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Jul 29, 2015

Those of you who listen regularly to my podcast will know that I am a gardener. However, you might not know that gardening can be a challenge. This year I have come to realise(1) that I need to learn more about bugs because they can make the garden a success or a failure. Some of my most prized(2) vegetables and flowers get infested at times, and I am left scratching my head, wondering(3) what to do. Bugs are everywhere, and they all serve a purpose, but if I choose to have certain plants in my garden, I must understand what their strengths and weaknesses(4) are, and which bugs either attack them or help them. So, what do you do if you need about 3000 beneficial(5) bugs? Well, you order them online. And that's just what I did about a week ago. Before I knew it, the box arrived on my doorstep. It was a strange experience opening a package, and finding a bag full of bugs inside. I had to follow some instructions before putting them in the garden: wait until it was dark, mist the infected plants with water, gently release the ladybirds. It was fascinating to see the colony slowly leave the bag and start to crawl in all different directions. Success! I felt good about using some of Nature's medicine to keep the garden healthy. The next morning, I went outside early to see what had happened to my new friends. Some of them were still where I had left them, but the rest had disappeared. They must have crawled off to explore, and search for food, or a perfect spot to hide. I hope that they will establish a new home here, go to war on the bad bugs in my garden, and decide to stay.

1. 'To come to realise' means that over time, a person has formed a conclusion or opinion, based on experience.

a. After working all summer in the orchard, I came to realise that it is one of the hardest jobs around!

b. After being overcharged by mechanics for years, I came to realise that I should learn how to fix my own car.

2. 'My most prized + noun'. It's just like saying 'something that I really value.'

a. Out of my stamp collection, this old one from Germany is my prized possession.

b. Our new puppy carries a certain bone everywhere; it's his prized possession.

3. 'To be left scratching one's head, wondering' this phrase gives a visual of a person scratching her head. This action is supposed to represent someone wondering, or trying to figure something out. It is figurative most of the time.

a. When the train was canceled, we were left scratching our heads, wondering how on earth we would get to the airport on time.

b. The cat jumps on the dog's back, and then shoots up the tree, leaving the dog wondering what happened.

4. 'Strengths and weaknesses' are often used in the same sentence.

a. The student survey asked about our strengths and weaknesses.

b. The book definitely had more strengths than weaknesses.

5. 'Beneficial' is often used when talking about nutrition, insects, and bacteria.

a. Fish oil is beneficial for the brain; it improves its function.


b. Bacteria can be good and bad for us. We even have beneficial bacteria in our intestines.

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