Underwhelmed

greenfly

My dear mama always says of me “you do one job and make half a dozen others”.   You might think this a little harsh, but it is generally true.

Last week I noticed an uninvited colony of greenfly on one of our roses.  You may think this means that we have many specimens, we have two.  Fifty per cent aphid rate.  I halfheartedly squished a few, but realising the extent of the infestation, and having a gap in my oh so busy itinerary, I decided to make a garlic spray to zap the little blighters.  So I crushed some cloves in a Kilner jar, poured over boiling water and set it aside to seep.

After a pint of piña colada and a snooze in the hammock I returned to examine my alchemy.  How bizarre, it seems to have turned blue!  Well that is a turn up for the books.

Just as any Totally Modern Minnie would do, I checked out this strange phenomenon in the well thumbed pages of the Encyclopedia Google.   And what did I discover?  The sulphur in the garlic reacts with copper in the water, creating a greenish blue hue.  Wonderful, except …… do we really want copper in our drinking water?

So I messaged our water company and spoke to a very nice Water Quality Scientist called Adam. His customer relation skills were outstanding.  His powers of humouring exemplary.  No giggling when I told him about the aphids, no chortling at the garlic solution, no guffawing when I mentioned “blue”.  I thought it best to keep the piña colada to myself.   He admitted it was the first time he had had a call like this, but said that on occasion people call to tell of water running blue from the taps.  I felt like a lightweight.  Apparently copper can be present in relatively large quantities in our domestic supplies without ill effect.   My mind was set to rest.

As a reward for his kindness, I left him with a top tip, telling him how to treat his greenfly problem if ever he should get one.  He did his best, but still managed to sound distinctly underwhelmed.  It was all I had to give.

 

11 thoughts on “Underwhelmed

  1. This is a Devonian gift! I shall begin crushing some garlic cloves immediately. Those I don’t use in my spaghetti sauce I will dump some water on and we will see if it actually works to deflect the invaders. Thank you Gill. Are you absolutely sure the pina colada didn’t help?

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  2. We’ve been trialing garlic powder in the pots of the Candelabra Primula, hopefully to keep the vine weevils at bay….. it seems to be working so far. How did your blue mix get on with the aphids?

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  3. Ah, the trials and tribulations of the gardener! It really is a form of self-torture at times. I’ve burned a few dandelion seed heads this week. As I suspected, it’s a cruel sort of pleasure. Terribly wasteful, of course – burning fossil fuel for cheap thrills.

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