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Tangled Branches: Cultivated

happenings in and around my zone 6b gardens in northern Virginia and in central Virginia

Friday, July 15, 2005

I Don't Like Spiders and Snakes

...and Japanese Beetles.

Actually I thought I was OK with spiders, but then I saw one do something that displeased me. More later.

This post begins on Monday. I was deadheading the dratted daylilies, and watering, and generally puttering in the garden when I noticed something on the ground. Eek! A black snake! Now I know they're harmless to humans (not so nice to baby birds though), but I still don't like them around. They're sneaky, ya know? You can't hear them coming; they're not visible from far away; all of a sudden they're just there. We usually see these in the yard in late May/early June; I don't remember seeing one this time of year. Well, that put me right off of gardening for that day and now I can't get that old song out of my mind.

I don't object to spiders in the garden though, or didn't until this week. I was picking off Japanese Beetles when I happend to see a spider eating a butterfly. The spider was lying in wait on a Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue', and caught itself a nice fat skipper for breakfast. I know spiders eat bugs, but I wish they didn't eat those bugs. Butterflies are still scarce in the yard this year, but I did see one Tiger Swallowtail this week.

We're now getting into the time of the year when the garden is looking a bit tired. And ragged with holes from Japanese Beetles. They hadn't been too troublesome up until this week, but now I have lace-leaved Cupheas. I've been picking the wretched little creatures off the plants and drowning them in soapy water, but I just learned that house finches will eat them. Only problem is, I haven't seen a house finch for weeks. So I filled up the sunflower seed feeder again and maybe they'll come visit. Of course, they may not eat the beetles if they have sunflower seeds, but it's worth a shot.

Speaking of tired, I was doing the daily drudgery deadheading daylilies, and I bent down to pull a weed, and was immediately revived. A fresh, elegant, and pristine Zephyranthes was blooming at my feet and I hadn't even noticed. All the other spotty, droopy, bug-eaten plants were forgotten in an instant.

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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Summer Doldrums

Just found out that Blogger created a setting to turn off the changes they made which broke so many templates. So, testing it out here.

I have daylily pictures from a week ago at Meadowlark Gardens that I haven't even uploaded off the camera yet. Blaming it on the summer doldrums. Hope to do better this week.

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