Friday, August 22, 2008

How I made a Mosquito Habitat and Another Use for Monkeys

I put an umbrella sedge in a large low bucket of water to get it ready to plant in the bog garden. It has rained a lot lately and there is standing water in the bucket. I took a look at it today and the water was full of mosquito larvae. I have mosquitofish (Gambusia Affinis) in my little water garden. I started with three and now have too many. So I stand over the little water garden with a cup trying to catch a few mosquitofish to put into the other container.
Middle Monkey asks, "What are you doing?".
Me, "Trying to catch a mosquitofish."
Him, "Move over I can do it for you."
Me, "Have you done this before?"
Him,"Yep, whenever you're not looking."
So he caught me a couple of mosquitofish and put them in the other container. They went right to work eating the mosquito larvae. These little fish should not be set free in streams or ponds, as they will out compete native fish. They breed fast. For my little water garden, they do a great job. They are supposed to be able to survive low oxygen saturation and high salinity. Pretty interesting critter.
If you ever need a critter caught, get a 10-year-old boy. They have amazing patience.
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We Have a Real Survivor

Nature seems to be able to recover from anything.
This is a picture of my first ox blood lily (Rhodophiala bifida).

A few weeks ago, our neighbors had an old alleyway between our homes cleaned out. It had to be done. I allowed them to start halfway down my fence line beyond my passion vine. There were dead hack berry trees, one of which had fallen on the next door neighbors' fence. There are wild figs, which were saved. The entire length of the alleyway was covered in junk saplings and poison ivy.
The landscape crew cleaned it all out and then sprayed everything with Roundup. What is left is scorched earth. It will take a long time for this area to recover, yet the little oxblood lilies are coming right up as if nothing happened. Nature is amazing.
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The Saddest Thing I've Ever Seen

I am a bad gardener, very very bad. I dug up this plant from a fellow gardeners plot and planted it up in a container. I thought it was a coleus. It seemed to hate the sun so I moved it to the shade.
It turned yellow and became infested with mealy bugs.
Today, I was at the Xeric Garden in Forney and there was my plant, three and a half feet tall and a beautiful purple. It is a Parilla. It needs to be in full sun and is absolutely too big to be grown in the container I put it in. Why in the world didn't I just ask what the heck it was and learn how to take care of it. My friend had gotten her plant when it reseeded itself at the Xeric Garden. Right now my poor little plant is sitting in the sink. I had to give it a shower to get rid of the mealy bugs. It is going in the ground in the front flowerbed this evening. It will get full on sun until about 2:oo pm and then afternoon shade.
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