Sunday, March 29, 2015

Eight-spotted Forester

 Alypia octomaculata

This is the caterpillar of the eight-spotted forester moth which is a lovely furry black moth with white spots on its wings and fluffy orange "kneecaps". I've never actually seen the adults, which kind of made me wish I had a butterfly house to put this one into (I'd photograph the adult, then let it go). Someday perhaps. Their host plants are grape and Virginia creeper.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Insects of the Day

Bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata), chewing up the fence to build a paper nest

Green metallic bee (Augochloropsis sp), emerging from her burrow

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Plague of Lubbers

Newly hatched lubber grasshoppers (Romalea guttatus) in the Dirt Patch. Despite attaining a rather large size for a grasshopper (roughly 2.5 inches just in body length), they do little damage to garden foliage and so this invasion of hungry babies isn't quite so alarming to me. Also, they will disperse. The black and yellow/orange coloration of youth and later bright adult coloration serves as a warning of their toxicity; however if you're a loggerhead shrike you ignore this, impale your tasty grasshopper on a spike, and simply wait for the toxicity to degrade in a day or so.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Bloomin' Dirt Patch

I am excited to see some new blooms in the garden after the frost took out about a third of my plants!

Calendula officinalis  'Zeolights'

Dwarf Toadflax (Linaria maroccana)

Dianthus amurensis 'Siberian Blue' - the anthers are sky blue at least

Browallia americana - 
growing where it's not supposed to, but it's pretty so I leave it alone.

Vaccinium corymbosum - 'Sunshine Blue' Dwarf Blueberry
I acquired the blueberry last year... whence I enjoyed a bountiful harvest of one whole blueberry. I'm hoping for a bit more this year.