Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Okay, I know I don't really count as a garden blogger, since as yet no one is reading this blog. (Except maybe Holly. Thanks, Holly!) But anyway. I've seen that some garden bloggers observe "garden bloggers bloom day," by posting pictures of things that are in bloom on the 15th of each month. So here goes.


Most people call them "beneficial insects" - because they are. But I can't seem to stop calling them "predators," at least in my head. I've been lucky enough to have quite a nice string of predators grace my humble garden space. I never buy them nor catch-and-release them from someplace else into my garden. They just show up. Now I've developed the belief that they will continue to show up, on an "as needed" basis.

I've seen a couple of praying mantis.

One year I witnessed an exciting drama unfold as aphids descended upon my squash, followed by ladybugs, followed by the steady elimination of the aphids. What a thrill!

Ladybugs also have voluntarily showed up this year to hang out on my artichoke plant. But more exciting than that is this thick, hairy spider - exciting, because I witnessed it in the very act of grabbing an aphid and popping it in its mouth - before I had time to blink. Pretty darn cool, if you ask me.

The latest development in my local predator population is some little guys I can't seem to get a good picture of. (I think I need to learn more about how to use my camera. I tried to photograph these bugs in the foreground, which came out all blurry because my camera insisted on focusing on the leaves in the background.)

I don't know what they are. My artemisia has always been covered with little black bugs toward the ends of the stems, but I never noticed any damage to the plant or any inhibition of its growth, so I haven't worried about the little black bugs. Then the other day I was surveying my plants, and saw these little guys, perceptibly taking down the little black bug population. Cool.

UPDATE: Thanks to my four-year-old nephew, who "studied" ladybugs in preschool, we have a positive i.d.: The things with voracious appetites that look like little dragons are ladybug larva. Hooray! (Some internet research also confirms the info from the four-year-old.)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thinking about blogging.

I keep thinking about blogging about my garden, and I keep not getting around to doing it. Part of my issue is that I imagine being methodical in my blogging. But when I find a bit of time to sit and write, it seems that the photos I have at hand are a random assortment - not a methodical grouping. So I set the idea aside.

Many garden books & websites recommend keeping a garden journal. I think a blog would be (for me) a good tool for doing that. So, that's what I'm thinking.

Pictured: my two raised beds, between the sidewalk and the street. In the bed in the foreground I have two bush squash, a cuke which will climb the trellis, two little basil plants, nasturtiums, a variety of California poppy, and volunteer alyssum. In the background bed I have more Cal poppies, bush beans, pole beans, peas which are winding down, and a couple of cosmos in the background.