Story telling from Australia
Plucking the preying mantis off the Peace Rose and dunking him in a bucket of water seemed to do the trick: he survived. Not for long though. The female I spotted must have eaten him. Hope he had some fun first.
Spotting him made it impossible to ignore other spots that have spread across the roses, an inevitable result of Sydney’s sweaty summer heat.
According to the ABC’s Colin Campbell, if black spot is really bad the rose can die, so I’ve taken his advice, fed the roses and sprayed a weak solution of bicarbonate of soda, mixed in water with a few drops of washing up liquid. Fingers crossed, and thankfully the roses are still blooming.
The figs seem happy enough too. I love the way they suddenly swell and ripen, seemingly in the space of a day or two.
And the Stephanotis floribunda has snaked its way up the wall, adding a metre in less than a month.
The best fun I had last week was in Jervis Bay, where I gave a book talk to the local branch of the CWA then helped a friend spread three cubic metres of top soil on her new garden. I wonder what they would have thought if I’d turned up looking like this?
Somehow, I don’t think they would have minded too much. They were a lovely group of people, as were the members of the Port Macquarie branch of the Fellowship of Australian Writers, where I gave a talk on Saturday.
I hope I’ll get to meet them all again one day.
There are other encouraging patches of colour in this otherwise green and grey concrete back yard too, which somehow survives the vagaries of Sydney’s capricious climate and my inexpert attempts at gardening.