Yikes: Dog-vomit fungus on my worm box

The delightfully named “dog vomit fungus”,  aka dog vomit slime mold (Fuligo septica) Talk about going from the sublime to the real-ick-ulous on the Toronto Gardens blog! Look what bloomed – overnight – on my worm condo. When I say “overnight,” I mean that the slimy yellow barflike substance frothed up over the lid and […]

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Be chicken: Support Crackdown!

Helen Chicken says: Pssst! Wanna support a movie (and a movement)? If you wanted to keep chickens in the city of Toronto, you’d be walking on eggshells (can’t help myself, sorry). It’s illegal. Jan Keck is trying to change that – by making us laugh. The documentary film maker and his Red Gecko Productions hopes […]

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Close encounters of the hummingbird kind

A pre-dawn hummer goes for the nectar at the Indianapolis Museum of Art Long, thoughtful posts, full of depth and perspective, aren’t always possible at the best of times. They’re even harder when you’re trying to post every day for thirty days as a sort of shadow NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month – a poor […]

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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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