Browsed by
Month: April 2013

Hunter in Salal

Hunter in Salal

This Salal plant (just past the Lady Fern) sits next to our front path.  Today my wife noticed something sitting in it (those are her legs!). A snake!  Most likely a Northwestern Garter Snake.  Garter snake colors are extremely variable and this one looked beautiful to me. These snakes like to eat slugs and worms which are plentiful in my yard.  I prefer to design shelter for predators than to spread poison to control the slugs- you can see that…

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Leafhopper on Oceanspray

Leafhopper on Oceanspray

I found a Blue-green Leafhopper on my Oceanspray shrub. Leafhoppers eat leaves and excrete honeydew just like aphids- though I haven’t seen any ants farming these colorful insects. Yes, that big white thing with the black dot in the middle IS an eye.  Strange, huh? This is the whole Oceanspray shrub (with Salal and Meadowfoam in the foreground).  I pruned it hard during the winter and it is exploding this spring- more Leafhopper habitat… Related posts:Leafhopper closeupRhododendron LeafhopperRain Garden Wildlife

Ant Farmers Return

Ant Farmers Return

One of my Peony plants is getting ready to bloom which brings out the ants!  Ants like the taste of peony buds just before they bloom.  Once the flower opens the ants tend to disappear.  Apparently an old wives’ tale (debunked by the Heartland Peony Society) says that peonies NEED ants to flower.  Not true.  Nor do the ants hurt them- they are just there for a drink.  Let them be. Here’s a bud on one of my rose bushes….

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Root Maggot Fly?

Root Maggot Fly?

  This fly was standing on a leaf in my garden today.  It was smaller than a House Fly and I wasn’t sure what it was. Any thoughts?  My best guess is a Root Maggot Fly (family Anthomyiidae) based on this photo on BugGuide.  If so, this fly probably feeds on nectar.  When it was a larva it would have fed on plant roots as its name suggests. Related posts:A bee, or not a bee?Disgustingly CommonMore Flies Soon

Snail Gathering

Snail Gathering

This Violet plant is growing all over my yard.  I usually rip it out since it reseeds and spreads VERY quickly.  This one was actually growing on the edge of my front yard path.  As I bent down to rip it out I noticed something in it. Two snails!  And large ones at that.  I’m not sure if they mated, were about to mate, if one was trying to eat the other, or even whether they are the same species….

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