When in doubt, garden

 Maria watering the plants and the freshly de-bugged and pruned citrus

Maria watering the plants and the freshly de-bugged and pruned citrus

Maria and I, Chippendale residents, rescued a citrus tree in the road verge from stink bugs today.

Yesterday, a friend, Judy, saw dozens of stink bugs on a citrus tree on the corner of Myrtle and City Road.  They were sucking the sap from it and the tree was in decline, sad, unhealthy and in need of immediate care.

A nearby resident, Maria, agreed to help me fix them.

This is how we did it.

 One of the stink bugs that was sucking sap from the citrus and killing it

One of the stink bugs that was sucking sap from the citrus and killing it

Firstly, I went to Annandale Nursery where the excellent assistant, Michael, told me that it being February the stink bugs were difficult to spray as their outside shells were now too hard and resistant.  Best to pluck them from the tree with gloves as they spray stinking stuff when you’re near or touch them.  Yes, they were now black and well past their young reddish colour.

I purchased:

  • Pyrethrum insect spray

  • Eco-oil that also controls other citrus bugs and is organic, and mixed some of the Pyrethrum into it

 And I purchased Organic Boost, an organic concentrate fertiliser for citrus

I also purchased some helpers:

  • Comfrey to plant outside the roots to provide nitrogen at the edge of the growing area of the tree roots

  • Salvia farinacea,  a perennial with purple flowers to attract and feed bees and which love lots of sun and tough conditions

  • Borage which goes well with Comfrey to enrich the soil (not to be eaten)

  • Woodlyn – Alyssum Snow Crystals – a honey-smelling, delicate white plant which bees love

  • Gaura lindheimeri – Belleza pink – loves dry conditions, lots of sun, hardy, elegant and attracts bees

Secondly, armed with gloves, Maria and I bundled the stink bugs into a bag where I sprayed them then put them into the bin.

Then we planted the plants, watered them with the fertilizer and put chook mulch around the lot of them.

With gardening, one thing leads to another, perhaps in a way unlike much of what we do in cities.  Thus, when done with the road gardening I introduced Maria to the workers out the back of the nearby coffee roasting factory, Toby's Estate.  Where we obtained a dozen used coffee sacks for Maria to make a garden out of some timber pallets in her back garden.

To finish on this high note there's also an accompanying low note, a reprobate bloke with loaded barrow, a bit like the loaded dog of Australian lore.

 Maria with recycled coffee bags and pallets making a garden

Maria with recycled coffee bags and pallets making a garden

 Reprobate with loaded barrow

Reprobate with loaded barrow

And so it goes.

Thank you, Judy, Maria, plants and this lovely day.