Posts tagged with Gardens

Two Guests: One unwelcome; one welcome.

Yesterday while in my backyard with my camera I happened upon a not very welcome visitor to my Purple Cone Flower-a Japanese Beetle.

A not very welcome guest

Back East these are a serious pest of ornamentals but I had not seen them here in Lawrence before. The closest I have seen them is Arkansas-in fact I've blogged about them here:

Fortunately I have only seen the one so far.

The other visitor is much more welcome. I have been growing fennel in the hopes of getting Black Swallowtails to reproduce in my garden and finally this year got at least one larva.

Black swallowtail larva

And my favorite picture of this "cat:"

Black swallowtail larva 3

Actually I first noticed an adult Black swallowtail visiting my fennel before I found the larva.

Of course what makes part of what makes the Japanese Beetle unwelcome is partly that it is a pest. I suppose too that if I was raising fennel for cooking I might consider the swallowtail a pest as well. Indeed this one larva is probably going to pretty much destroy one of my fennel plants by the time it is grown.

This brings me to an interesting segment on yesterday's Science Friday. The biologists featured in the segment argue that much of our concern about non native species is misplaced and that many of these species are now part of our landscape. You can listen here while you are cooling off with a Gin and Tonic or what ever beverage floats your boat.

While I am on this topic, there is a controversy brewing about wild horse control. The standard view point about wild horses is that they are non native and thus need to be controlled. Of course horse lovers and animal rights people don't agree and some have pointed out that the horse WAS a part of the natural fauna in North America as recently as 11,000 years ago and indeed evolved in the New World. So are they really non native?

Read about that controversy at LiveScience or here at New Scientist-again while you cooling off with your favorite liquid refreshment.