A Gardener's Notebook - Munch, munch, munch - October 10, 1999

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A Gardener's Notebook - Munch, munch, munch - October 10, 1999

Post by Douglas E. Welc » Sun, 10 Oct 1999 04:00:00

A Gardener's Notebook: Munch, Munch, Munch
October 10, 1999
? 1999 Douglas E. Welch

A few months ago <http://www.welchwrite.com/agn/agn990815.html>  I found 2
small vines languishing on the north side of the house. I transplanted them
to a more hospitable area and they started to grow rather nicely. I had
hoped that they were Passion Flower
< http://www.vg.com/cgi-bin/v2/gemag/s=4545&seeplant=E17060X>
 and as the leaves got larger it seemed I was right. This week I had another
indication that I was right but, unfortunately, it might mean the loss of
the vines altogether.

** Image available as <http://www.welchwrite.com/agn/images/cat01-lg.jpg>

 I have heard from my other gardening friends that Passion Flower vines are
the favorite food of a particular type of caterpillar. It is possible that
this is a Gulf fritillary. I tried to look it up but my reference book is
surprising short on caterpillar descriptions. If you can identify this one,
join the AGN mailing list <http://www.welchwrite.com/agn/> and drop us a
line. These caterpillars can completely defoliate a plant and since these
vines were just getting started it happened quite quickly. I noticed one day
that the leaves were nearly all gone and thought that the plants had died. I
then remembered hearing about these caterpillars and almost immediately
found one happily munching away. This one was so happy I was able to snap a
picture of him or her. Although they are not supposed to kill healthy plants
I am afraid these transplants may not recover. Oh well, I can't feel too bad
as I didn't pay anything for the plants and at least there will be one
pretty butterfly in the Garden in a few weeks.

Other butterfly plants

** Image available as <http://www.welchwrite.com/agn/images/lant01-lg.jpg>

Over the years we have lived with this garden we have found that the Lantana
<http://www.vg.com/cgi-bin/v2/gemag/s=4545&seeplant=E07077A>  attracts
butterflies as well. Small white and brown butterflies can be seen flitting
about nearly any time of day in the summer. I have been wanting to add a
Buddleia davidii
<http://www.vg.com/cgi-bin/v2/gemag/s=4545&seeplant=E11085X> or Butterly
Bush to my garden but haven't yet developed a sunny enough spot for it. I
saw one in a friend's garden and quickly realized that it grows much larger
than I originally thought. This might be one plant that will have to go into
some other garden, some other time.

End of season clean-up

This month we have been starting our end of season clean-up duties. One of
the biggest chores is cleaning up the falling leaves from all the trees on
the property. If we let them lie until the rains come, they quickly compress
down into a thick mat that is difficult to rake up and impossible to use the
leaf blower on.

I have an electric leaf blower since this is one of the only ways I can
clear off the pea gravel paths with out removing the gravel itself. Even the
blower lifts the smaller pebbles and quite a few of them end up in the
compost pile. I still haven't found a good solution for replacing the gravel
paths but something will have to be done soon. The gravel has washed away in
spots and the rain can create some muddy areas.

Pumpkins are starting to show up here in Van Nuys and that means we only
have a few weeks until Halloween. Last year we took an excursion on the
Fillmore and Western Railway's Pumpkin Train <
http://www.ventura.org/heritage/Fillmore/fillmore.html>  in Fillmore,
California which provides a train trip in restored railroad cars to a
private pumpkin patch. We hope to do it again this year. They also have a
Christmas Tree Train that runs during the holidays. Check it out if you are
in the Los Angeles area.

Until next week?

Keep digging!

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