Monday, May 10, 2010

Miscellaneous Monday

It's another Monday on the Edge.  It's almost the end of the semester so I'm really busy with my teaching duties.  The final will be next Monday and then - BREAK!  Woo-hoo.  Bet you didn't know teachers looked forward to the end of the semester nearly as much as the students do, did you?

Between the end of the semester busys and the high winds we've been having for the past week I haven't been keeping up with this blog so here's a few tidbits to tide you over until the semester ends and the winds die down so I can get back outside with my camera.

The most disturbing sound ever.  Sorry, I didn't record it but this little thing is the cause of a lot of trouble up here.

It's the caterpillar of the winter moth (Operophtera brumata).  It's a European species that has become a major invasive pest here in New England.  The numbers of these brats are astonishing.  They can defoliate a good sized tree in less than a week (my neighbors beautiful 20 year old weeping cherry.  She noticed the caterpillars on Friday, called a company to come spray the tree and by the time they arrived on Monday it was too late - the tree had no leaves left.  They don't go after most trees this bad but they do a lot of damage).  I found this one on the sidewalk.  Did I mention it's been windy?

I've seen birds with beaks full of these guys, carrying them back to feed nestlings but I guess the caterpillars beat most birds.  We're only now getting Warblers (most of whom eat insects) coming through and it's still early in the nesting season so not too many baby birds to be fed.

The sound?  Oh, yeah.  There are so many of these guys that when I walked back into the woods last week I could HEAR them chewing.  Very disturbing.

Three dollar orchid.  This is the bloom from an orchid I bought at a big box store for $3.  It had quit blooming and was on sale.  The flash washes the color out of bit but if you look at the flower to the left you can see a bit of greenish color.  That's the color of the petals.  Very cool looking.

I noticed that both this Phalenopsis and another one I have blooming seem to have little sparkles on the petals.  I'm not sure what causes this but it's pretty cool looking.  I guess this is the effect they're trying to replicate when they spray glitter onto the bracts of Poinsettias at Christmas.

Not a plant thing but....  The Husband has a cousin who left this 120 gallon fish tank at his parents' house for years and years.  Finally (ok, so it only took asking) we convinced him to let me have it and voila!  Yes, it's dirty and yes the stand is showing some wear and tear but after some work it's a free (well, it cost us about $100 to rent a truck to move the tank -it's four feet by two feet by two feet - and the stand) large tank.  I will put plants in it.  Probably not till next winter, after outdoor gardening season is over for the year.  This will make a nice indoor water garden.

And now for some pretty pictures.  Just because.

Tulip is Tinka (from Brent and Becky) and the shrub is a Blue Mist Fothergilla gardenii

Cute little rabbit under the Epimediums. Excuse the soaker hose.

Remember the conjoined tulip buds?  They formed two normal sized and normal shaped blooms that share a stem.  This is Hollandia and is from Messelaar's

This tulip was advertised as a 55-mph tulip.  I prefer the close up where you can see all the different colors.  This is called El Nino and is from Brent and Becky's Bulbs

This is just a nice red tulip.  I think it's called Cum Laude (unless the purple one is Cum Laude in which case this one is Hollandia.  I didn't label them.  Bad Gardener, no compost!) and it came from Messelaar's (which is just up the road from me.  So much fun to wander in and select my own bulbs.  So easy to go overboard doing it).

I like the detail inside tulip blooms.  Too bad I haven't been able to get inside the purple blooms (did I mention the winds up here, it's very hard to photograph long stemmed flowers in the wind).  The inside of those has blues and greens.  Very neat.

Wish me luck on the final exam.  Writing and grading it, I mean.  I give it next Monday.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the warning about that caterpillar. . .