Category Archives: Gardening in the Tropics

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 ]

Canggu Writers

DK, Canggu writes: A few months ago I bought some roses from a nursery in Ubud. These were roses I have grown back home. The flowers were a bit smaller than usual, but I thought this may be because they were quite young plants. They have since re-flowered, but this time they are very much smaller – about the size of the average miniature rose; neither do their colors seem as intense. The leaves are also much smaller and not as dark green or strong. I have given them fertilizer. Why is this so? Roses here do not seem to ... [ Read More ]

Debbie writes

Debbie writes: You gave contact information for a neem plant supplier here in Bali in one of your issues- could you please supply me with the telephone number again? Much appreciated. Debbie Neem saplings and 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. I have written a number of articles about the Neem tree – including extensive cultivating notes. Read these by clicking on the articles tab at Kellie writes: Can you please help me? I ... [ Read More ]

Organic Fertilizer

Mitch, Jimbaran writes: I really enjoy your gardening column in the Bali Advertiser and I was wondering if you could tell me where I can get fertilizer for my plants and lawn in Bali as I have tried every where and all I have been able to find is small packets of NPK at Ace Hardware. I live in Jimbaran up the top, Taman Griya and there is a fair bit of limestone, or maybe it is the remnants left over from building. I just want a general fertilizer for my palms and lawn. There is almost certainly limestone there, ... [ Read More ]

Manfred writes

Manfred writes: I am worried about the huge rubber tree in my garden. Its roots are spreading out rapidly all over the place above the soil. This is most likely because there is not enough earth underneath. It looks as if the roots have reached my house already and I am afraid that this could damage the building in the not too distant future. On the other hand, I don’t want to remove the whole tree because it looks nice and healthy. I am therefore looking at trimming the crown and the roots rather than cutting it down. To do ... [ Read More ]

Mosquito Control

Marie writes: I have a type of water-plant called “bambu air” which grows in a pot of water. How do I prevent mosquitoes from breeding? Mosquitoes need calm water for breeding, and can do this in a very small quantity of water; 5+cm in a discarded can is sufficient. Your pot of ‘bambu air’ would be quite enough. Control methods will depend on the size of the pot. If your pot is small (say up to 20cm in diameter) ½ – 1 teaspoon of cooking oil added to the water will do the trick. The wrigglers (larvae) have little, feathery ... [ Read More ]

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 ]