Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Visitors to the Garden Pond

tree-frog2

“If you have a pest problem in the garden the most likely reason will be that this pest’s natural enemy has either been wiped out by pesticides, or it doesn’t find your garden inviting enough to live in. The first step to controlling most insect pests is  therefore to stop poisoning their predators. The second step is to look at ways of inviting pest predators into your garden. One way of attracting a large variety of pest-predators to the garden is to build a small garden pond – either in the garden itself or somewhere nearby. Add a few pond plants, and within no time at all you will have damselflies and dragonflies, which are excellent predators, doing low-level pest-control flights through the garden. A garden pond will also attract frogs and toads, which will soon dispose of mosquitoes, moths and other insects. To be doubly sure that your pond does not become a mosquito breeding site, add a few fish.” Adapted from Cultivating Flavour – Kitchen gardening for kindred spirits, by Toni B. Walters (Lizard’s Leap Press)

Kindred spirit, Elaine Kool, built a shallow pond in her garden in Everton, KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). Elaine’s pond is always abuzz with hundreds of garden visitors of all kinds – some of them human. Everyone seems to enjoy spending time here and when Justine, Elaine’s  daughter, came to visit, she took the following stunning photographs of some of the beautiful creatures that frequent the pond. I specially love the tree frogs. Thank-you Justine for sharing your photographs.

gold-spot-tree-frog1

Robber fly - an excellent pest-predator

Robber fly - an excellent pest-predator

Another two flies of some sort

Another two flies of some sort

Cicada

Cicada

Acrea butterfly

Acrea butterfly

Insects in the Kitchen Garden

Bumble bee

Bumble bee

Red-eyed fly

Red-eyed fly

African Monarch

African Monarch
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Spotted beetle

It was only once I was given a digital camera and started taking pictures of flowers that I really started to notice all the insects in my garden. The next step was to try and identify them, and as has happened throughout my research on kitchen gardening, I found a kindred spirit to guide me. Well known entomologist Dr Tanza Crouch not only identified the insects, but she introduced me to a wondrous, fantastic, entertaining and beautiful show that insects and other creatures act out in the garden every day. Now I’m totally hooked and I find myself thinking about what to plant to encourage more and more insects into the garden. I’ve also started collecting Tanza’s beautiful ceramics so that I can enjoy beetles on my coffee cups, wasps all over the teapot,  mantids on the plates, and butterflies on the butter dish (of course). Have a look at Tanza’s website and while you’re surfing the web also go to jewelery designer Elaine Kool’s website to see how insects have inspired many of her beautiful creations. (Incidentally, Elaine took the photographs which appear in the post: Visitors to the garden Pond)
You’ll find information on the roles that insects play in the garden in the book Cultivating Flavour: apart from their decorative value many insects play an important role as pollinators, whilst others are pest predators which you need to encourage to visit the garden so that they can keep vegetable pests under control. The book is also full of insect photographs, and had our book designer not restrained me there would have been loads more. Here are some of the photographs I couldn’t fit into the book. Enjoy.

For more ideas on working with the environment on this blog go to the post: Visitor’s to the garden pond

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Kitchen garden insects

Dragon Fly