Named for Neck Color

I hope this is not an insult to the caterpillars. (“You talkin’ to me woman?”)

They are named for their yellow necks, Yellow-necked caterpillars(Datana ministra)

They appear every year on the same little oak.

I notice because the leaves disappear due to skeletonization. Which is a fancy way of saying everything is eaten but

the veins.

I purposely disturb them just to watch them twitch.  They go into defense posture.

The adult moth is called the Yellow-necked Caterpillar Moth.  Ho Hum!

It looks like a rolled brown leaf with a scalloped end.  I have never seen one in person.

The poor moth can’t live down its baby nickname.  Kind of like “Stinky” or “Tootie.”


Named After its Food

How would you like to be named after your favorite food?

Ms. Chocolate Eclair? Mr. Potato Chip? Mrs. Pimento Cheese?

Well someone named these bugs after their food, Large Milkweed Bug.


Its Latin name is not much better, Oncopeltus fasciatus. That sounds like a disease!


I found these on my Butterfly weed which is in the Milkweed family.

Here is an adult on a seed pod.

These nymphs do not have wings yet.


They are the same color as the Asclepias blooms.


Is this camouflage? I doubt it.

You are what you eat. These are toxic due to the milk weed seeds that they ingest.

They don’t need to hide.

Flower (Ms. Mongolian Beef)


The Painted Lady and the Garlic

I appreciate my gap-filling plants that keep the butterflies around all summer.

One of the butterfly favorites is garlic chives, Alium tuberosa.


These lovely white bloom clusters are full of fliers in August.

I can count on getting photographs of something on them any time of day.

This morning I had the good fortune of finding a Painted Lady.

These have four eyespots with a cobweb pattern on the underside of their hindwings.


The garlic chive plants keep them busy until the sedums bloom.

This plant is so hardy that a clump has survived out of the ground for over a year.

I cut the blooms as they mature because it will seed itself everywhere.

It is deer resistant and beautiful. The butterflies are an added bonus.



The Squash Support System

Nature knows everything. We need to pay attention.

Plants plan ahead.

Let’s look at this vine.

It came up from some seeds of ornamental gourds that I threw out.

At each leaf joint is a bud cluster, which blooms one at a time, and a long three-pronged tendril.


Why such a big tendril for such a small bloom?

Because that little bloom will turn into a heavy squash/gourd.


That fruit will need to be supported if the vine is climbing.


The plant plans ahead by having a built in support system with each bloom. (Like a baby with a college fund.)


We will never know more than nature.


Pay attention people!


A Darner Darning

I learned something new today all by myself without books or the internet.

I was trying to get a photo of a giant dragon fly.

My daddy calls these “Snake Doctors” which makes no sense to me.

I thought I understood why they had the other name “Darner.”

I thought it was because they were big and straight like darning needles.

I was trying to get a photo of this dragon fly zooming by.

I put my camera on the action setting. I took dozens of blurred photos.

Then I paused to watch it fly back and forth, back and forth, over and over.

There was a pattern to its flight.

An epiphany occurred in the Flower’s brain.

It was not named for the shape of the needle.

It was named for the act of going back and forth like darning a hole in fabric.

Now that I knew this, I waited for it to fly back by.

Here is a  flyby photo of a darner darning.

I love my little life!





My One Passion

In years past, I had three Passions.  A wild one, a red one and a hybrid.

I killed the red one. I backed over the wild one. The hybrid is the only type left.

Luckily,  I have several plants of this Passiflora ‘Blue Crown’ hybrid.

I finally got brave enough to put one plant in the ground along a fence near the Asparagus.

Here is its first ever bloom.

If this plant does not survive our winters, I have two more in large pots.

It is a vigorous vine that climbs the deck poles

and then is trained to grow on a trellis upstairs.

All are happily blooming in this August heat.

It is such a marvelous bloom.


Spiders Writing

I have to move carefully around my tall flowers.

That is where the writing spiders build their webs.


I do not wish to disturb their writing and eating. (Fern has caught quite a feast.)

I have three this month; one on the Lucifer(Lucy), another on the Gladiolias (Gladys)and a third on the ferns(Fern).

They are big and beautiful.

I enjoy checking on my female Arigope aurantia friends every day.

It’s interesting to watch them wrap their food for safe-keeping.

I am keeping an eye out for egg sacs.


Lucy has made hers.



My Favorite Caterpillar

I feel fortunate that I found these little Saddleback Caterpillars.

They were not in their usual place, the underside of leaves on the banana trees.

This year they are on my coffee tree.

I only found them because I was removing scale from the underside of the coffee leaves.

There are three. All are small.


This one is not much bigger than those nasty scale.( brown dot on the left)


They hide under the leaves and crawl along the stem to another leaf.

Saddleback Caterpillar, Sabine stimulea

The spines of  the Sabine stimulea sting,  so I know not to touch them.


Look but don’t touch!

Flower and Friends

Insect Stalking

I have been out on an insect hunt this week.

I have been looking for newly emerged Cicadas, which I think are beautiful.

Thus far I have only found the split skins/shells

from their molting hanging on the underside of leaves.

I did stumble upon a Mantid in the garden.


It saw me and quickly skittered to the underside of the leaf.


I love watching their heads turn.


I was happy to see this beneficial garden resident.


Just another reason I do not use pesticides.  I cannot poison my friends!