A couple of years ago I bought a whole bunch of pansies and violas to bring some colour to my winter garden, and within a matter of weeks, they had been eaten up by some sort of pest. So I had two problems: no more pansies and violas, and I didn’t know who the culprit pest was.
The following year I decided to give the pansies and violas another go, but this time I was determined to prevent them from being eaten. I asked a professional gardener what sort of pest would be eating my flowers in autumn, and he suggested that it would most likely be snails. I then bought some snail bait (the good, environmentally friendly stuff. I also have a dog and didn’t want to hurt him in case he went snooping around and eating the bait), and I was so pleased to see that my pansies and violas not only survived, but thrived!
This year my pansies started getting chomped on again, so the snail bait came out and there has been an improvement – and lots of snail carcasses. But hey, they’ll make good fertiliser.
In the summer the main pest I battle is aphids. I have discovered that one of the main signs of the presence of aphids is ants. Apparently ants find aphids quite delicious, and so where there are aphids, there will be ants. Before I realised this, I spent a lot of time trying to get rid of the ants but to no avail. Once I realised that the ants were merely a sign that there were aphids, I found two very helpful aphid-killers which led to my garden being aphid and ant-free:
Detergent: Use a mixture of water and a small amount of dishwashing liquid. Spray the mixture over the leaves of your affected plant.
Neem Oil: You can buy neem oil at gardening or hardware stores. Follow the directions to spray it over the leaves of the affected plant.
The trick is to concentrate your spraying on the underside of the leaves as that is where aphids like to hang out.