Going chemical free must be an ambition of anyone who loves a garden. Our quest for a perfect garden setting is a battle that sometimes requires waging war on insect pests and diseases. And to have an arsenal of death to conduct chemical warfare, spirited away in the back of a shed puts you on a war footing.
The trouble with the arsenal and doing war seems to be par for the course to many of us who don’t like the disturbance to the order of a nice garden. Like many of those photos we drool over in a magazine of a sweeping lawn, a shady tree, beautifully manicured lawns and the occasional composition of garden plant in orderly beds. Maybe there is a water feature and a few hardscaping features.
Do you notice that most of those staged pictures seldom have people in them? I did ask a garden photographer this question once and she said they can look ‘messy’ with people in them.
Well, after all it is people who inhabit a garden or is it a show piece to impress or to rule with horticultural order?
Hence an invasion of spur-throated grasshoppers chewing the hell out of every new juicy leaf is more than an irritation, it is a call to arms, a war at least and a nuclear one for good measure. It’s off to the shed for a remedy.
Your spray may well eradicate the problem but has probably killed off a few other innocent insects at the same time. Collateral damage.
While the grasshoppers were doing their chewing, ladybirds were eating thrips that turned up or hatched in army numbers. Ladybirds are the assassins of the garden. They eat 70-80 thrips a day and will suck on soft-tissued insects like scales for a snack.
So when you blast a bush with the satisfaction of a general at war, you probably killed a lot of other beneficial insects that are all part of the plant bio.
It is a fascinating existence as one plant has the ability to produce sugars from photosynthesis is a good source of dietary requirements to other insects that suck and eat its sugars with their efficient mouth parts. Those that like the sugars are predated by others who like the ones that like sugar. And so it goes.
A few hours watching a bush can be an enormous education on the coming and goings and a lesson in reducing a garden arsenal.