Sunday, April 4, 2021
Saturday, March 20, 2021
Here they are today and their internal timers are still ticking. Their blooms are waiting for warm days when flies and winter moths to become active. A slightly sweet fragrance is released into the air to entice them into pollinating the flowers. This particular cultivar isn't all that fragrant sadly so it's unlikely I'll see much of anything on it. Last year there was an early Beefly though.
Trilliums are starting to spring up too. This one in particular is much farther along all the others in my garden. In the past I've called this one a Trillium hybrid because nothing ever seemed to match up, and Trilliums do indeed hybridize a good deal when different species are planted near one another. I've recently learned about Trillium cuneatum though which is pretty variable and I read has a very strong or intense fragrance that I've associated with this individual. You can seriously smell it 15' away!
So I've ordered a bunch of T. cuneatum to see if they measure up. Actually they're a named Trillium cultivar called Trillium cuneatum 'Sessile of Hort' which should all have a white strip going down the middle of each leaf. Hopefully the fragrance part is still somewhat true to the species though so I can compare.
Friday, October 9, 2020
Back in 2016 when I attended Bugshot, Texas where I met Alex Wild for the first time. He gave a basic class on ants without talking down to the audience or over generalizing things the way lots of documentaries do. I recorded it with his permission and hopefully it's still okay for me to publish it four years later. If not I'm more than happy to take it down. For now though, enjoy!
Saturday, September 26, 2020
They produce air roots too which pull nutrients from the air.
Sunday, August 23, 2020
This is such a non-issue, I'm sorry to even be writing about it. I'm only doing so because I feel like no one reporting on it is a gardener.
I've been seeing articles saying things like "Melania Trump RIPS OUT historic trees," and now the White House Rose Garden looks like a graveyard symbolizing how her husband had killed America.
I don't mean for this to be a political post so I'm focusing on what was done to the garden aspect here.
First off I will say, given her choice of shoes, Melania probably doesn't garden regularly. (Added: There are images of her wearing sneakers while gardening but she does not look natural in them. So I'm still thinking she doesn't do a whole lot of gardening.) I question how much of the changes can really be attributed to her and not the White House Landscapers and members of the Historical Society who would be taking care of anything worth protecting.
The main cause of the controversy is how 10 Crab Apple trees were moved. These trees were originally planted by Jackie Kennedy so there is some historic value to be had. But lots of news outlets are saying they were "Ripped Out" or "Cut Down," and sometimes both; ripped out first and cut down later just to spite them. They have, in fact, been taken to an off site location and will be replanted elsewhere on the White House grounds.
Lots of people are reporting with pictures of the trees in Spring, when they're flowering and looking pretty. There are also lots of colorful varieties of tulips adding to their glamour. So it's not fair to compare that to how the garden looks in Summer.
Crab Apples, when not in flower don't always look pretty, especially when they're 50 years old and have been pruned to hell over the years. Part of the reason they were removed was to allow additional space for cameras to be for member of the press to do their job. Holding press meetings outside, where there's better air flow, and sunshine, reduces the risk of Covid transferring from person to person.
People are now saying the garden looks like a cemetery... Personally I blame that mausoleum-like white house in the background. That's just my opinion.
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Sullivan's Milkweed doesn't do that. So you get a plant that looks fairly similar but isn't anywhere near as aggressive in a garden setting. My one complaint with it might be that it's too slow growing. Last year I only got one flower, one single flower, on the whole plant all because Monarchs had laid eggs on it and it the caterpillars ate them.
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Thursday, May 7, 2020
So here's the issue, lots of these articles are titled something like Asian Murder Hornets Discovered In US For First Time. They are all published within the past week or so but also quote a few people who encountered them last year... So this is actually old news that no one really cared about ~8 months ago. Then they usually play up how just how dangerous these Asian MURDER Hornets are, OMG!!! And there's this implication that they're going to be everywhere by the end of the year.
What's lacking though is anything current. Their hives are annual, growing to a great size by the autumn months and dying out completely from lack of food. It's only through a new generation of queens that survive the winter that they species survives each year. So if they are in the U.S. and Canada still, their hives currently aren't that big. And even if surveys don't come up with anything this year, no one can really say with confidence that they're not here until about 5 years of no sightings. They might be establishing someplace outside of where the surveys are taking place, they might not be doing that great here, they might be able to make it out of the traps being setup, lots of issues could be going on.
Articles from colleges and scientific outlets are adding damage control to the theme. The U.S. and Canada already several native Hornets, Yellow Jackets, European Hornets (which are a problem in themselves), Cicada Killers, and even Bumblebees that the general public is more than likely going to assume are Asian Murder Hornets thanks to sensationalist articles.
Again this is all because a total of ~4 hives were found in 2 locations. I actually couldn't find a good source on this because one article included someone finding all of their honeybees dead and just assumed it was them. There was no information given as to what destroyed this hive or even what condition it was in.
Assuming they are found and do establish, it will be quite a few years before they make it to the east coast. The new queens each year are only going to fly X amount of miles each year so their range is going to slowly expand unless they tuck themselves away in fire wood or something that's being transported, for example.
Some people have contacted me saying they're are worried about what they can do to help Beekeepers defend against them. Honestly we're not quite there yet. But their fear mostly comes from a clip from a National Geographic documentary that's often linked with these articles. It shows these hornets destroying a hive of Honeybees.
Well here's the thing with that; throughout Europe and Asia, there are Beekeepers. And there are hives of Honeybees that are bred to have a defense against these hornets. They actually ball up around the scout hornet marking their nest and cook it with heat generated from their wing muscles until it's dead. Alternatively a small strip of metal screen the hornets can't fit through stapled over the entrance also works. It's like a $5 fix. Somehow that didn't make it into the documentary though.
As for the threat of a hornet nest (Asian, European, or Native) posing a threat to people... there is a whole industry of exterminators and several well stocked shelves of pesticides at your local hardware, garden center, and in most grocery stores that can take care of that.