Thursday, July 25, 2013

Imperial moth, so fuzzy!

Sitting on some catnip is is Eacles imperialis, the Imperial moth.

This moth ranges from Mexico to Canada, from the Rockies to the Atlantic. Their range is declining northward. It has two color forms, a black/orange color and a green/yellow form. The caterpillars eat oak, maple, and pine foliage. In the south they also eat sweetgum and sassafras.

Adults emerge annually to mate, about June through August. The adults do not feed. Males show larger patches of purple, and the females are generally larger and yellower.

Master Naturalist training photos, and not much text.

Glenn Pollock. Grasslands and prairie guru! Woot! Woot!

Rosinweed. Silphium integrifolium. One of the lovely silphiums!

Sumac blooming in the prairie at Spring Creek Prairie.

A dragonfly Sue and I caught in a sweep net. We were able to release him, I didn't know if we harmed him at all.
We created a "groundwater" experiment and introduced the green "contaminants." The tube at the right is a "well," which we "drilled" with a syringe.

This is the driveway into Spring Creek Prairie; I knew I was in the right place. COMPASS PLANT!
One of the many creative activities we did was making wild animal "poop." We went through why different animals poop certain ways, and what's in their poop, and we had (mostly cereal) ingredients to make the appropriate texture.

Dennis showed us his turtle trap.
The proper way to handle a turtle, holding the shell at 4:30 and 7:30
Beautiful yellow-bellied snake. No idea what its name was.

Bull snake, rather active, but calmed down after a few minutes of struggling.
Very nice (and large!) dragonfly mural.

Friday, July 12, 2013

This is my Evil Queen, Bunny-Killer Extraordinaire, and Dog Bullier. She's sleeping off a belly full of bunny. She brings me young bunnies, sometimes still alive, and when she has killed them, they are frozen and shipped off to the picky eaters at Fontenelle Forest Raptor Recovery. ... Of course sometimes all that's left is some guts, part of the head and a couple of legs.

I didn't know that calico cats have a reputation for having big attitudes. Sounds very similar to the folklore about redheads. But it's correct in this case.

Tansy, bee balm and more!

Last year there were a few dark flowers, and genetics have decided that this year there were more. Don't know where the dark genes came from, I started out with all pale purple like lower right.

I like how the purple coneflower pops up in the middle!
Ahhh, my purple coneflowers are blooming. Love them.
Not the clearest picture, but this is tansy when it's blooming. Some people actually cut off the flowers because they like the foliage.

The wild roses, still in bloom, get a lot of customers!
Ceanothus americanus in full bloom. It's about 4 and a half feet tall.
Yarrow lying down in the grass.
Goatsbeard globe of seed/parachutes. I see these all the time, singly floating across the yard, and I think they are wasps or something. But they're very leisurely.
Lead plant in full bloom! Yeah!
More purple coneflower!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tansy and Bee balm coming up!

TANSY: The stem is erect and leafy, about 2 to 3 feet high, grooved and angular. The leaves are alternate, much cut into, 2 to 6 inches long and about 4 inches wide. The plant is conspicuous in August and September by its heads of round, flat, dull yellow flowers, growing in clusters, which earn it the name of 'Buttons.' It has a very curious, and not altogether disagreeable odour, somewhat like camphor.

BEE BALM: This species has showy, scarlet flowers in large heads or whorls at the top of the stem, supported by leafy bracts, the leaflets of which are of a pale-green colour tinged with red. Its square, grooved and hard stems rise about 2 feet high, and the leaves which it bears in pairs are rather rough on both surfaces. The whole plant is strongly impregnated with a delightful fragrance; it is known in America as 'Oswego Tea,' because an infusion of its young leaves used to form a common beverage in many parts of the United States. It is also sometimes called 'Bee Balm,' as bees are fond of its blossoms, which secrete much nectar.It is readily propagated by its creeping roots and by slips or cuttings.

Yes, I am teasing you. Instead of taking a photo of these plants, and because the light is pretty bad this late, I'm going to eat an avocado. Nite nite!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Things that happen while you're not looking

This is a purple coneflower. I'm so happy to see them bloom each year. I have different ages of plants this year, so I'm always anxious to see recent transplants happy enough to bloom!
 I may end up boring you with mullein, LOL
My yarrow is lying down, I don't know why. It's amongst a lot of grass, so that could be part of it.
Wild rose, a bit eaten by grasshoppers et. al. Once you [successfully] plant a wild rose, you'll have more spring up! Love to see these guys & smell them! They, and yarrow, make decent bouquet flowers.
The St. John's wort likes it by the driveway. It's like pineapple weed that way, it prefers hard, compacted soils. Well, someone has to live there, right?
I transplanted two of these plants in May (when it started to get warm here), not really knowing what it was, and they were about 2 inches tall. But they looked like flowers. I put it over near the mullein. Don't ask me how I thought I knew that, in fact I was clueless, but I tried it anyway.

But now it's nearly as tall as the mullein, both are 41/2 feet tall! So glad I didn't hoe them into oblivion.
The petals remind me of toothbrushes, So Straight! LOL. And a backdrop of big old milkweed leaves! My milkweed are EVERYwhere!
Pineapple weed! So rough, so tough, so resilient. There is a lot of this in the driveway, and I mow it. Up in front of where I park, though, I'm able to NOT mow it and I need to harvest some pretty soon! You can see it's growing here in the same place that prostrate knotweed likes.
My lovely catnip, that pops up everywhere.

You've heard the Jeff Foxworthy tip on how to tell if you're a redneck: You know you're a redneck if you've ever found a vehicle when you mow. Well, one year I had a hedge of 6-ft tall catnip, hiding a pickup we were holding for a friend. I must say, it was better-looking than the truck, so hey ...

Communities come from gardens. My co-worker gave me a big bunch of kale, and this little omelet has her kale in it. I have given her purple poppy mallow and lemon balm (which ran wild on her, sorry!), and we share garden produce. I know one of these days I'm going to find some zucchini in my truck if I don't keep it locked! LOL
This beauty is made from some fabulous brushed cotton, just feels wonderful when you touch it. It's a 25-yard skirt [the bottom hem is 25 yards], of which I now have ... seven skirts? Well, anyway, I have a few. They are perfect for tribal belly dance performances. I added the black border. I'm very happy with how it turned out.

BTW, 25 yards is 900 inches, which is a long, long distance. ... Hahahaha, yes, this is not gardening. I don't think I promised to stay on-topic!

This is not a great picture, but this is my Ceanothus americanus, or New Jersey tea, or Red Root, or Indian tea. As I don't know what folks call it around here, I usually call it "ceanothus," which elicits a blank look and a "what??" Sigh. then the paragraph-long explanation of why I don't know what to call it.

It's native to this county, so I grow it.
Okay, I love day lilies. Totally introduced.

And there's the ubiquitous prickly lettuce, which I do not love, but somewhat admire. I have a bumper crop of the lettuce ... sigh.
I kill for this plant. It's Culver's root, another prairie native. Last year I didn't get to even see it bloom because of a garden thug I had with the filthy name of forsythia. So my plan is this. I whacked the forsythia back severely last summer, and this year, as green stuff comes on it, I pull it off. We'll see.

I can't poison it, because then I'd probably kill the Culver's Root. But defoliation can work. Sometimes. Maybe.

This is blanket flower or Gallardia. Its perennial. It is not getting too tall, and doesn't get seen much. But it's pretty. This genus is indigenous to North and South America, but I don't know if it's native here in my county.

This is my guardian of the garden, known by many names, including "bunny killer." Here she is, resting up on a day she brought me two bunnies. Who knows how many she killed (Hee!)