Jewelweed

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, is a native type of Impatient species growing along the nearby streams and in moist places. The grows new each year from seeds and gets quite tall, 3 to 5 feet. Miz Flora says the flowers can be overlooked, so wanted me to give you close views.

Hummingbirds do not miss the hanging flowers.

Many folktales tell of being able to cure poison ivy by rubbing your skin with broken Jewelweed stalks. Miz Flora says she can’t verify that, not having bare skin.

Hmm.

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One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey, here’s an insect you probably see quite often—in it’s larval stage, so you may not recognize it.

Have a guess and I’ll check back later.

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Ha, it’s a gardener’s favorite, the ladybug!

The orange and black stay with the insect its whole life and I bet many of you would like to learn to recognize it. Why? Because ladybugs eat other garden pests – like these aphids. They are fierce predators!

Here is one of the large shedding its skin to metamorphose into the adult Ladybird beetle.

Pretty cool, huh?

Hummingbird Moth

One yard in our neighborhood has a huge butterfly bush. Miz Flora is torn between liking it and not, because of course the plant isn’t a native species. But the hundreds of tiny blossoms attract and feed more insects on one plant than many natives, so I think it’s worthwhile. Especially when I got a glimpse of this moth.

We had to follow his quick movements for several minutes before figuring out it’s an insect, not a hummingbird. Our best guess is hummingbird moth, but if you have a positive identification, please speak up and post!

Surprise!

Hickory and I were playing chase and leap through the natural area the other day and found a great dead tree to scamper over. As we got to a rotten part the last storm had broken open, Hickory suddenly froze. He backed up, turned and ran right into me.

“Geez. What’s up with you?” I asked.

He ran past me. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Why? Is it an owl?” I asked as I ran with him.

“No, worse. A snake.”

I stopped. “A big one?”

He turned around and shrugged. “Didn’t see.”

“You didn’t see? Then I’m gonna go look.”

You may think I was really brave, but I did go up a nearby tree and out on a limb to look. I got a good view—of a little garter snake sunning on the warm wood.

But better than that, I got to tease Hickory all the way home. Garter snakes are perfectly harmless, especially to an animal as big as we are. The may eat mice, along with a good many worms and salamanders, but they rarely get big enough to eat even a kit squirrel.

Grass Crete

Here’s a little human-made thing that Ol’ Wally wishes more humans would use in their hard-surface developments.

It’s called grass crete and helps plants get the water they need. Instead of a solid surface in this parking lot that would make our precious rainwater run into a trough and be carried off, the grass crete allows water to percolate into the soil.

Think about it, please.

Monarda Blooming

Back on April 14 we gave you a look at a Monarda the humans had put in a pot to keep it from spreading. Several species are now in bloom, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.

Don’t tell Miz Flora, but some of them are strange colors.

Humans can pick whatever color of plants they want and put it in, but does the nectar taste the same?

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

It this a vine? A sticker bush? Give me a guess.

~~~

Yes, it trails like a vine, even putting out little tendrils to help it climb. But it has the protection of thorns, giving the plant the common name ‘catbriar’.

It’s a Smilax species that also goes by the name greenbriar. Miz Flora says old timers called it prickly-ivy, but I don’t hear the younger squirrels use that name there days. Bu tthse prickles do make it a pain to get rid of.