Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I'm getting downright lazy.  Here's 3 mantises in my garden.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Almost Grown-Up

Just an update

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Why I grow sunflowers

Just a quick note with my farmer finch.  I sorta blame these birds for the 2nd generation of sunflowers not planted by me.
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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mantis Update

Just some of the mantises hanging out.  Sorta wish I had a shot of one that is still little.  His head looks really big relative to his body. 

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

a Mantis and her Molt

I've got to get a better camera.  My canon powershot is a good all around camera but getting it to focus where I want it too is problematic.  I took a dozen pictures trying to capture this mantis nymph and her discarded skin below.  I cropped it so it shouldn't be too hard to find in the bottom slightly right of center part of the photo but I know I can get a clearer shot.  If I am still obsessed I'll try when it is a bit brighter out.  This molt hung from all 4 limbs off a mint leaf.  Of the handful I have seen this is the only one like this.  Others were on the dirt or hanging by 2 legs.

At any rate I got this clear photo of the mantis hanging out.  Perhaps she is getting used to me.
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Monday, May 24, 2010


I saw this and thought that this mantis was dying.  I was so wrong

After seeing another hanging just like that I relaize that this mantis is MOLTING.


I figured something out as a result of this... I think.
Little mantises with fat bodies are close to molting.  Once they molt their bodies are skinny.  At least that is what I have noticed.  When they are older it becomes gender specific.
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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tiny Creatures

I think that people who walk by my house must think I am nutty.  I am always looking at the tiny creatures that inhabit my plants.  I've been keeping a rough count of the mantids.  There's about a dozen that I know of.  Here are 3 on a butterfly bush.  I see 2 looking at each other which makes me nervous.  They are very hungry and might eat each other.  I have moved some to prevent this.  One I gave to a neighbor, two I moved to the back.  Of the 2 in back I think one was eaten by a spider.
And speaking of spiders, here's a jumping spider on a sunflower.  I saw a mantis around here but I bet it has been eaten by one of these spiders.  Such is life.
Here is a lovely nymph that looks female to me.  She's graceful and she has a big butt.  The males have smaller butts.  I think that they are starting to look distinct, plus the females are a bit larger.  She is actually less than an inch long, 2 centimeters at the most.
Finally I have a wasp with orange legs.  I tried to get a better picture but my vision and camera limit me.  It looks like it might be laying an egg into an egg, possibly that of a cabbage moth.  Could it be a parasitic wasp?  There's so many species that a quick google search has not solved my mystery.  It is pretty small.
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Dividing Lemongrass

I keep a few things through the winter.  It doesn't mean I take great care of them.  Here is some lemongrass, sadly unwatered.  It is barely alive and yet it is alive.  Lemongrass is tough.
What to do?  First a haircut.
Then I cut it out of the pot.  Yes, the roots get dense plus it is sharing the pot with some he shou wu, a plant that annoys me.

Now I cut the stalks apart.  The soil is almsot bone dry which makes this easier.
I split it in 9.  Some stalks actually have 2.  This is in my earthbox, a selfwatering planter that might be idea for lemongrass which is happiest with lots of water, sun, and heat.  I have a feeling this will be a good year for it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Anticipation for Hummingbirds

I love hummingbirds.  They love certain flowers such as Brazilian sage, pictured is a bud.  for some reason they do this serpentine dance before they actually bloom.  It seems to take forever, but once they do they are spectacular.  Hummingbirds adore this flower.

Next is some anise hyssop.  This is either 'acapulco' or 'tequila sunrise'.  I honestly can't remember.  It's buds are straightforward.  Last year this plant was not very productive but this year it seems to have found it's stride.  If the cats aren't too bad I should see some hummers buzzing around this soon.
Here is 'hotlips' sage, now in it's 3rd year.  I have to winter this inside which is annoying so I let this plant's sister die.  Maybe I shouldn't have as the birds are loving this, though they are shy.  I've only seen them early in the morning.  Again I fear my cats make them wary.
And finally a tall snapdragon.  I haven't seen any birds around this but maybe...
I'll keep you posted.
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Friday, May 14, 2010

Baby Mantii

Spring is the time of renewal.  And so today I saw about a dozen mantis nymphs.  These are the 2 best pictures I took.

Almost a fortnight ago Sally passed.  I miss her but life keeps going on.  It seems as though some lives could last longer but there's always life be it old or new.
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Friday, April 30, 2010

Some Flowers, mostly Green

In the background are sunflower seedlings that I transplanted a week or so ago.  They sprouted from last year though the birds ate most of the seeds.  I just moved them to where they wouldn't be in the way.  Sunflower seedlings are pretty delicate but if you move them when they are young and it is pretty cool and moist, most will survive.

I just like these violas.
Here we have more sunflower seedlings, with one that did not need to be transplanted.  Transplanting does set them back a bit.  They are surrounded by red mustard that still needs to be thinned.  I am tempted not to let any of it mature as I have had too much of it this year and last 2 years.
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Thursday, April 29, 2010


Sally has lost weight.  She has been diagnosed with cancer.  This will probably be her last year but she's doing all right now.

Abe is peeking from behind the swan.

The Cheddarhead loves sharpening his claws on the tree hydrangea.
I keep thinning my greens but they keep growing.  They've been really tasty.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Friend or Foe?

One problem I have is that as a lazy gardener that lets many things go to seed is too many children.  I must eat 50 of these tiny seedlings.  The same goes for arugula and red mustard.  I have lots of bok choi going too.  I forget what this is called.  I guess it is nicknamed 'beefsteak' for some reason and it has an unusual flavor, something I can eat but I don't like in large quantities.  Sometimes there are out and out weeds that still are edible and actually delicious when very young.  That'd be lambs quarters and the like.  And then there's the floral seedlings.  Calendula anyone?  Chamomile?  Yup, I've got tons of those too.
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Sunday, April 18, 2010

One Half

I keep forget which is 'stage left' or whatever.  I guess it doesn't matter.  There's half my yard sorta, starting with a view from the porch.

Next we have from the sidewalk facing east.  The terrace is filling out.
Beebalm emerges from the thalia.  There's also tons of calendula which I really should reduce by at least 75%.
And my frog prince is not yet obscured by vegetation.  I found him in the trash last year.  He's broken but enough remains that you can tell who he is.  I buried some bricks to slow the erosion on the side of the terrace that I din't really terrace.  There's lavender, snapdragons, pinks, other things there.  Mostly flowering perennials but some annuals already tucked in.
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