02 September 2008

Critters' Labor Day Picnic

These are a few shots of the Hexapoda family members that stopped by for a snack in the front garden this past Labor Day weekend. Consider this snippet a fun departure from my more serious regular weekend posts.

Yellow goldfinches regularly stop by to feast on the coneflower seeds. They are more of a breakfast and brunch crowd. The black coneflower seedheads look like the disgusting remnants of a wildfire, but the bright yellow visitors don't mind, so the plants are not dead-headed and I lose some additional blooms. The finches are very camera-shy though but I will keep trying.

The bees are loving the abundant blossoms on the purple basil plants. These are not honeybees, but resemble them in size and coloring. The wings are different, and these bees maneuver around like hummingbirds.

The yellow butterflies enjoying the red cosmos are not very common here. Maybe they are stopping by on their way south? They are very similar to the more common white cabbage moth, but they did not sign the guest registry.

I can always spot one mantis each year lurking somewhere in the front yard. This one waits on the crocosmia leaves and is a slender 4-inches long (10 cm). I am told they do not like pesticides (who does) so having one hanging out is a good sign of a healthy organic garden. Chemical pesticides are not normally used, but I will spritz some neem oil on selected plants there when things get out of hand. A mantis likes to chow down on nasty buggers, so they are welcome here. This is the first one that came wearing a brown suit - I believe they can change their color from green to brown. I consider it an insult that it chose brown instead of green to blend in with my garden.

3 comments:

Nancy said...
Thanks for a awesome praying mantis picture.
-Nancy
thorntonwilliamsfamily said...
We just bought this house in January, and once the snow melted, discovered there is no soil. It is sand on top of clay. We amended, but for the most part, did container and raised-bed gardening. We also brought in a big package of lady-bugs and two packages of praying mantis. For some reason, the praying mantis disappeared; we think a neighbor's cat took advantage of a free meal. We saw lady-bugs for a few weeks after the package opened but nothing since. Thank you for the wonderful picture of the praying mantis. Need to remember to post our pictures more regularly! Vikki from near Denver, Colorado // www.thorntonwilliamsfamily.blogspot.com
John said...
I grew Castor plants this year..grew only a foot...I planted in concrete hard soil..Will try again next year..