Category Archives: Gardening in the Tropics

Timely Tasks

Frangipani are busily dropping leaves and flowering is sparse. Now is the time to prune back; spray against rust (yellow powder on underside of leaves), and cushiony scale/woolly aphis (looks like blobs of cotton wool). Fertilize well for the coming season of renewal. Dispose of all waste, especially leaves – most eco-friendly by sealing in heavy, black plastic bags. The hot Bali sun will kill micro-organisms is due course. Please buy a pruning saw and supervise any cutting back. I cringe when I see jagged, splintered ends everywhere – dangerous to plants and people alike. Cuts should be clean and ... [ Read More ]

Eternal Vigilance !

It has been said that ‘Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty’; this statement is also true of keeping a ‘relatively’ pest-free garden. In the past few weeks, my inbox has been inundated with questions concerning the ‘nasty white stuff’ appearing on many garden plants. Most have been concerned in particular with these woolly aphids attacking papaya, hibiscus, and frangipani. In the previous issue (July 1 – 15, Page 16) I dealt with this subject in some detail recommending a soapsuds spray using soap with a 10% sulfur content. I refer my readers back to that article. I would also ... [ Read More ]

Neem – Good News!

At last! A reliable, permanent location for the purchase of Neem products has come my way. First an apology – it seems that the Balinese name for Neem is ‘Intaran’. I would however say that the name I gave ‘Mindi’, is the name given by three separate authorities as the Bahasa Indonesia (probably derived from Bahasa Melayu) name. Neem products, as listed on the indoneem website are available (during their normal operating hours) from:- The Sunrise School Parkir Place, Jln. Mertasari, Pengubengan Kauh. Krobokan, Kuta. Phone – 0361 735822. Intaran saplings + cultivation notes, may also be obtained from this ... [ Read More ]

Daun Sirih – Betel Leaf

Commonly called Betel Leaf, the word more properly refers to the complete ‘chew’ consisting of a slice of the Areca palm nut, a pinch of lime powder, wrapped in a single leaf and chewed. This produces the characteristic ‘beetroot-juice-colored’ staining of lips, gums, and spittle, ultimately permanently blackening teeth, while lime erodes dental mass. Its botanical name – Piper betle identifies it as belonging to the pepper family – its appearance and growth habit strongly resembling the pepper vine; Piper nigrum. The essential oil found in the leaf ‘arakene’ has similar properties to cocaine – acting as a mild stimulant. ... [ Read More ]

Critters or ?

Roger, Ubud writes: I read your articles in the Bali Advertiser frequently and find then extremely helpful for my future plans. I am currently planning to build on a plot of land north of Ubud; my problem at this time is that whenever I visit the land I get “bitten” or “stung” by something very small which I cannot see. They often sting around the upper thighs, even when wearing thick jeans. The results are extremely itchy and long lasting rather like sand fly bites. Would you know what it might be? How can I get rid of them before ... [ Read More ]

Robyn, Nusa Lemobongan writes

Robyn, Nusa Lemobongan writes: I enjoy your Bali Advertiser column, although we don’t get every issue; nobody here distributes it, so we rely on either being over on the mainland or having someone else get us a copy. Our lawn is Japanese couch, down three years now, with it being mainly healthy. “Something” has taken up residence and is eating the root system (or so it seems). The affected area is spongy to walk on, with the grass coming away in your hand when you tug gently. The affected area is being colonised by soft plants, which I am manually ... [ Read More ]

April 8, 2009

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, How does your garden grow? With Bathurst Burr and Prickly Pear And noxious weeds all in a row! While some ‘ostriches’ may still maintain that ‘climate change’ is a figment of Environmental Scientists’ imagination (despite being stared in the face by the factual evidence), there can be no doubt that major changes are already upon us. These are happening at a much faster rate than even the gloomiest foresaw! The recent (current at the time of writing) uncontrollable bushfires still burning in my home state of Victoria, Australia, are the worst ever recorded. More than 200 ... [ Read More ]

For Small Gardens

Kellie’s enquiry in the last issue of this journal set me thinking. I reprint a section of her email as a reminder: I would like to put these pots outside in a sunny area (front-n-back yard). I have no garden, so these pots-n-plants will be the feature. I am not a good gardener and have only been in Bali for six months. Kellie’s area is fully paved and doubtless there are many homes here with a similar problem. If you are one such ‘gardener’, some solutions follow: Pots: The best from the plant’s point of view are plastic. These range ... [ Read More ]

Diane, Legian, writes

Diane, Legian, writes: I am looking for plants to put around the house mosquitoes do not like. Some people told me ‘Lidah Mertua’; others said ‘Sodia’? Is this right? Are there other plants? My garden is small and has lots of shadow. Do the plants need sun or not? How many do I need to plant per meter? I live in Legian, and would like to know where to buy? Aloe Vera is known here as “Lidah Buaya’ (crocodile’s tongue) – ‘Lidah Mertua’ is mother-in-law’s tongue (bot: Sanseveria spp.) I cannot comment on ‘Sodia’; it must be an Indonesian name ... [ Read More ]

Nasty Black & White ‘Stuff’

I have two enquiries about related problems. See the edited letters below:- Nancy, Legian writes: I’m in tears over my papaya tree plantation: They have a disease which looks like mould from a distance (white powder), but in fact they’re tiny insects. Someone told us to scrape the bark thoroughly applying a product to kill the insects but I’m not impressed with the result. That was the trees; but now my fruits are also sick with big white pimples. On top of that they’ve been half-rotten for a whole season. Please help! Emma, writes: I have been living in Bali ... [ Read More ]