It’s unusually peaceful under the mango tree. The Mango War, which generally erupts around this time of the year has been called off due to a shortage of fruit.
The season started promisingly. After good Spring rains the tree produced loads of flowers, but they disappeared almost overnight due to who knows what. Perhaps to lack of follow up rain, or wind, or fungus or even Mango Beetles. Which, by the way, I thought were beneficial insects until I finally identified them!
My superior camera skills enabled me to capture the entire mango crop in one frame.
This year, protecting the crop was easy, instead of netting I used a zippered lingerie bag.
There was just enough fruit to freeze one container of pulp and to make a delicious Green Mango salad. And that was it – mango season over !
Now I am pinning all my hopes on the Kwai Muk, which is related to Jackfruit and Breadfruit. It has a lovely sweet-tangy taste with a hint of sherbet. The tree is fruiting for the first time and there aren’t many fruits, so I’m hoping that the Bower Birds haven’t noticed them. Hope is important after all …
I’m waiting (somewhat impatiently) for my native stingless beehive to arrive from Queensland – we need a week of cool weather so we can safely pop them in a truck and send them down. In the meantime, I’m on the lookout for other bee species in the garden.
It’s been a few weeks since I checked The Bee Motel, which I made with renovating rubbish about a year ago. The smaller holes were occupied quite quickly, I suspect by wasps, but the larger ones remained vacant.
That is, until now. This time I noticed some freshly capped holes …
Then I spotted what I have tentatively identified as several native Megachile Resin Bees coming and going, sealing off the chambers with mouthfuls of chewed up leaves. One bee appeared to be trying to drag a competitor from an adjoining hole, but she dug her heels in, (do bees have heels?) and refused to budge.
Now I’m trying to find out what species of Megachile they are, and when I can expect them to emerge so I can be there for the birth. OMG the things I do !!
Interesting bee fact: a bee of the same genus, the Megachile pluto, is believed to be the largest bee in the world at 39mm in length. Read the interesting story of its discovery on the Aussie Bee site.
Now, I have to admit that the Costa Rican Butterfly Vine was one of my most optimistic-masochistic purchases. It was an impulse buy, I actually bought it for its attractive leaves, and I really didn’t expect it to survive its first winter. But amazingly it did. So I was quite pleased when the first flower appeared …
Then more flowers appeared, what a bonus I thought …
Then I zoomed in on the actual flower hiding behind the purple bracts …
Oh My God, it looks like something someone on an acid-trip would dream up …
Apparently the yellow ball is a resin gland which is attractive to bees, who use it to build their hives. This is another bonus as I am expecting my native bee hive to arrive any day now and I’m hoping that Aussie bees like Costa Rican resin!
There’s a battle going on in the garden… It’s between the fruit bats, rats, bower birds and me. And no prizes for guessing who loses and gets the leftovers!
This year has been particularly good for mangoes. Spring was quite dry so there was no problem with fungus and due to an un-discovered leak in my main water pipe, the tree was provided with a generous (and expensive) underground water supply.
You’d think that my chances of scoring a few mangoes would be pretty high … but so far the score is: me just three – wildlife probably fifty.
So I’ve netted a small section, and I patrol daily. But somehow they beat me every time, invariably taking the one mango that I had decided would be ready to pick TOMORROW, they eat them unripe, and they even eat them through the netting.
I don’t mind sharing with the wildlife, but when I hear the bats squabbling enthusiastically over my mangoes as I lie in bed at night I get a bit cranky!