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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Rosemary Tragedy

I have soil mealies in my rosemary. They're white and oval shaped... about the size of a full stop. They crawl about inside the soil, attach themselves to plant roots, sink in their sharp fangs and feed feed feed... They slurp and they suck and they swallow and when they are satiated, they have a lot a lot of sex and make a lot a lot of babies. Then, their babies also slurp and suck and swallow and have a lot of sex and make a lot of babies. They are disgusting creatures.

Worse than lice in a whorehouse.

To have them in a pot is to hear the sound of a death knell for the plant. So many times I have watched helplessly as a plant goes from green with big leaves to yellow with small leaves and finally, no leaves at all. Just dry twigs.

Oh why did this have to happen to my rosemary? They are such beautiful plants and I had plans to grow old with them. I imagined myself at 70 years, pottering amongst my pots of rosemary and proudly declaring to all my grandchildren "These plants are 40 years old". I imagined my rosemary plants with gnarly bark and knotted branches sitting there and sharing stories with me over a cuppa of worm tea.

With such a grand vision of the future in my head, I have resolved that I will not lose this war. I know I have sat by the death bed of many past plants holding their hand as they slip into unconsciousness, unable to withstand the inexorable suck-suck-sucking of the soil mealies. This time though, I will not lose. I intend to grow old with my rosemary.

So, I waged my first battle today. I took very hot bath water. Hot enough to hurt the skin but not hot enough to scald the skin. I mixed in liberal squirts of dishwash and then I submerged the whole pot of rosemary soil. With evil satisfaction, I watched as the soil mealies wriggled in agony and then died and went to hell. I think that if I repeat this treatment often enough, I will get them good.

Oh... I do so hope!


Blur Ting said...

It's a very touching story. Ms Green Fingers here is rooting for you and your rosemary. Jia Yu!

Leah said...

This is a beautiful pot of rosemary. Sorry to hear about the attack of the mealies. I hope you get them all killed!

petunialee said...

Thanks Ting and Leah, for the support. It really is quite miserable to have a sickly rosemary.

WuXin said...

dunk it into the petunia's brew and see if it works!

petunialee said...

Ah yes! Why didn't I think of that! Petunia's Brew should work... I think... Mwahahahahahaha!

Cianoy said...

Hi there! What eventually happened to your rosemary? You know, your description kinda fits what happened to some of my basil plants and recently my lavender. Maybe I should try that hot water treatment too.

Fickle_Flower said...

Hi Pertunia,

I always smile when I read your blogs! Highly entertaining, and a great stress-reliever, esp when I'm currently a stressed up newbie gardener trying to keep my herbs healthy.

When you gave your rosemary a hot water bath, did you mean dunking the entire pot (with soil) inside the hot water? Will the rosemary survive afterwards? Coz I thought rosemary hates to be wet? The soil will be dripping afterwards, and will the roots survive the hot water?

Can I do that to my herbs that are infested with ants?

petunialee said...

Hi Fickle Flower - Thanks for reading my blog!! If your water is about 45-50 Deg Celsius, the roots should survive. Don't use boiling hot water. If your soil is well draining, the rosemary should be fine. It can take 2 to 3 hours of wet roots provided it has a whole afternoon (with hot sun) to dry out before nightfall. Rosemary hates wet feet at night. In the day, the roots are still taking up water so not so bad.

To get rid of ants in my pots, I use Bushells instant coffee powder. The caffeine is poisonous to the ant babies and overnight, you will find the ants moving house from one pot to another. The trick then is to place the pot in a container that is placed within a basin of water and damp newspapers etc... This encourages the ants to move into the newspapers.The basin of water prevents the ants from moving house into another pot.

Good luck!