I tend to visit botanic gardens by myself. It isn’t that I’m being unsociable—I’d love the company! It’s that I move at a pace that most find excruciatingly slow. I have been known to stop and examine every flower, every shrub, and, in this case, every leaf on every tree. And then, on top of that, I take photos. Hundreds of photos. Photos of the flowers, shrubs, trees, and yes, sometimes even the leaves. I can turn a two-hour garden visit into a 6-hour marathon. It drives most people crazy, hence my lack of companions.
But sometimes, that kind of close inspection pays off.
Continue reading “Don’t Miss the Mantis”
What is it with August and yellow flowers? Last week Pete and I revisited the Yampa River Botanic Park in Steamboat Springs. As I expected, the gardens were in full bloom—dazzling in the clear mountain sunshine. As I strolled the pathways, I noticed expanses of Coreopsis, clumps of Rudbeckia, beds of sulfur-yellow buckwheat (Eriogonum), and sprays of goldenrod. And that’s when I realized that the majority of blooms were in some shade of yellow.
Continue reading “August’s Yellow Flowers”
The neighborhood where I live seems to be a magnet for door-to-door salespeople selling services. One company in particular has been particularly persistent in their marketing attempts—an exterminator.
The first time they rang the doorbell, I politely but firmly told the guy I did not want my yard sprayed. I consider a diverse arthropod population to be a sign of a healthy landscape. I particularly want insects around to feed the birds I feed. Moreover, I had just planted a pollinator garden, designed to attract bees, butterflies, moths, and other fascinating creatures;. The last thing I wanted was to kill my invited guests.
Continue reading “You (probably) Don’t Need an Exterminator”
Someone left the screen door open, and suddenly our house is full of annoying, buzzing, flies. They circle the kitchen while I’m cooking, tangle with my hair while I’m sitting at my computer, and zoom past my Kindle when I’m reading in the evening. I have to ask, did we really have to have flies, God?
Continue reading “Good Guys Flies”
We may not live in the deepest, darkest jungle, but that doesn’t stop me from hunting tigers—tiger beetles, that is. Last year, I wrote about my first tiger beetle hunt. Earlier this month we repeated the adventure.
Continue reading “Tiger Beetles, Take 2”
Every gardener knows that ladybugs are “good” bugs because they eat “bad” bugs. Educated gardeners know that ladybugs are actually beetles, and that they eat aphids, scale insects, immature beetles and true bugs, and mites. The adults are efficient predators; the larvae are even more voracious. No wonder we want lady beetles in our gardens!
The simplest way to get lots of these colorful beetles is to buy them, and many people do just that. It’s a huge industry. However, buying ladybugs is largely a waste of money, and may even harm the environment! There are better ways to attract not only ladybugs but other beneficial insects as well.
Continue reading “Garden Advice: Don’t Buy Ladybugs”
Last Saturday, I participated in a tiger hunt. These tigers are fearsome predators, pursuing their hapless victims with incredible speed, and I was armed not with a gun, but with my camera. Happily, however, the only danger I was in was that of sunburn. The tigers we were hunting were the five local members of the large tiger beetle family, Cicindelinae.
Continue reading “Hunting Wild Tigers”