Tuesday, 7 June 2016


These little guys can be a pest or a good way to spot when rain is coming our way. Now, there are different types and I've seen a few around my place that have either made themselves useful or had to moved on because they got in the way.

Meat Ants are the big orange ants which you sometimes see around your place and they nest near doorways and drains. They are more active when it rains and they're not the most attractive of the ant species. However, you don't leave them alone! If you let them walk around your house they will invite the rest of the ant colony inside to nest... yes, they have a few different jobs to do around the place. Meat Ants are the guys who look for new places for the little black ants to find new homes - dry places to nest. Never ignore them if you find them around your house. When you see one, kill it, and wait for another two or three to show up (and they will) and kill those too; otherwise you'll be in for a nasty surprise of ants inundating your home.

Green Ants are another nasty you don't want near your home. They nest just about anywhere and if they get into your potted plants, they'll eat the roots of your plants and kill them, taking over the pot as their own nest. You don't want this and it's easy to get rid of them. You need a big bucket of water and you dunk the whole pot into it and leave it for a couple of hours - drowning out the whole nest. But if your Green Ants Nest is in a huge pot too big for a bucket, you get your hose, put it onto 'jet' on the control on the gun and drown them out that way. Just make sure the soil is soaked through with water and the ants will leave. Sometimes, when you've done this, watch carefully around your trees, the nest might take to the leaves in the trees. They will stick together leaves and make a nest in a tree if they're really desperate for a nest.

Sugar Ants are another black ant which nests in gardens. They are practically everywhere and are a good warning system that rain is approaching. I have a few nests outside in my front garden I don't touch because when they get busy and rush everywhere, I know from their activity that they're preparing for a lot of rain. However, when I find them inside my house - tracking from my back, through my living room to my front door - I know for certain, something big is coming our way. When they do that, I get the flour out and sprinkle it on the doorways to get them to keep out of my house.

Fire Ants are nasty little bastards. They nest in areas where the soil is built up and gardens aren't cared for well. This is why I always care for my garden and make sure I don't leave any soil to build up in my garden or long grass uncut. I'm always checking around the corners of my yard and over my fence into the properties of my neighbours' to check if they're caring for their yards as well - because it's not just my responsibility to care for my yard. If somebody isn't caring for their yard and they have Fire Ants at the back fence, those ants will find their way into my yard and destroy my well-kept garden. And even though most of us rent, it's a decent thing to do to keep our gardens looking good. Besides, Fire Ants have a dreadful bite; and they're name signifies how bad their bite is: it feels as though your skin and all surrounding it is on fire. 

Now, with most ants, you can keep them from invading your home or your garden with simple Ant-Sand, which you can buy at your local gardening supply store. But that's a chemical, and can be harmful to pets and dogs. So, if you use flour, you'll find that they can be stopped from entering your home that way because ants all breath through their stomachs and flour suffocates them. Otherwise, if you want to shift an ants' nest, pouring a kettle of boiling water down the nest is another way of getting rid of them... it does take a few doses of that to get them running, but it does work (I've done this to three big Green Ants Nests near my clothes line and they took off). However, if ants are really being a pest, I once used Kerosene on a plant outside my house and it got rid of Green Ants - however I do not advise people to use this on any of your plants to get rid of ants nests. There are other methods; and I only used it because nothing else worked.

Okay, that's all about ants and how to treat them... how to work with them and what not to do around them. Until my next post, happy gardening.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

A Weekend of Rain

It's the first week of Winter here in Australia and today, as I came out of the cinemas with a friend to find it was pouring rain. I looked on the weather forecast and it said that we'll have rain today, tomorrow and all across the weekend - with some storms as well.

This is great news for the garden. 

I've done some work over the last few weeks in my garden - as you know - and it's all going to pay off over the next week or two as the Frangipani and other plants I've repotted recently settle into their new pots have the rain assist with their new living arrangements.

The Large Leaf Jade is starting to flower as well. This is a big thing seeing it doesn't flower all that often - and the last time it did, was around 5 years ago. I'm really looking forward to this; as there are more buds on the plant than there were last time.

The Small Leaf Jades out the front have done well since I last trimmed them and they've grown into their new shapes nicely. These plants aren't in pots, however, I planted them as cuttings into the ground around 12 years ago and they've really shot up and taken precedence over the front garden area of my townhouse. I'm really pleased at how they've thrived in such little soil as well. 

So, over this weekend, I don't have to do much, just plan for July - yep, four weeks away - get in and do some more gardening to prepare for Spring. That means saving up money, putting it all away and working on getting in and making sure the other plants that need repotting are done before the weather warms up again in Summer. Well, until my next post, happy gardening.