Friday, February 27, 2009


Today I picked some of the spring flowers that are blooming in the garden today. They will be the centerpiece of the table for dinner tonight. Among them, larkspur, four nerve daisy, california poppy, German chamomile, alyssum, viburnum, jasmine, jessamine and a few parsley leaves for greenery. The arrangement only stands about 12" high so it is perfect for the center of the table.

The first of the rock garden daffodils are starting to bloom. I have no idea of their names but the flowers are no more than 1" across. 

It is a cheery sight after the garden trials and tribulations of the week. Not to harp on about the unseasonably warm weather and drought we are experiencing in central Texas, but there has been an explosion of bugs in my garden. I must have killed 200 harlequin bugs. They were attacking my napa cabbage, which has now been completely removed from the garden, and sweet alyssum. I just can't bring myself to pull out the latter so I am constantly on the prowl checking under the leaves. 

Another unwelcome visitor is a caterpillar. It has the look of a tent caterpillar and probably turns into some insignificant moth. This bug is at least 6 weeks early. It usually can be found on the bluebonnets after they have flowered and when the seed pods are quite far along in their development. I wonder if this coincides with birds hatching. if it does then it is going to be a lean year for the nestlings. This is the kind of damage they can do to the young plant.

Not only are the bluebonnets suffering from the lack of rain and caterpillars but yesterday I saw that some of the ones inside my walls were covered in red spider mites. I had to spray with Spinosad in the hope that this would reduce their numbers. 

The good bugs are lagging behind the bad bugs but here is one that is definitely a good one. A juvenile stage of the milkweed assassin bug Zelus longpipes. A few ladybugs are starting to show up. 


  1. What a beautiful arrangement of blooms! I also think that last bug photo is beautiful!

  2. Some of my bluebonnets have spider mites, too. It's happened before in dry years but never to the extent that they're suffering this year.

  3. Some of my bluebonnets are being munched, but no bug or caterpillar evidence have I found. Stealth attack.

    Thanks for IDing the juvenile assassin bug. I've seen those but didn't know what they were.

    Your flowers are lovely. I just collected a bouquet from my old garden too.

  4. Wow, your early spring bloom display is impressive with its variety and the fact that you obviously have some awesome, mature plants in your garden. I look forward to the day when my plants are mature enough that I can spare a bloom to cut and bring indoors. And thanks for the bug ID.

  5. What a lovely bouquet you were able to pick from the garden. I'm sorry your bluebonnets are taking a beating -- I hope you can keep the critters at bay.