My garden is a macro world

My garden is really a macro world in the sky. I am up high on the fifth floor and right now I am fighting back an invasion of mealybugs. And doing that organically is no easy task. At first, they were only attracted to the hibiscus plants and a couple of weak plants. But after applying rich compost to all the pots, the bugs migrated to the lush, new growth on the plants. As a final resort, I have had to whip out the ‘tabaccy’.

Ageratum flowers

Soak together in hot water, tobacco from a cigarette, a head of crushed garlic, some bird’s eye chilly, mashed up turmeric root, a splash of milk, insecticidal soap and a bit of yellow laundry soap _ a type of soap we get here in India. Let all this sit around in the heat of two afternoons _ sounds like a witch’s brew, doesn’t it? It’s only missing the eye of newt. All this yields a foul-smelling brown gungy liquid, which is filtered then diluted and poured into a spray bottle with a bit of insectidal soap. I make sure to spray after the bees have gone to bed, as I don’t want to poison them by mistake. What I’ve noticed is that this spray keeps the cottony mealybugs at bay for a while, and the plants seem to like this gungy emulsion, they seem to look fatter and healthier to my eye the next day.

In the heat of april, there is some profusion of colour in this sky garden. Stinky Ageraturm blue-ball plants have flowers that in macro seem to be sprouting glassy violet tentacles waving about in the viscous heat. I found out recently that the similarly stinky goat weed that regularly appears in my garden is also an Ageratum _ Ageratum Conyzoides. But the goat weed’s flowers are small, white and insignificant, probably what ancestral Ageratum flowers once looked like before gardening and human involvement. The deep magenta of gomphrena, despite my best efforts, is getting washed rather white by my lens. Probably more the fault of the still-learning photographer than the lens.

The papery gomphrena flower is actually a deep purply magenta. Try as I might I was not able to catch the colour on camera.

Flowering hippeastrum: A plastic bucket is providing the blue background.

That white spot in the middle of this dwarf marigold bloom is a pesky little mealybug getting comfy beneath.

Here's a friend to the garden, a spider on a hibiscus flower, whose name eludes me. But on its abdomen there appear to be markings tracing out a human face.

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6 Responses to My garden is a macro world

  1. Beautiful photographs – and flowers of course! Isn’t nicotine also used in some commercial insecticides? (at least that is what I learned in an episode of CSI! 🙂 )

    I think your spider is one of the crab spiders – we have similar looking ones here.

    • an earthian says:

      Yes, I read on an organic gardening forum that using tobacco isn’t organic. Some of the forum denizens were really mad when one writer admitted to using it. But I am really desperate as the mealybugs are chomping their way through the garden and nothing I have tried seems to be having an effect _ not lemongrass oil, not garlic spray….Thanks for the crab spider ID. I was quite surprised by the markings. Do the ones in your garden have similar markings?

  2. ronniejt28 says:

    Hi there – thank you for linking my post about the seven signs of Spring, it is very flattering. Your photographs are amazing.

  3. lisaakari says:

    Macro photos are my favorite flower photos. That little spider was really interesting too.

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