Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Trials and tribulations

 I have been growing these sky vines (thunbergia grandiflora) by seed for the past four to five months. I got the seeds when my friends and I went on a countryside jaunt last September. They are supposed to be the white but I have noticed a difference in the shape of the leaves on one of the plants. Perhaps one may be the blue. The seed took about three to four weeks to germinate.
I am also trying to grow this Pride of Maderia (echium candicans / faustuosum). I grew this from seed and I have never heard anyone on this island growing this shrub. I am excited and hope that it continue to thrive. From what I have read it grows well by the seaside and is drought tolerant.

 My citrus crops of oranges and grapefruits have been destroyed by the birds, yes birds. They have pecked the very young fruits to the semi mature ones. This is the first time I have seen this happening. I will have to try to come up with a solution for this problem. I may have to get some fruit nets to prevent this.

They are finally here in my garden. The island is under siege by the Giant African Snail. I have just recently discovered them  and have been trying to control them. I go out at night and on early mornings with my headlamp scoop and bucket.  I collect them and burn them. I have now  baited around the areas where they have been sighted and I have been seeing a few dead ones. They are not too bad as yet and I do hope that they stay away from my plants. Another blogger friend Lotus leaf has them in her garden in India. She has mentioned that there is a natural predator, a bird by the name of a coucal a member of the cukoo family, loves to gobble them up. Sadly we do not have these birds here so we are down a gully with these snails. I read that Florida had them and it took ten years and many millions of dollars to get rid of these snails. Our government was giving free bait to householders and because a lack of funds that has come to an end. There is also a bounty on the snails and many people have been making some money. However that scheme hasn't seem to put a dent  in the snail population. I am also concerned about the use of the bait poison getting into our aquifers and contaminating our drinking water.


  1. Oh Helen! My heart drops to my shoes when I see one of those pests. Although our area seems to be free of those African snails, I have a lurking fear that they are hiding somewhere. I come across a young one sometimes inside a bromeliad's 'vase', and I promptly kill it. Your oranges might have been attacked by these monsters after all, because they used to eat my guavas. Strong detegent solution kills those snails if you dunk them in it.All the best for your war against these pests!

  2. Hi Helen, i have not been here for a while, but i will review the posts i've missed. Those terrestrial snails are really bad, those are also my enemies when i had a garden plot as experiment in college. It's good i dont see them in our place in the province. Ducks allowed to roam in the property will surely eat them and their descendants. That can be a biological control instead of pesticides/molluscicides. I didn't know that those Thunbergia gigantea/alata have seeds, havent seen them. Do you know if they are easy to propagate as cuttings? I'm asking it because i saw a vigorously growing blue variety from a fence, and i am sure a few cuttings will be okay with the owners.


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