Monday, June 27, 2011

Our garden: full of bugs and plants and animals

Asian lady beetle life cycle (source:

I'm so excited - we found asian lady beetle larvae just like on the bottom right of the picture on one of our trees today! Both the larvae and the adults eat aphids so they're a very welcome addition to our garden. I've seen their eggs, too, although I thought they were some kind of aphid. I had been just squishing them with the little green pear aphids and now I'll just leave anything that looks like an asian lady beetle egg or small larvae.

We didn't spray dormant oil on our trees in the spring because we didn't realize how important it was to do it and the weather conditions weren't quite right. Now we know that we have to do it. We might not have prevented all the aphids from joining us but there might have been fewer of them and our plants and trees might have been healthier. We will definitely spray the trees next year

Believe it or not, there's more to our garden than aphids (although it doesn't seem like it, some days). For example, our hostas are growing their flower stalks. Even our giant hostas - the ones that are 12-18" tall and about 4ft in diameter and are big enough to be human-eating plants - are growing flower stalks. The stalks haven't yet grown above the leaves so it's hard to believe that the plant is ever going to flower.

Our riotous perennial sweet pea bush has lots and lots of flowers about to burst out. It's going to be gorgeous when it's in full bloom! I see why some similar plants are considered weeds: they send out seedlings, grow super-fast, and create a wall of plant. The bush has basically taken over the clematis and the one rose plant there and it's a huge intertwined mass of stems. That poor rose only has a single bloom while the other two have several fully bloomed and other buds. At least we have roses, right?

I'm also very excited to tell you that a chipmunk appears to have moved into our yard. Yay! I love chipmunks and I can't think of a better place for chipmunks than our yard. There's lots to eat: nuts from the bird feeder, berries and fruits from the trees and bushes, vegetables from the garden, and salad from all the grasses. There's lots to drink and a place to have a little bath in our waterfall. Finally, there's lots of privacy and protection from predators under the trees and in our long grass. I hope the chipmunk settles down and starts raising a family in our yard.

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