Saturday, February 22, 2014

Black Bugs With Red Markings

I went out to take photos of emerging leaves and came across this little monster. It took a bit longer than expected to identify this guy on the web, but I eventually prevailed.

This is a "Bordered Plant Bug"
Largus succinctus

The bordered plant bug does eat juicy plant bits, but general consensus seems to be that it won't do too much damage to the garden as long as it doesn't show up in huge numbers.

Interesting to me is that the bordered plant bug is so similar to both the box elder bug (Boisea trivittata) and the red shouldered bug (Jadera haematoloma), both of which I came across in my research on the goldenrain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata). Red shouldered bugs in particular are so attracted to the goldenrain tree that they are sometimes referred to as goldenrain tree bugs. They are also commonly despised by people who have these unique and beautiful trees near their homes. It seems the biggest problem with all of these black and red buggies is their desire to overwinter inside your house. Then they crap all over your stuff and ... well, you get the idea.

So, this bug is more of a pest than a pal, but there are way worse bugs to worry about. I'm going to file this one under Nuisance: Kill on sight but don't begrudge the ones that get away ... and don't invite them in for tea.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Precious Snowfall

This right here is the first considerable snowfall we've had all winter! I'd better go knock some of that snow off the delicate branches of my upright juniper before the weight splays them out too far. My skinny little potted bamboo is looking rather weighed down, too. Fortunately, most of the plants in my yard don't mind a little snow accumulation. This weeping Norway spruce is all bent over because it was trained to grow that way. The snow only accentuates the shape. In fact, this little tree has never looked more beautiful to me than it does now.

Ah, snow!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Not Exactly The Garden Show

Wednesday was the first day of the Northwest Flower & Garden Show and Hubby and I had tickets. I drove us up to Seattle that morning and promptly got us caught in the Seahawks parade traffic. Just exiting the freeway took a ridiculously long time. By the time we'd gotten downtown, all of the parking garages were full. All of them. Vacant parking spaces had ceased to exist ... and probably hadn't existed for hours. Without anyplace to leave our car, there was just no way we were going to get to see the garden show that day. Hours of unplanned-for travel time had already been subtracted from the total amount of time we would've been able to spend at the show. The first of the seminars I'd wanted to attend had already started. The show was going on without us! And here we were, barely moving but unable to stop.


Eventually, I found myself turning a blind corner onto ... a northbound ramp to the freeway! Freedom regained, Plan B was suddenly born. To the University Village we would go. To drink tea and eat gourmet cupcakes and peruse the shops until we got bored. Our tickets were still good for any one day of the garden show. We could go tomorrow! Everything was going to be just fine.

... And while we were at the U Village, we saw what goodies Ravenna Gardens has to offer in the wintertime. We pored over the heucheras and the hellebores and the ferns and the false cypresses. We flipped through the books on hiking and vegetable growing and backyard chicken raising. We admired the fancy gardening tools and the artful glass containers and the expensive potting sheds. Ah, what luxury!

Then we snapped pictures of a few of the container plantings around the Village before we headed back home to sleep. See? It was like our own little garden show ... just not the garden show.

Ferns 'n' stuff. A warm-looking combo in the bright sun of a freezing winter afternoon.
Evidence that heuchera can be a great filler and spiller in a container. Bit of a purple theme here.
Christmas camellia, ivy and black mondo grass. Great contrast.
Hellebores aaaaand ... not sure if those are dogwoods or japanese maples. Brilliant neon winter bark, anyway.

Then off home and to bed we went, plans for the morrow planted firmly in our minds. Goodnight, Seattle! We'll be seeing you again very soon.