Category Archives: Bugs

IT’S BUGGY OUT THERE

There’s a wonderful benefit

When the heat of summer hits.

And last week

The heat hit crazy hard.

Fortunately so did the bugs.

I love watching bugs in my garden

But I think of that as a late summer

Or fall activity.

This year

They seem to have come early.

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Starting a few weeks back

I’ve been seeing

Baby Orb spiders.

Caterpillars

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And baby praying mantis

Everywhere.

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I don’t know

If their early arrival

Is a good thing

Or a bad thing.

I do know it’s

It fun.

It also means

As I continue to weed and deadhead

That I have to make sure

I’m not composting

Any baby bugs.

Yikes!

Wouldn’t want to do that.

So I’ve been careful to relocate

Anything I might displace.

This morning I was treated

To “nectar harvest”

Among the Phlox.

I grabbed my nifty

Iphone telephoto add-on lens

And stood patiently

On the edge of a patch of Phlox.

I was rewarded with a visit

From this butterfly

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Flitting around the Phlox

And then it’s friend

The Hummingbird Moth

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Joined in the feast.

I was reminded of the many things

I’ve learned from my garden

And not just about gardening.

Patience

The power of observation.

The value of diversity.

It’s all there

Just waiting to be

Discovered.

Gail

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Filed under Bugs, Bumble Bee, Butterflies, Compost, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Hummingbird Moth, late summer garden, Nature, Praying Mantis, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized

RAIN, BLESSED RAIN

Most of the country has experienced

What seems to be the longest winter

In recent memory.

Our winter has been

In and out.

Bitter cold days

Sprinkled into sunny winter glory.

But it simply has not rained.

Fires 100 miles to our west

Attest to our dry fall and winter.

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Thankfully it starting raining on a recent Friday night

And continued through Saturday.

Bringing hope to my garden

With each drop.

The Japanese Maple trees

Are sighing with relief.

They leafed out on schedule

Only to be frozen a couple of times.

Creating the saddest looking tree

I’ve seen in a long time.

Now, with this moisture

They have begun the process of

Putting on new leaves.

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And things are budding out.

Iris

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Allium

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Peonies

With their attending ants.

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And those stunning Japanese Tree Peonies.

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They don’t last long

A few days of bloom and they are gone.

Yet, they are so worth growing.

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With these buds

Comes hope

And so it is with gardeners.

Whose spirits have frozen

And thawed

And frozen

And thawed

More times than we can count.

But with the rain comes

Hope.

And gardeners thrive on

Hope.

 

Gail

 

 

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Filed under Allium, Bugs, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Iris, Japanese Tree Peony, Peonies, Perennials, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, Uncategorized

PLAY DATES

Ours is an “arranged” friendship.

When Bay and Debra moved to town.

Bay’s mother, Jean,

Was concerned that Debra wouldn’t have time

To meet new people.

What with two toddlers,

A new medical practice

And studying for her medical boards!

Jean asked if I’d give her a call.

I did.

The four of us went to dinner

And have been friends for decades.

Early on we decided we needed

Scheduled “play dates”.

This often consisted of trips to

The city.

Clothes shopping for kids

And long lunches.

During which we discovered

That we had been living

Somewhat parallel lives.

Over the decades play dates

Turned into scheduled weekly calls

When Debra moved to the city.

There were years where life overtook us

And we didn’t have much time to

Keep up with each other.

But ours is an easy friendship

Since we see the world

Through many shared life experiences.

Friday was the first scheduled play date

For quite some time.

The plan was to go to the city.

Run errands together

Have lunch

And great conversation.

But mid-week

I realized that my garden

Is full of bugs

This time of year.

And Debra is in full-blown

“Macro bug mode”.

Her Instagram tag line is

“Read images while at work.

Take images while away from work.’

She takes the most amazing pictures.

Birds in the winter.

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June flowers in Giverny

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And now bugs.

Early in the week.

I had spotted three orb spiders

And a big praying mantis.

But by Thursday night

I was down to one orb.

I feared I had gotten her here

Under false pretenses.

Friday morning she arrived

At sunrise.

Bearing gifts.

Her famed cookie dough.

The Holy Grail of Chocolate Chip cookies.

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I directed her to the surviving orb.

She began to click away.

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John couldn’t resist

Getting in on the day.

Catching bugs

To feed to the spider

For Debra to photograph.

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And before we knew it

Orbs began to appear.

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Totaling four in all.

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Next I found a praying mantis

Or two.

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So she clicked

And I scouted for bugs.

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She sees the garden through her macro lens.

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I see it as a gardener.

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I know where the bugs

Hang out.

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We were a good team

As usual.

It was a delightful morning.

Play.

It’s as important now

As it’s ever been.

Gail

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Monterey – 2010 with Debra & Kristina

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Bugs, Butterflies, Fall, Garden Photography, Gardening, Gardening Friends, late summer garden, Monet's Giverny, Nature, Orb Spider, Praying Mantis, Uncategorized

IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE

This has been an unusual summer

On many fronts.

I’ve been gone half the summer.

Two weeks here

A week there.

Grand kids will do that to you

I’ve learned.

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Not that I mind

I don’t.

But I’m not used to flitting around

Like that.

Then there was August.

Days turned into

Weeks of mid-80’s

And there was the rain.

In a month when it might not rain

At all

We had 6 inches!

So…

Combine my absence

With cool temperatures

And gentle rains

And what do you get?

A jungle.

The Cockscomb is officially

Growing out of its mind.

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Zinnias have popped up

Everywhere.

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The Asters are blooming,

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And Cleome is still going strong.

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Then there is the crabgrass.

If you don’t pull it.

It just keeps growing

And growing.

I think I’ve filled

Four poly carts

With the stuff.

Yesterday I managed

To get about half way through

The weeding process.

With a little deadheading

Along the way.

That’s really all there is

To do out there right now.

That and enjoy Mother Nature.

Yesterday was a tough day

To be one of these.

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Not sure if it’s a moth

Or a butterfly.

First one was eaten for lunch

By a Praying Mantis.

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Then this Orb spider

Had another one

For dinner.

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I was still

In the garden

At dusk

When the locust chorus

Began singing

A familiar song.

Fall

Isn’t it yummy?

Gail

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Filed under Bugs, Butterflies, cleome, cockscomb, Dead Heading, Fall, Gardening, Grandchildren, late summer garden, Nature, Orb Spider, Praying Mantis, Rain, self seeding annuals, Uncategorized

GARDENING FOR GOOD

This summer I’ve been dividing my gardening days

Between two gardens.

It’s the first summer that Faith Farm

Has been an all volunteer effort.

It was a leap of faith.

What a fun

And rewarding leap.

We started the season with a plan

Put together by my fellow gardeners

Jim & Michael.

It’s an ambitious three season plan

Since we have a 9 month growing season.

We started harvesting lettuce

In March.

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And we haven’t stopped.

200 lbs of lettuce

120 lbs of gorgeous carrots

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More basil than all of Italy

and almost 900 lbs of cucumbers.

Wow what a year.

We have literally grown well over a ton of vegetables.

All of this done by a dedicated group

Of volunteers.

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Including a few Master Gardeners.

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Twice a week they harvest this bounty

And take it to Loaves & Fishes

Where it is then given

To our hungry neighbors.

Several times a year

Jim offers  gardening classes

To the L & F clients.

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And every so often

We have a Saturday work day

To catch up on the big jobs.

Yesterday was one of those work days.

We had an ambitious list

OK…we had an impossible list.

Thanks to a few new volunteers

We got most of the big jobs done.

Morning glories pulled off the fence

Before they set seed.

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Bolted basil pulled, dried and ground into mulch.

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Ground pecan hulls put on the paths.

And soil added to beds.

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Then there was the shed.

Michael spent the morning organizing it.

Thank goodness.

These are not glamorous gardening jobs

But they are essential.

And feel good to have done.

Along the way we made a few new friends

Loaves & Fishes board member Randi

Brought her family.

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Including her son

Who got to meet Charlotte

Our resident Orb Spinner Spider

She’s been “hanging” around

Since July.

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He also found caterpillars and praying mantis.

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It’s always a good day when you can introduce

A child to the wonders of nature.

And do a little

Gardening for Good.

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Basil, Bugs, Carrots, Children in the Garden, Community Garden, Compost, Cucumbers, Fall Vegetables, Garden Planning, Gardening Friends, Herbs, late summer garden, Lettuce, Morning Glories, Nature, Orb Spider, Uncategorized, Vegetables

FLUTTERBYS

For weeks now

I’ve been seeing the signs

Orb spiders have arrived

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Praying Mantis are hanging around

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As are Locust.

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Dahlias have made their debut

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I can hear the band practice

At the high school football field.

Cockscomb is everywhere

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And Flutterbys

Are here.

Somewhere along the way

Butterflies became flutterbys

At our house.

Elliott loved them as a child.

Even bringing them into the house

To live…briefly!

When you think about it

Flutterby is a more accurate description

Of these late summer visitors.

The Monarchs are on their way

To Mexico.

And a few are stopping by

For a snack in my garden.

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They brought along their friend

The Tiger Swallowtail

Which has been impossible

To get on camera.

I can’t say enough about this season

Especially in a year

That brought such heat.

In some ways I find it

As much a source of renewal

As spring.

It’s cooler days

Are refreshing

Even though I know

My least favorite season

Is close behind.

For now

I’ll pick peppers

And tomatoes…finally

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Transplant roses

And make extravagant flower arrangements.

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Because fall is the season of bounty

In my garden

For that I am grateful.

Gail

Surely this is the last Easter egg out there!

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Filed under Bugs, Butterflies, cockscomb, Dahlias, Fall, Gardening, Gratitude, late summer garden, Orb Spider, Peppers, Tomato, Uncategorized

LIVING ON THE EDGE

Planting home vegetable gardens

Is experiencing a resurgence in popularity.

I think it’s great.

Especially if home gardeners

Share their abundance with a local food pantry.

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But for some reason

I haven’t been able to convert even a section

Of my perennial border

Solely to vegetables.

I convince myself this is OK

Since my abundance of flowers

Supply the nectar

For hundreds of bees.

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I’m thinking they are pollinating

Vegetable plants all around town.

I also consider flowers

“Food for the soul.”

But the truth is I’m not that great at growing veggies.

This season alone

I’ve gotten a total of 5 tomatoes from 3 plants

One of which has now been eaten

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By a tomato hornworm

May he rest in peace.

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And something ate my three brussel sprouts plants

I am good at leafy greens.

Leaf lettuce and arugula are my favorites.

I can also grow radishes galore.

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So I’m doing my bit for the local food movement

Planting the edges of my garden.

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And a pot here and there.

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I have a hard time remembering

When it’s time to plant things.

So last winter I took the local Extension Service calendar

And input it into my personal google calendar.

Which means when it’s time to plant something.

It pops up on my calendar.

Now I remember it’s OK to plant my fall garden

In August.

Last weekend I cleaned out the spaces

Where there were weeds

And sprinkled seeds for

Carrots, radishes, arugula and lettuce.

They I planted peas around the dahlia cages.

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It’s not the vegetable garden of my parents

With neat rows and room for towering corn plants.

But it works for me.

Fitting in things along the edges.

Finding the time and place to grow the things

I really want.

And not trying to force myself

To fit it into a standard mold.

Life changes with time

Finding the time and place

For those changes

Can be challenging.

When we figure out how to do it.

It’s wonderful.

Gail

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Filed under Arugula, Bees, Brussels Sprouts, Bugs, Carrots, Fall Vegetables, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, late summer garden, Lettuce, Radishes, Seeds, sugar snap peas, Tomato, Uncategorized, Vegetables