About my garden

Monday, 14 July 2014

Flies, ants and Zaluzianskya

The good news is the flies seem much reduced in my black bin. I put in a layer of paper and some grass clippings and then stopped adding loose kitchen waste. I wrapped it in paper first whenever I added it. This is supposed to prevent the flies from laying eggs in the fruit. 
This was a few weeks ago and it is much better. I have kept the lid on too. 
Yesterday I dug out a bucket of compost from the other black bin. It looks quite well rotted down and I was going to sieve some of it out. As usual lots of egg shells are left.
Exciting photo of the inside of a compost bin.

Then I discovered it was full of flying ants. I was reluctant to sieve as you can imagine. They are black not red ants but I don't want to risk being bitten. 

I don't think you can see the ants but I have disturbed them several times and I'm sure you know what they look like so I'm going to stop trying to take photos! Trust me they are in there.
I think the heap is quite dry. The weather has been hot and the lid was on so they are probably thriving in those conditions. 
I pondered various options. There are plenty of solutions on the internet for getting rid of ants including some rather strange ones. (Feeding them semolina which they give to the queen and she explodes!) I thought I might just spread the compost straight on a bed.
But in the spirit of Live and Let Live, I'm going to leave them alone. 
I don't have much bare soil for spreading compost at the moment though I do like to add a little when I take out one crop and plant another immediately. If I need some I'll dig it out and the ants will have to take their chances. Until then I'll just leave them and hope they move on somewhere else soon. Hopefully that hot day when they all fly off in imminent, unless they all flew into my bin!
The good news is that ants turn the compost into a lovely, loose crumbly mix basically doing all the hard work. 
I might consider keeping a bit wetter in future though.  
So while I was out trying to take pictures of ants I found these flowering:

Zaluzianskya capensis (yes I did look it up) or Night scented Phlox. They are the most beautiful little flowers. About the size of a penny. The undersides are a gorgeous reddish purple and the tops pure white. They curl up in the day to make tiny little purple balls. The petals curl in on themselves. I'll try and take a photo in the daytime.
The most amazing thing is the powerful scent which is just like Parma Violets. I have three stems here next to me on the table and they are filling the room with scent. I'm so glad I managed to grow them, I've tried before without much success. I don't think they are hard, I just neglected them. They are annuals so easy if you take a little care. 
PS Just lovely!

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