Monday, June 29, 2009

I've Got Company!

The yard is getting plenty of visitors, including these bees --a big carpenter bee and an amber-colored honeybee-- on the Anise Hyssop. This year there are more honeybees than I’ve ever seen, but two hives were recently installed at the nearby public garden, just about a half mile away, as the bee flies. It seems a reasonable guess that the bees are from those hives.

It doesn’t show here, but hundreds of tiny bees are also buzzing around that plant, which is one of five just like it in the yard. The mother-of-thyme, planted up near the road, gets mostly tiny wasps, and the flat-leafed parsley, which is so far past bloom that it is turning yellow, gets insects of all kinds, including bees, wasps, flies, beetles, and ants, and of course it gets those caterpillars that eventually mature into swallowtail butterflies.

In some yards, those caterpillars might count as less desirable insects, but I like the adult stage well enough to not mind the damage done by the babies.

Other insect visitors, less pleasant company, include Japanese Beetles, squash vine borers, and squash bugs. In addition, this seems to be a big year for mealy bugs. Luckily, they drown just as completely in soapy water as the other less desirable insects that I knock into my little pail.

Larger visitors include the birds that have already (!) found my ripening blueberries—the robins, thrashers, and catbirds. Other, more welcome, bird visitors are the little finches, both gold and house, that come to eat seeds from the Verbena bonaris, and a great crested flycatcher that hangs out on the top wires of the tomato cages.

Mammals come, too, including assorted dogs, cats, squirrels, and that darn rabbit, a relatively fearless beast that just sits there eating my plants, even when we release the coonhound. Belle, our hound, isn’t quite sure what to do about a small mammal that won’t run away.

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