Prickly Pear

The first plants of prickly pear were brought into Australia to start a cochineal dye industry. At that time, Spain had a world-wide monopoly on the important cochineal dye industry and the British Government was keen to set up its own source of supply within its dominion. The dye was derived from cochineal insects which […]

Organic Fungicides

As the temperature and humidity rises here on the Coffs Coast foliage diseases start to appear. The trick is to try and catch them before they take hold and set your plants back on their heels! Get into the habit of walking around every few days to remove anything that looks a bit dodgy, spotty […]

Christmas Beetle

Christmas Beetle Anoplognathus spp.December in our part of the world seems synonymous with the appearance of the Christmas beetle. They seem to clumsily blunder around external house lights and are a constant source of fascination for many children. Their navigational system is somewhat put off kilter by artificial light and this is why they are found […]

Is it a Weed?

After filling a bucket with this ‘stuff’ I sit down with a lovely cuppa to catch up on social media and what do I see? Apparently, Purslane (or Portulaca oleracea) is NOT a weed! This ground hugging, fleshy plant with yellow flowers originated from Persia and India and has done an excellent job of spreading throughout the […]


Top: A green frog looking very settled in a bromeliad. Frogs are good critters as they eat slugs and other plant pests. If you have frogs in your garden, well pat yourself on the back as you’ve achieved the tick of approval by one of nature’s toughest judges – frogs. When frogs take up residence […]

Fungus Gnat

Fungus gnats are those really annoying little flies that are commonly found in groups just hanging around our indoor plants and bags of potting mix. They are either black or dark grey and about 3mm long and just thrive in moist potting mix or soil. These critters are not benign – they can transmit diseases […]

Cutting Flowers for a Vase

Flowers can say it all – ‘Get Well’, ‘Thank you’, ‘I’m sorry’, ‘Thinking of you’ etc etc these sentiments are expressed eloquently just by extending a blooming bundle of flowers. In this post there will be mention of cutting, preparation, storing and day-to-day care of cut flowers. If we grow these flowers it is a […]


This summer seems to be shaping up to be ‘the season of the Cicada’ as their presence is being heard more stridently this year than most other years – or at least here on the Coffs Coast. Australia has a huge reputation for cicadas with a predicted 700-1000 species. This figure far outstrips South Africa […]

Dindymus versicolor – Harlequin Bug

CHGC member Sue came to an outing armed with images of this rather pretty critter and wanted to know what it was. It’s a bad guy, commonly known as Harlequin Bug, Dindymus versicolor and can really wreck havoc on succulent new growth – in Sue’s case, her broadbeans.  Sometimes these insects are known as Pull me/Push you […]