Dirty Pots

I like to collect McCoy planters and others from that same genre.  Most of the pots I buy are dirty.

Some with a lot of dirt.  Even the cat thinks they are funky.

I have never tried to clean them.  I’m not sure why they are sold dirty, but I like to think about the previous owners and what they planted in them.

Sometimes I can find pots were never used and look new.  Collecting this pottery is so popular that there is a McCoy Pottery Collector’s Society and Martha Stewart has an extensive collection and featured it on one of her shows.

I enjoy decorating with them and have used them for a plant or two in the past.  The planters with the bows on them were purchased in different parts of the county years apart and are a perfect match.  Maybe some day when my pots are resold, someone else will be questioning the dirt issue.


A Killer

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When this flying creature is spotted, one’s first thought is to run from the world’s biggest bee. This flying killer makes the human heart jump, but thankfully it is only cicadas that this wasp  (Sphecius speciosus) is after.

Commonly called Cicada Killers, the females hunt and sting cicadas to feed their offspring in nests that are burrowed 10 to 20 inches into soft soil.   The eggs and larvae overwinter and emerge in June and early July.

I first noticed these flying beasts a few years ago. I have to say they are very scary and make a loud buzz. I once saw one carrying a cicada on a pine tree.  Neighbors have complained about knocking at their doors that turned out to be the Cicada Killers.

I got a lucky shot of this wasp with my cell phone.  The Cicada Killers are only up to 2 inches long, but I swear this one was at least 3 inches as she flew around checking me out.

The Cicada Killers do not hurt humans unless they are handled roughly.  I’m not sure who would really want to handle them. I prefer to just let them fly by.


Digging Cicada Hunter

I was working in a bed and noticed something had been digging holes. Of course, I immediately blamed the squirrels for messing up my garden.

Then I hear a loud buzzing sound.  A three inch Cicada Hunter flew to the ground with a cicada in its clutches and popped down the hole before I could get my phone to snap a photo.  I did get the tail end of the cicada being dragged into the nest.

Even though the wasp is huge, I can’t believe the amount of dirt it dug. The wasp threw out enough soil to reach about 12 inches from the hole.  The Killer Wasp is a very impressive excavator.

 


Monster at the Door

This creature was on the door mat.  It is big and ugly at first glance, but once the photo is enlarged, its beautiful colors emerge.

This big bug is a cicada and somehow found its way out of a tree.  I thought it was dead, so naturally I poked it and discovered there was still some life in it.  Later, it managed to crawl to a safer location.

Two more related posts are coming up.

 


Garden Happenings

There is nothing like starting the day being greeted by a happy Mexican Sunflower drenched in morning sunlight.

 

 

In my wooded area I came across ten or more Cicada Hunters.  They look like the world’s largest bees, but  they didn’t pay any attention to me and I was able to stand among them to snap a photo.  In the front yard I found a Rosy Wolf Snail shell.  It was a large one and the snail probably lived a long life.

 

There has been a new hatching of baby lizards and they are everywhere.  The other night when we arrived home in the dark, we were first greeted by a juvenile toad and in the corner of the brick pillar, a Carolina Wren was tucked away for the night.  I haven’t gotten a photo this year, but Pileated Woodpeckers have been announcing their arrival to the garden.

Why and what did this?  Some critter made a neat little path through my Balsam Impatiens bed.  It is always hard to leave the the garden and after some time away, the weeds took over a bed.

And now the weird and amazing.  I found mushrooms growing in a bag of compost.  I had planned to use it months ago, it never happened and the mushrooms grew.  Plants just can’t be stopped.


Summer Bloomers

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The summer heat is on and we are looking at 102f degrees (actual temperature) for the next few days.  Thankfully, some of my faithful flowers can take the heat.

The Texas Star Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) greets me from my kitchen window each morning.  Yes, we do like to name as many things “Texas” as we can.  I recently found out that George Washington also grew this plant. He probably didn’t call it Texas Star.

The Black Eyed Susan is a reseeding annual and can pop up anywhere in the garden.  I never mind volunteers and just transplant them back in their beds.

The seeds for this Cleome are from my father, who always called them Spider Plants.

Many bloggers have shown photos of Purple Cone Flowers.  I just have one hanging on, as the deer and rabbits ate most of the flowers.

Butterfly Weed is ready and waiting for the Monarch Butterflies.

I was in total awe when I first saw a Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana), I had never seen a plant like it.  Now, it happily fills my garden from a cutting given to me by my mother-in-law.

 

 

 


Zigging and Zagging

I love the zigzag web this spider makes.  The zigzag is call a stabilimentum and the web radiates out from it. The spider is the yellow garden spider (Argiop aurantia).  This one is probably a female as she is really large.  The spider eats bugs, as well as small green anoles and geckos.  I almost always have one on the potted plants next to the porch.