Throughout the various lush gardens that we've photographed, I've enjoyed the little ecosystems that spring up, with busy bees, colorful geckos (lizards) and a Jackson chameleon now and then, plus chirping birds and flitting butterflies.
Sadly, my little group of plants seem to attract none of these beneficial visitors. Instead, I was mortified to find hundreds of ants swarming and zipping through trails, undeterred by the second floor heights. Being hesitant to spray insecticide, I laid down sticky liquid ant killer, only to end up inadvertently smearing the syrup on my own hands or arms when moving around the pots over the next few days.
After listening to the options offered by green thumbers, I finally chose the drowning route. Having no garden utensils like pails, I filled an eight inch disposable plastic dome (that came on top of a store brought cake) with water and immersed each pot long enough to fulfill my role as an ant mass murderer. Time will tell whether I need to keep this up every several days, or whether my reputation will grow among the ant population to the point that they will give up and stay away.
Then came the white-fly. So far, there have only been a few clumps of white cottony residue on otherwise robust plant leaves, so I've been able to scrape and wash the infestation away. More tips come in, such as applying rubbing alcohol to the area, or spraying with a water plus dish-washing soap solution. Note to self--pick up rubbing alcohol, I take it that no substitutions are allowed, like vodka? These supplies are beginning to cost more than the plants!