Wildlife in the mediterranean garden

  • 42 Replies
  • 17028 Views
*

John J

  • Hero Member
Re: Wildlife in the mediterranean garden
« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2016, 12:31:06 PM »
I thought the group I posted earlier were big but this solitary guy seen in the managed landscape of a housing development in the Paphos District is probably bigger.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

*

MikeHardman

  • Hero Member
    • www.mikehardman.com
Re: Wildlife in the mediterranean garden
« Reply #31 on: May 27, 2016, 09:12:24 PM »
Yes - she's a biggie - mammoth wasp, Megascolia maculata flavifrons.
I saw one on the Akamas, 12mar14.

Like the tarantula killer wasps, mammoth wasps are parasitic upon a suitably chunky prey, in this case European rhinoceros beetle larvae.

Mike
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

*

Fleur Pavlidis

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
Re: Wildlife in the mediterranean garden
« Reply #32 on: May 28, 2016, 03:51:23 PM »
A tortoise safety warning. I have a little triangular lily pond on the edge of my paved terrace and after having to save a drowning hedgehog from it in the early days I surrounded the front edge with large stones and arranged pots along the other two, raised edges which back onto flower beds. Nevertheless a large thirsty tortoise managed to barge his way up and through the pots at the back and presumably toppled in as he was drinking. Purely by chance I happened by, saw him under water but with tiny bubbles coming from his mouth. I pulled him out and put him down in the sun and he slowly staggered off much to my relief. I’ve now resorted to a bigger barricade. My warning is that tortoises don’t know their own limitations and get into all sorts of trouble – rather like hedgehogs in fact. I few weeks back I found one upside down on one of my wide terrace steps. I assume he’d been tempted up by a tasty looking succulent in a pot and just as it was within his grasp did a backward flip and lay there stuck until I rescued him.
MGS member, Greece. I garden in Attica, Greece and Mt Goulinas (450m) Central Greece

*

MikeHardman

  • Hero Member
    • www.mikehardman.com
Re: Wildlife in the mediterranean garden
« Reply #33 on: May 29, 2016, 08:28:40 AM »
Fleur,

Nice story, happy endings 'n all.
In addition to your defences, you could erect little warning signs in tortoisese :)
The tortoises might not actually heed the warning, but your visitors might be amused :)

Mike
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

Caroline

  • Full Member
Re: Wildlife in the mediterranean garden
« Reply #34 on: May 29, 2016, 08:50:53 AM »
Mouth to mouth on a tortoise might be a bit much!  :o
I am establishing a garden on Waiheke Island, 35 minutes out of Auckland. The site is windy, the clay soil dries out quickly in summer and is like plasticine in winter, but it is still very rewarding. Water is an issue, as we depend on tanks. I'm looking forward to sharing ideas. Caroline

Vole-proof plants?
« Reply #35 on: July 26, 2016, 12:56:28 PM »
It's that time of year: longer mild evenings mean sitting outside later.  It also means watching as a vole (albeit very cute) boldly eats your plants in front of your very eyes.  So I thought I would post some ideas, and see if others can make other recommendations.  Two of our beds are particularly affected by voles, and it has been interesting seeing which plants survive and which plants don't.  My observations would indicate that the plants that survive include (a) ones that voles don't like, such as most Cistus and (b) ones that spread underground, such as Teucrium fruticans and Vinca, as the loss of some of the roots is often not terminal for the plant.  Plants that seem to be vole favourites include Helichrysum italicum, Rosa canina (we watched a vole take it down leaf by leaf, and in the end there was not a single root, leaf or stem left) and Phlomis fruticosa (although in fact a large one that was entirely eaten off at the base did re-grow when clipped and shoved in a pot, still going strong now in a less vole-populated part of the garden).  If anyone else knows of plants that voles tend to avoid, or has suggestions of Mediterranean plants which spread underground, then it would be much appreciated as part of the planning for September plantings.

(Not so) Mammoth Wasp
« Reply #36 on: July 26, 2016, 01:01:14 PM »
Hi Mike. We have had two Mammoth Wasps in the garden this year (previously we had only noticed a single one).  In the last week we now have a wasp that has exactly the same markings, but is about 1/3 of the size.  Would this be a young Mammoth Wasp, or do they emerge the same size as the adult?  If it's not a Mammoth Wasp, do you know what species it might be?  Thanks, Melissa

*

MikeHardman

  • Hero Member
    • www.mikehardman.com
Re: Wildlife in the mediterranean garden
« Reply #37 on: July 27, 2016, 08:38:55 AM »
Melissa,

Wasps, bees, etc. emerge full-grown. But they can be smaller than normal (or deformed) if they have had a tough diet as a larva; that's unusual, though. I'll have a think about your 1/3-size one.

Voles, etc.
Spreading underground: Well, Cupressus trees roots are about the most aggressive root spreaders I have come across. I once dug up a small cube of border soil (where I was having great difficulty getting anything to grow). The surface of the soil looked normal, but as soon as I hosed the soil, I began to reveal the mesh of roots. By the time I had finished hosing, I was left with something like a birds's nest or Shredded Wheat! Bermuda grass is also extremely good at spreading underground. You probably want something that spreads but gives other plants a chance. Mentha? Perhaps not sufficiently garden-worthy. I wonder if others that spread and root on/near the surface may stand a chance, eg. Rodondo creeper, Lippia nodiflora, Tecoma (Tecomaria) capensis, Viola odorata. And consider the stoloniferous form of Ranunculus asiaticus, as discussed here already.
I have been trying to think of plants that may not only be unpalatable to voles, but which may also deter/repel them. My mind goes to camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora), but (although I have seen some healthy specimens in Cyprus), that is too agressive, and the vapours inhibit plants as well.

There is plenty of advice/info online, eg.
- "Narcissi (daffodils) are poisonous to voles, and they will not eat them. By planting them throughout the planting beds, the garden becomes less attractive to voles."
"Rosemary deters voles. I once planted a few tulip bulbs around a rosemary plant. The voles ate all the bulbs in the garden bed except the ones near the rosemary plant."
[http://thesagebutterfly.blogspot.com.cy/2012/03/vole-in-garden-control-methods.html]
- Crown imperial repels voles
[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pest-repelling_plants]

Mike
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

Joanna Savage

  • Sr. Member
Re: Wildlife in the mediterranean garden
« Reply #38 on: July 28, 2016, 05:59:14 AM »
Mammoth Wasp. as an aside to the above topic, I enjoy the sound of the wasps's common name in Toscana, 'bofonchio'. It sounds suitably clunky and blundering and derives from 'bofonchiare' to moan, mutter or stammer. But who is doing the moaning, the wasp or the object of its attention?

Re: Wildlife in the mediterranean garden
« Reply #39 on: July 28, 2016, 08:25:39 AM »
Thanks Mike.  The bed is under a deciduous oak, so I think that trying Viola may be a good idea, as well as some Narcissus. On bulbs, I can say that nothing likes the (clearly strong) taste of Tulbaghia bulbs, neither the voles nor the porcupines.

Re: Wildlife in the mediterranean garden
« Reply #40 on: July 31, 2016, 09:14:10 AM »
Hi Mike.  We've been watching out for that smaller wasp.  Is it possibly a small male?  He has a black head, not the yellow of the female, so I think this may explain the size difference, though it's very marked in this case.  A few years ago a privet tree in the garden died, and as we slowly cut it back we left just under 1m of stump at ground level in the garden bed.  This is where the Mammoth Wasps are always seen, and I guess they're looking for rhinocerous beetle larvae in the stump to lay their eggs on.  Melissa

*

MikeHardman

  • Hero Member
    • www.mikehardman.com
Re: Wildlife in the mediterranean garden
« Reply #41 on: August 07, 2016, 09:58:18 AM »
Melissa,
male - yes - sounds right
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

Re: Wildlife in the mediterranean garden
« Reply #42 on: September 05, 2016, 12:48:02 PM »
I am wondering whether any one knows whether porcupines (or others, like voles) eat Asphodelus fistulosus.  I have just bought some, and I am trying to decide whether to put them in the ground or keep it in a pot?