Ladybirds are among the most valuable of beneficial insects we find in our garden. They are not only easy to recognise, but rather nice to look at. They eat enormous quantities of greenfly as well. Alas if you are using chemicals to control the more intransigent pests such as mealy bug and scale,  you are likely to cause the death of many beneficial insects, including the ladybird. If you can therefore please try and rub off, or cut off and burn parts of your plants which are infected with the worst pests in order to save those insects we want to keep.

Now about sowing seed in pots or boxes. Sieves are considered almost an essential of the gardener’s tools in Europe because they enable you to sift compost so that the seeds you sow land on a fine surface and are then covered with a fine surface of compost. Using a sieve removes stones and lumpy soil from the compost. They come with different mesh sizes. The most useful are those sieves with a three-eighths size mesh (for sieving potting compost) and with an eighth-inch mesh (for sieving seed compost). Get your garden sundries supplier to get them in stock.

Finally a word about Phalaenopsis. Shortly after setting foot in a country for a short visit which was to become my home for over twenty years (to date) I was told by an acquaintance that Phalaenopsis did not “do” in Guyana. Or at least on the coast. I didn’t believe it then and have had my original view confirmed time and again. They will grow extremely well, and what is more not only for me but for my sister-in-law, who is now a bit of an expert (although she would be the first to disclaim such an accolade). They will not tolerate direct sun and prefer to get about half natural light. They do appreciate occasional ‘orchid fertilizer,’ and should receive only rainwater. They grow extremely well in a medium of wallaba chips and in a wooden box if you want flexibility in moving them. Otherwise they will grow well when attached to a tree which gives them shade. More of this later. Until then may your God go with you.