Sunday, October 13, 2013

Suburban preserve

Family was outside inspecting the longish grass and the first fallen maple leaves when we noticed some caterpillars on the carrot tops; beautiful little black & white striped fellows with orange dots on the black stripes. You know it fills me with joy to think I have helped create and maintain a productive environment for nature. I guess from now on I will be buying carrot seeds annually. Anyway, after an online search we discovered the caterpillars were immature Black Swallowtail Butterflies somewhere midpoint in their metamorphosis. Now I hope the weather stays temperate enough for them to live to be butterflies...

Adult Black Swallowtail
We have warmed up again to about 23C/75F, but I think it is only a temporary since nighttime temperatures drop as low as 12C/55F. Windows are wide open here and the attic fan runs in the evening, so refreshing. My electric bill had been expensive even with all the conservation methods I have implemented. I anticipate next month's bill with be much more reasonable.

The weather is still dry since all the predicted rain never showered. I will need to water the gardens if we remain rainless. The tomatoes have slowed down their ripening but there are still plenty of fruit hanging on each plant. Our few pepper plants have probably finished their productive cycle as they are yellowing.

Backyard Reykjavik
 I have been scattering some zinnia seeds as they dry out. This week I plan to transplant some of the iris bulbs to make room for some low maintenance Knockout rose bushes. As I age and tend to travel, I need to consider limiting the amount of yard maintenance that needs to be done regularly, especially weeding and weed whacking. Colorful bushes are an excellent distraction to passerby eyes, so perhaps the not so fine edges will be overlooked. As you all know, I do not subscribe to perfection gardening, I am just trying to eliminate my lawn and support the honeybees. Next year I plan to install "honeybee pollination & protection preserve" signs strategically around the front yard.

If I had my way I'd install a short privacy fence and let the lawn grow like Icelanders do. Longer grass really doesn't look bad especially when you intersperse flowers. Truly I would rather spend mower gas money on my car. I doubt the yard inspectors in my town will go for it though.

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