Meet the Clavate tortoise beetle

Clavate tortoise beetle on a chewed potato leaf. Note that teddybear shape on its back. Noticing some pellet holes in my potato leaves, I wondered if we’d been hit by flea beetles. Then I saw what looked like a small fleck of bird droppings on the leaf. When flicked, it moved. That’s when I first […]

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Lily leaf beetle season

Get those squishing fingers on. The lily leaf beetles are back, and they’re noshing on your Asiatic and Oriental lilies. In fact, they’re making like the two-backed beast, or beetle, to create the next generations of bright red eating machines. Until they earn their red beetle wings, these will be squishy brown blobs of beetle […]

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Bee, my love, for Earth Day 2011

Study nesting box for wild solitary bees   Something special arrived in our back yard on Earth Day 2011: a nesting box for wild cavity-nesting solitary bees such as mason (Osmia) and leaf-cutter bees (Megachile). It’s one of 220 scattered in private and public spaces, including green roofs, around the city, as part of a […]

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Nip this bug problem in the bud… or in the egg

During a post-vacation check-up of my heat-challenged, newly planted Japanese maple this morning I spied this pixel-patterned egg mass. Aha! I exclaimed, summoning my vast store of entomological knowledge, Those are definitely the eggs of some kind of insect. No, I’m not an entomologist. But I can be a fairly good detective when it comes […]

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Red Alert: Lily Leaf Beetle Eggs

Nip your lily leaf beetle problem in the bud, or in the egg, by squishing this pest’s red, shiny ova before they hatch. Here’s what they look like… laid in a line, on the underside of lily leaves. Oriental and Asiatic lilies are particularly yummy to the lily leaf beetle, and the three successive generations […]

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Plucky pioneers

I have birds on the brain. That can happen when you read a lot of garden blogs. Inevitably, the topic of backyard chickens crops (corny anatomy pun: sorry!) up. Originally, I was going to use this photo in a post about our dad, bless his cool buckled shoes. (This week would have been his 83th […]

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Worth Repeating: Going Squirrelly

It’s squirrel feeder bird feeder time again. So (as Sarah has been at a seminar all day, and I have been tending to family things) we thought you might enjoy re-reading this post of Sarah’s from the spring. It’s called: A Bit of a Chat with a Squirrel at my Bird Feeder   Me: Oh, […]

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House sparrows beware!

I’d never thought much about house sparrows, except to notice that they’re among the most-frequent visitors to my bird feeder (whenever Sarah fills it for me). Then, a few days ago, my neighbour M called me over to show me his homemade sparrow deterrent, based on the Magic Halo. He’d made the halo frame from […]

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Keeping deer out of the garden

On a visit this summer to Earth Bound Gardens in the Bruce Peninsula I discovered their very effective way of keeping deer out of the garden, particularly their hosta and lily glade. These were being regularly eaten down to nubs until they used this simple trick. Their hosta bed is in a clearing, surrounded on […]

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A field to have a field day in

Right next to our community garden is a field of white asters. Wow, I thought, the bees must be having a field day. Then I noticed. They were! This one makes me think of a bee angel. Hard at work, busy doing all the things that bees do. Hanging around, packing in the nectar and […]

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Red Admiral Butterfly

I’ve been suffering a major case of butterfly envy. My neighbour M. has been luring the Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) over to his mature purple butterfly bush (Buddleia) for some time. This year, they seem more plentiful than ever. Hooray! But they’ve been giving my new Buddleias a wide berth. Then came this plucky little […]

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Who knows what lily beetles lurk…

So-called-summer 2009 has been the summer of love for lily leaf beetles. Since I wrote about them on June 1st, they’ve been arriving by the thousands, camping out and making music. And they’re hungry. Turn your back for an instant and you’re growing poles, not lilies. The whole stem is defoliated, leaving the bulb nothing […]

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