Creepy crawlies are bad enough, lurking under stones and foliage, spinning their webs and spreading their slime, running over my hands and up my trouser legs. Then there’s poo. Poo dropped by ungrateful birds after gorging themselves on our berries, poo buried by our cat, who seems to think it’s funny when I find it with my dibber and unidentified poo from creatures that seem to have very healthy movements, if you get my drift.
But what grosses me out more than any creepy crawly or poo, or even creepy crawly poo when I’m gardening are blebs and pustules on plants. They’re like something out of the X Files, but with no hope of Mulder and Scully coming to neutralise them.
I first noticed the orange spots on our espaliered pear tree earlier in the season formerly known as summer. The tree didn’t seem too upset about it and I was far too busy pulling up weeds and avoiding the creepy crawlies to do anything about it.
While the apple tree groaned under the weight of apples, the pear tree just produced orange spots, lots of them. Still, I’m quite fond of orange so just carried on with the weedathon until I spotted what was under the spots. They were blebs and pustules, hundreds of them, sticking out of the leaves, one of the grossest things I’ve ever seen and that includes the contents of the cat’s stomach after he’s gorged himself on mouse, bird, fur and tomato skins. I threw down my trowel and legged it into the house, consulting the Interweb which quickly diagnosed the problem. Pear rust, a fungus that hangs around in juniper bushes, where it changes its name to juniper rust. Same rust, though. It’s not fatal, but the leaves have to be collected and burned, and then you just hope it goes back to the junipers from where it came.
As Noel’s the one with the gardening gene, I’m thinking he should be the one to sort out the leaf collecting. After all, he doesn’t get grossed out about anything. Well, hardly anything.