Thursday, September 27, 2007

Not in my garden...Kim, the Blackswamp Girl had a post about things you won't see in her garden, and now I want to play! This first image represents three things you will never see in my garden: Dutch children (kissing or not), a windmill, and a "bed" flower bed! Now, the great thing about gardening in general is that you can do whatever you want, and this gal's flowers are quite lovely all year...I just don't like these particular decorations. Statues of children creep me out, and I prefer farm-type windmills as decorations. As for the "bed"....I'm not sure why it bugs me, much as I like puns and all. The other thing you won't see in my garden is a perfectly mown and manicured lawn. Not that I have anything against grass, but I refuse to listen to some obnoxious mower on my days off, and I'm not interested in maintaining the machine itself. But I have too large a lot not to have some lawn, so here's the grass I want: sedge! In fact, I have one growing here already that's marching toward lawn dominance, all I have to do is help. Look how cute it is! And these adorable seed fact, they appeared twice this year! Drought response, maybe?
As you can see here, the sedge is the light green stuff...growing to about 6" in height and gracefully arching over. Now, it may not form a hard-core, impenetrable turf...but weeds aren't all that plentiful. Which brings me to my last NIMG...pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
Aside from pony/horse manure, the only other fertilizers I'll use are natural, like this bat guano...

......I do use a rooting hormone like this one, to soak bare-root stuff and transplants in.
I also use wetting agents sometimes to help my sandy/silty soil absorb water and avoid runoff. I read the label carefully though, to be sure it's fully biodegradable, and won't add any uneccesary salts.These "chemicals" are for my water garden tubs...the barley extract keeps the water clear naturally....
....and the mosquito dunks inhibit larvae growth without harming anything else. Even though I don't have fish in there, my froggies like to take a dip now and then.
This product is all-natural (and all-gross!), and it keeps hungry deer from ravaging my plants. The only drawback is that you need to re-apply every 3-4 weeks, or the smell wears off. When that happens, you may see this........."How is everything this evening Sir? May I have your waitress bring you another drink?" I mean, what the hell?! This was just last night, I'm coming into my driveway and this f-er was making himself right at home! I got several pictures before he took a hint and left....can you tell I desperately need to re-apply the Liquid Fence?! I told him he falls into the Not in My Garden category....I don't think he was listening!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bugs, bugs, all types of, white, multi-color, bad-ass bugs! I have been taking bug pictures all summer, and this post is the result. Try as I might, positive ID of some of these guys still eludes me, but I'll tell you what I know so far (feel free to share whatever you know, too). All information for ID's courtesy of What's That Bug , Butterflies and Moths dot org, and Bug Guide .(And a couple more resources in the text).First off, we have a Grass Skipper...

....Boxelder or Stink bug of some kind (there are lots)..... ....Bumble bee.... ....Longhorn Beetle.... ...........Underwing Moth, so-named for the bright colors....
....under the wings! Blurry, but it's there.... .....this Metallic Wood-Borer was crawling up my leg one afternoon as I watered, and am I ever glad he doesn't bite! Looks like something for Austin Powers' "Goldmember" to keep as a pet!

This ID had me stumped! After lots of searching, I think it may be an immature stink bug of some kind, but I'm not sure.

Another for the "I'm-not-sure" category...moth, of course...maybe another underwing that would not show his "under" (I try not to disturb bugs when I take their picture).....
.....but he did show me his face!
Now this ID surprised me a little, as it's a White-lined Sphinx moth. I never knew there were so many different sphinx moths, and this just didn't seem like one to me. (That's because I don't know anything about them, clearly!)

As you can imagine, getting an ID on this bee was problematic, since all I see is his pollen and his butt! The orange pollen matches the coneflower he's napping on...camo perhaps?

Here's one of my hard-working Mason Bees! Thanks buddy!
Is this a Katy-did? Or a "Katy-didn't"?
Another Bumble Bee....they really dig these coneflowers! Tiny little spider blending in very nicely......makes it harder to figure out what kind it is, but I think it's a Crab Spider...

...another cool, un-named moth.....
....I just couldn't avoid this X-rated picture of Leather-Wing Soldier beetles. Do you suppose they were on this goldenrod to blend in and have some privacy? Oh well!
This blurry shot is a Plume Moth....reminds me of a glider airplane.
Here is Bowser from "Sha Na Na"....really! See the greasy pompador hairdo? Actually, this weird moth is a Large Tolype, a common submission for ID on What's That Bug. The face is what gets me...looks like a barn owl or something. I had three of these at once hanging around the porch light for several days.

This is a green bug. Sorry, that's all I got :)

And here's the beautiful monarch caterpillar....I'm lucky enough to have them on my milkweed, and they are large....
...but also teeny-tiny! This was the first time I'd seen one so little. The worm go in, the worms go out....I really wanted to ID this chevron-patterned flower demolisher, but no luck. I didn't even smash him....hey, live and let live I say.
This was called a "Green Imported Weevil" on a Wisconsin Entymology site, but I have suspicion there's a more specific name out there...
....this impressive little lady is a Jumping Spider, who fortunately did not jump on me!

This picture is a tad unfair...hard to see the tiny, tan inchworm at the bottom of the flowers' center. Not sure what kind of worm it is (too small).

Another shaky ID....mayfly?
Ahh, but this butterfly has two good possible ID's: Appalacian Brown Wing, or Common Wood Nymph....either way, it's cute!
I like the way the wings look folded together. What on earth is going on here? Looks like this spider has some sort of
Cirque Du Soleil thing set up....wonder what he gets for a ticket?

Katy-did? Katy-didn't? Grasshopper?

This green dude is some sort of stink bug, I think.
Aha! Grasshopper! There are lots of these, too....most of the pictures on What's That Bug? are of very colorful types, so I'm not sure of this fella's exact name.
Here we have a couple of Scarlet and Green Leafhoppers...too bad they're so small, cuz' they sure are pretty!

Damsel fly of some kind.....the link is loaded with info, and I think this one is Ischnura, but I'm no entomologist (Heh, obviously ;-)

I think this lovely spider is a Grass Spider of some sort, but I'm not 100%...this post is taking me a long time, so some IDs may not have the most thorough research behind them... this one (for fairly obvious reasons), but I like the "classic pose" here...
....Clearwing or Hummingbird Moth...there are quite a few varieties of these, and I'm not sure exactly which one we have here. Doing a fine job pollinating, though!
Ah yes, the Daddy Long Legs, a.k.a. Harvestmen...nor sure what he's "harvesting", but I'll bet he's efficient at it.

This is called Giant Stone Fly....I find them to be regular visitors every summer.
Another lovely spider...I have yet to confirm her ID, but the link has really cool basic spider info...

This is Master's Dart Moth...wings look a tad shredded- moth fight, maybe?
I see a lot of these milkweed beetles...pretty, but somewhat destructive to my milkweed plants (not mortally, though).

Wasp doing some freelance pollinating...thanks!
Beautiful Mourning Cloak butterfly...landed in an ugly spot, but I take pictures of butterflies wherever I get a chance, because they sure don't hold still long! (She didn't, either...I followed her around for a prettier shot, but couldn't get one.)
I believe this to be a Nursery Spider, doing what she does best...what a good mommy!
Here are a couple Pearl Crescent butterflies....thay proceeded to "get busy", and I must say that I'm happy to have my yard used as a "no-tell motel" for these two!
This funky thing is a Fish Fly....the larvae are used for fly fishing. Some of the adults have pinchers, and I guess the larvae bite, too. (All the reason I need to leave them alone!)

Another cool Damselfly....Lestes eurinus, I think. I love the eyes...
Grasshopper, super-macro! Geez, I love my camera!

Yet another Damselfly....they come in such a cool assortment of colors!

Another Crab spider, a.k.a. "Flower Spider"...I read that they can actually change colors to resemble the flower they're hiding on. Crab spiders are hunters, and wait on a flower to grab an unsuspecting pollinator. I'm not real keen on this guy chowing on my bees, but that's God's design, so who am I to interfere? I just need to be a good pollinator's hostess and help their cause! Another grasshopper....they can be a bit destructive to plants, but I think they're cute. My basic "bad bug" plans are to provide good habitat for beneficials, so when they see any bad bugs, it can be "Clash of the Titans", and hopefully the good guys win. Hey, cheaper and more fun than insecticide!
And who could forget our good buddy June Bug? Lots of my girlfriends were scared of these when I was a kid...I always liked them.
This pretty thing is a Vestal Tiger Moth, or "Wooly Bear".....looks like she's wearing a white mink stole.
Another nice spider....Grass Spider maybe?
And last but not least, an unidentified Looper of some kind. I just call it an inchworm, or "Green Worm Number Two" as determined last spring. Hope you enjoyed the bug show!