Monday, May 17, 2010


This morning I was talking to my neighbor about a coral snake that had been seen in another neighbors garden. As I walked through the gate there was this Eastern Black-Neck Garter snake. They are fairly common around here but this is by far the largest I have seen. A few minutes later I came across another snake, this time in the garage. It was much smaller and possibly a juvenile garter snake. I wonder if it had anything to do with a little frog I saw hopping in the garage the other night. It is one of their favorite foods. Yes, it's that time. Warm enough for snakes and tarantulas and scorpions. I need to make sure I don't leave the door open. Not that closed doors stops the scorpions. I killed one in the living room the other night.

The first flowers opened on the ice plant I started from seed. It is Delosperma floribunda 'stardust' The color isn't quite as vibrant as I had hoped for but it should do well planted in one of the spaces in the sunken garden. The pelleted seeds arrived in a tiny capsule and I had little hope that they would germinate. They did and I have six plants.

I almost missed this group of lace cactus. I was busy removing bluebonnet seeds in the front granite area. It was hiding underneath bluebonnets and zexmania.

The flowers at the top of the now 7' stalk on the Manfreda sileri, finally started to open. Not very interesting I'm afraid.

Now here's a horn worm with a difference. Anyone have an id on him. He's busy eating the Missouri primrose leaves and looks as though he is about to burst. Caterpillars in general seem to be quite drawn to the leaves of the primrose including the pink evening primrose. The furry caterpillars have stripped all the leaves from those plants leaving only the seeds! Smart move on nature's part. I did finally break down and spray the tomatoes with bt. There were just too many hornworms this year.

Finally we watched a young mud dauber emerge from the adobe nest by the kitchen door. He ran up and down the wall drying out his wings and finally made his first attempt at flight. Just a short one, but long enough to know he needed to dry out some more. I think we can finally remove it from the wall.


  1. That's one fat cater! Jenny, is it you who asked about the Phillapine Violet? I went to prune the Artemesia and found one that made it through the winter! Being a lazy-late pruner has worked well for me this year!

  2. That is a big worm. If they weren't so distructive, this one would be 'pretty'. Not sure what he is.

    I have some furry ones, here. Black fur, with a gold body. They're eating the salvias, and some bean leaves. I don't think I've seen their kind before.

    My 'Texas Bug Book' doesn't give me any information. In fact, it seldom does. Maybe I need a different book.

    At least, we haven't seen any snakes or scorpions here, yet.


  3. It looks like a White-Lined Sphinx Moth caterpillar. Here is a link to a photo:". The moth is pretty interesting looking, too. I think I've seen it before. Here is a pic.

  4. fun. Snakes. Haven't seen any outside...just the one that was in our house. And I've yet to see a scorpion (though a coworker told me I have to have them in my yard), and the only tarantula I've seen was crossing Spicewood Springs Road. Which happened to be the same day when I saw a cockroach climbing around on the passenger window of my car. On the inside. FUN!

  5. Sorry, but I just had to come back here and comment more on your caterpillar. I've seen the adult moth on a few occasions, flitting above flowers like a hummingbird. At first, I thought they were weird hummingbirds! They dart around pretty quickly and hover in the same way. We saw them in Colorado first, and just recently saw them on flowers at a local nursery. They are considered beneficial because they are useful pollinators!

  6. I am so freaked out by snakes since Frisky was bitten last Fall by a rattler--IN OUR FRONT YARD!!! I need to learn more about them, although knowledge may not be powerful enough to keep fear at bay.

  7. Conscious gardener- Isn't he a fatty! I'm glad your PV survived. I thought mine was a goner but it is starting to put out leaves.I hope it flowers this year.
    patchwork- I have never seen so many caterpillars as this year. tens of the furry brown ones. It would be nice to think that they turned into something pretty but I doubt it.
    Joseph- Thanks for the id. I would like to see the moth. I always have the hummingbird, sphinx moth but they lay eggs on the tomatoes. Don't like them. They appear in the spring when the columbines are out. Now they are few and far between. I will look out for the distinct coloration.
    Morning Glories- I would be freaked out by a rattler, or cottonmouth or water moccasin too. These are harmless. The coral snake met its match with our neighbor. He has a dog!! Say no more.

  8. This is the second post about snakes I've read this week. YIKES!
    Although, garter snakes aren't so bad. That is a chubby caterpillar! I'm always leery about doing away with the unknowns...I feel terrible when I've destroyed a beneficial or beautiful insect.

  9. teresa o- I'm with you. I do like to get an id first.

  10. Man that Garter snake is a big one. You know that there is some belief that all snakes are poisonous. I watch the Garter snakes and the Red Striped Ribbon snakes grab the Leopard Frogs around the ponds. It's always by the leg and they just hang on until the frog can hardly move and then work it on down. Something sure makes the frog limp.

    I am having the same caterpiller explosion here, and all kinds. The furry ones are just every where.

    Tell David to look up the Statesman outdoor page on line for last Thursday. The Last page. There is an article on fly fishing he might be interested in. It's about me. Leggett got a few things wrong but overall it's OK. See you on Saturday.

  11. I found my first hornworm caterpillar this weekend, so I'm getting a glimpse at what you've been going through. It's so hard to have to decide between the moths we enjoy and saving the veggies from their caterpillars.
    Great snake pic.

  12. I've also had the white-lined sphinx caterpillars and moths here, Jenny- the moths like to hang out on Moonflower vines at night. I hope you get to see one & catch a photo!

    Ah yes, scorpions in the living room ...we had them at the last house & they liked to hang out near the water/ice dispenser on the refrigerator. It sure stopped us from walking around barefoot in the dark!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  13. I just found a hornworm like yours on my evening primrose plants ... was wondering what kind of moth it becomes, also. I've seen lots of hornworms before this one, but none had this pattern ... kind of pretty ...