Monthly Archives: August 2011

Io Moth Caterpillar

By | Insects | One Comment

I sting you!

With Kevin’s help, managed to get a photo of this handsome boy–an Io moth caterpillar! I found him on the wild indigo. Photography was a ticklish business, partly because of the auto-focus on my iPhone, but mostly because caterpillars with spines like that can cause you a great deal of pain if you touch them.

Adult Io moths are pretty damn spectacular, and have crazy eye-spots, so he is more than welcome to nosh the wild indigo to his little heart’s content.

Lush and Ragged

By | Gardening Downtime | 2 Comments

August is the worst possible time to judge a southern garden, which is of course why I’m doing it.

At least it's green...

The whole garden needs work. The grass is long and needs mowing (and in some places, plain ‘ol weed-whacking) and the big established bed needs everything cut back and deadheaded and chopped. Stuff is sticking out at all angles and the wild quinine has not so much fallen over as exploded and I should have chopped back the swamp sunflower in June and the rose mallow has shot up and is waving red saucers like UFOs over the bulk of the greenery.

It needs a serious haircut.

I am not doing any of this.

The weather is partly to blame. It’s about 101 degrees today, and the heat index has been pegged at “Seriously, You’ll Die.” If I get working out there, I’ll keep working and then I will wonder why I have stopped sweating and why everything suddenly seems so sparkly.

The other reason is because the bugs are going crazy. The bee balm is STILL blooming–it’s ugly and ragged and on its last legs, and the insects are still crawling all over it. The rose mallow is covered in swallowtails and occasionally a hummingbird will elbow its way in. And if you leave the coneflowers up, the goldfinches love them (Although we’re awfully light on goldfinches this year…)

I know, I shouldn’t itch at it. It’s not the garden’s fault that August is the worst month. I should just be grateful that everything is still thick and fairly green. And I shouldn’t judge the new beds at all–they need a year or two before I can expect ANYTHING, and the backyard is barely even cultivated, really, and the prairie planting gets another year before I get too twitchy…

But it looks dreadful at the moment. And my desire to get out there and start brutalizing it into shape is intense. All I’d need would be a few cubic yards of topsoil and maybe nine cubic yards of mulch…that’s not much, right?