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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

How Bees Go At It: A Closeup View

Helen insists on saying, “Lo and bee-hold!” I however, would not stoop so low. Sarah here. I’ve been talking this morning to Damian Grounds of HelpSaveBees about how much we like seeing the bees diving into our funnel-shaped flowers. By coinky-dink, Helen was at that moment in the process of photographing bumblebums in a nearby […]

Continue Reading

Masticator of all s/he surveys

The snail population in my garden took a spike about fifteen years ago when our daughter adopted one and gave it a home on a punky log I’d been thinking was an ornament (add air quotes) in my front garden. It was, like all snails, of two-for-one gender. I think she named it Snaily. Many […]

Continue Reading

Spiderlings. It sounds so cute.

Look who’s hanging out at my place! Spiderlings! Isn’t that a great word? On the weekend, I found this little cluster of what appeared to be eggs. Then I noticed the eggs had legs. A (gentle) poke with a twig sent the whole bunch scurrying into square dance mode. They’re very pretty; yellow, with a […]

Continue Reading

Bats!!! In the Belfry (Where Else?)

I live in an apartment in the city most of the time, but I have a place in the country, where my big garden is. Oh, the joys of having a Place in the Country! The fresh air, the space, the moon, the stars, the wildlife….the…wildlife that actually lives in your house, with you. Strike […]

Continue Reading

Carpenter bees: I’m a bee-leaver

After yesterday’s heartless post on the subject of aphids and leafrollers, it’s incumbent of me [oops, I mean: on me] to say: not all bugs are bad bugs. Not even bugs with bad-boy reputations. Even in this day of catastrophic bee decline, Google carpenter bees, for example, and 99% of the results will be about […]

Continue Reading

Hey rose, what’s eating you?

It has been a wet few days. The roses have been slurping up that water and their growing tips and buds are nice and juicy. Mmmmm, say the bugs, the rose buffet is now open! Not for long, bugs. First, meet the leafroller – larva of one of a number of common moths. Leafrollers produce […]

Continue Reading

“Red” alert: Lily beetle season

Witness here the final moment of a pretty but destructive Lily Leaf Beetle (Lilioceris lilii), an imported pest now chewing holes in your leaves and buds — and not only of lilies. [Update: What I should have said, two years ago now, was that although it likes lilies best, the lily leaf beetle will nibble […]

Continue Reading

Peanut fur: Or why I grow milkweed

This week, Nova Scotia garden blogger Jodi of bloomingwriter wrote about her experience freeing a hummingbird trapped in her barn. It reminded me of a similar thrill of mine. One summer at our place on Ile d’Orléans, in the St. Lawrence River just outside Québec City, the (francophone) kids next door were collecting Monarch caterpillars […]

Continue Reading