been stung. Puzzled by this, we checked for fruit fly, but there did not seem to be any in evidence.
It was later on in the week, when I let the dogs out for their final pee for the night, that I noticed a moth sitting above the door! Aah Haa! Not believing that the sucking moths were back, we went outside the following night, armed with a long LED light. Sure enough, there on the tamarillo fruit were moths! Our suspicions were confirmed!
Last year our entire citrus crop was decimated by fruit sucking moths, and not wanting a repeat of that, we decided that the best plan of action would be to harvest our entire tamarillo crop. After harvesting the tamarillos, we covered the citrus and pawpaw crops with nets to protect the fruit. That night we checked to see if the protected fruit was safe, and luckily it was! The moths however had discovered our only bush of bishop cap peppers, and in a single night they destroyed the entire crop. The following day we stripped the bush of all its fruit and composted it, and then covered our crop of passion fruit. Hopefully our efforts will pay off, and the netted fruit will continue to ripen for us to enjoy.
The fruit sucking moth, Eudocima fullonia, has orange and black hind wings, and brown forewings. The moth has a strong proboscis with barbs which enable it to penetrate the skin or rind of the fruit, and it is then able to suck out the juice of the fruit. The moths attack fruit that is ripe or ripening. The moths are nocturnal. If you are interested then these short fact sheets are a good read. Fact sheet – Citrus fruit piercing moth (113) (pestnet.org) and Fact sheet – Citrus fruit piercing moth (113) (pestnet.org)
2. Last night when we went outside to check that the netted crops were safe from the moths, we saw this cute native frog on the lawn, very close to a cane toad no photo of the cane toad). The frog easily jumps a distance of half a metre. Looking through my reference books I think it is a Green-thighed frog, Litoria brevipalmata. Cane toads, Rhineland marina, were introduced from Central and South America into the sugar cane fields of Far North Queensland in the 1930’s. It was hoped that the toads would control two beetle pests. These toads have however become environmental pests and are now wide spread. The toads are toxic at all stages of life, and are considered an environmental threat. Needless to say, the toad was dispatched!
3. The Tibouchina are still taking centre stage in the garden, almost overshadowing some of the smaller perennials and shrubs desperate for some of the limelight! Trying hard to compete is this delicate pink Obedient plant, Physostegia virginiana, which is a clumping herbaceous perennial. They are also known as false dragonheads.
4. Also trying hard to get to centre stage is the cats whiskers, Orthosiphon aristatus. It is a shade loving plant, about 1 metre in height, and is native to tropical parts of Australia. The dark glossy leaves show off the white flowers beautifully, and the plant is just starting to put on a show. It is easily propagated from cuttings.
5. Waiting in the wings is one of my Helenium plants. I bought two plants, one Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ and the other Helenium autumnale. I planted them side by side. One plant has yet to send up any flowering stems. The other plant is about a metre tall and almost ready to flower. It has to be propped up to prevent it from spilling onto the path, especially under the weight of raindrops. It is full of buds, and I can’t wait for them to open!
My final six for this week is not waiting in the wings to flower; it is waiting for rejuvenation! During the week I was invited over to an old (neglected) garden to take any cuttings and plants I wanted before the land was used for redevelopment. Hidden behind a shrub was this lovely Platycerium stag/elk horn fern, which looked as if it had fallen off a felled or rotted tree. It is in desperate need of some TLC, and I plan to divide it up into at least 4 pieces and secure each piece to a tree.
Before I tackle this latest project I will be having some down time to read the other interesting Six on Saturday blogs posted from around the world. Our host is The Propagator, and links to the other blogs can be found in the comments section of his weekly Six on Saturday posts. You are welcome to join in!