Catching up

Where does the time go? The heat wave has passed, and thanks to the lady beetles, the aphid infestation of the plum trees is over. The heron chicks have fledged and the deer seems to have moved on for now. The rabbits have more or less acquired squatters’ rights in the Medicinal Herb Garden. Sure, they’ve eaten some of the planting beds bare, but the visiting public enjoys seeing them, and where would a public garden be without visitors. Next year, some of the hardest hit plants will probably have to go or be featured on the edges where it won’t be noticeable if they get nibbled away. It’s always something in a garden. At least rabbits are small. Imagine the challenges of gardening in elephant territory or being visited by a herd of hungry elk.

While leading a group from the Jackson School on a brief tour, I accidentally flushed this rascal out of a hiding place in the wild onions (Allium cernuum).

One of the fledgling herons didn’t gain enough altitude to get back to the nest on its first flight. It made it safe and sound to the ground but couldn’t get back aloft. Don’t worry, it was rescued and has probably been released to the wild by now.

It seemed to be looking at its own reflection, maybe thinking it was another heron, as it paced back and forth and kept returning to the glass.


The raccoons must have been making the rounds elsewhere but then one day,  a mother and three kits showed up in a tree by the bus stop.

This is the mother. The three little ones stayed higher up and hidden in the tree until she made sure the coast was clear.









The aphids were out of control this summer. I’ve never seen them so thickly covering a tree and they stayed for weeks, until the lady beetles and their larvae got to work.

Imagine an entire plum tree covered in aphids like these.
Lady beetle larvae in action.

Speaking of insects…

While observing these red soldier beetles , also known as black-tipped or black-footed orange beetles (Rhagonycha fulva) which were all over the asafoetida
(Ferula asafoetida)…








…I noticed this scene. It’s a very well camouflaged goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia)  eating a little mason bee (Osmia sp.).
North American answer to the goji berry (Lycium chinense or Lycium barbarum), this is our pale wolfberry (Lycium pallidum) in section C. It is native to northern Mexico and southwestern USA. The fresh fruit have much more robust flavor than the goji berries.
This entire photo should be covered in gotu kola (Centella asiatica) leaves lushly draped over the soil. Rabbits keep mowing them down. If you garden in Seattle and you haven’t seen rabbits yet, look for plants that have been cut off at an angle, usually a foot or less off the ground.They  will be your first indication that rabbits have arrived.










Fully open flower and opening flowers of Australian tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia).
A most unusual flower.
Imagine a whole tree covered with them.







Or these pomegranate flowers (Punica granatum). This is a shrub that should be more widely planted in Seattle. Sometimes they even produce (barely) edible fruit.
Wild artichoke (Cynara syriaca) in section C. They look more like cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) than the globe artichokes (Cynara scolymus) that we see in the stores.
Wait until you see the flowers on this cross vine (Bignonia capreolata)…just don’t hold your breath while you wait. The good news is that the vines have gotten big and healthy. Hopefully they’re storing lots of energy for flower production one of these years. The flowers are alleged to be orange and red, fragrant and attractive to hummingbirds. They will appear when they appear.











I accidentally hit the ‘toy camera mode’ button on my camera and this is the result. It looks like it belongs at the end of the post. Perhaps, some who are inclined to such dire thoughts, might almost read it as a visual metaphor for the fate of our beleaguered insect pollinators. Perhaps.


August is a good time for a garden visit. We should have a new memorial bench in section C soon. There are fewer people on campus in summer so it’s even more peaceful and quiet than usual in the garden (construction noise excepted). Enjoy the rest of the summer.






fuzzy aperture

makes bumblebee fade to black

toy camera mode




See you in the garden

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