Posts Tagged With: sphinx moth

A Couple of Plants for a Supermoon Garden: a marvelous night for a moon dance

Sunset.  TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

Sunset. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the sun begins to sit in the west and summer temperatures wane, you may venture into the garden and wish there was more to enjoy while the temperatures are a bit cooler.

September Super Moon high in the sky. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

September Super Moon high in the sky. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In fact, you may venture into the garden after dark, when the moon is high in the sky! Just in time for the September Supermoon, my moonflowers are finally coming into their own.

Moonflower. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

Moonflower. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moonflower, Ipomea alba, is one of my favorite night blooming vines. Though I noted mine are not fragrant (though many report it to be), they are very pretty from dusk (about 6 p.m.) until sunrise.  This is one annual vine I don’t mind tending to. In fact, I am collecting seed for next year as the flower pods dry and the seed is set. (Look for fat brownish pods at the base of the flower (moonflower has a very long style that leads to the ovary where the seeds form).  You can pick seed up most anywhere, but this past winter I purchased mine from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Missouri.

Moonflower. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

Moonflower. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I plant some vines near my front porch, some near my back patio and some out on the trellis that connects two of my raised beds. I want to give myself and anyone else visiting the garden the best chance to see these beauties.

Moonflower. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

Moonflower. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The moonflower photo above was taken about 10:00 p.m. at night. Moonflower is in the same family (Convulvulaceae) as morning glory, cardinal climber vine, and a few you probably cuss for popping up in your garden.  The Missouri Botanical Garden provides good information on moonflower. Last night I was literally walking around at Midnight, in My Garden of Good and Evils. In fact, I went out barefoot and without a flashlight, holding just my camera. This proved to be a chuckle-worthy mistake as I stepped on something that moved and proceeded to spook myself (of course I had been watching Ghost Adventures and the Dead Files). Talk about a funny moon dance: when you step on something unseen and squishy that moves under your feet and you jump out of your skin.

Hedychium coronarium Butterfly Ginger. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

Hedychium coronarium Butterfly Ginger. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to moonflower, hummingbird ginger (Hedychium coronarium) is a highly fragrant, white blooming perennial that is lovely day and night.  I was excited to find it in my south Mississippi patio garden when I moved into my house. White flowers seem to “glow” a bit more in the moonlight. Moon gardens are a fun way to extend your garden enjoyment, especially if you are into evening entertaining! The University of Florida Extension Service has a nice page on this ginger.

Sphinx moth on Hedychium coronarium Butterfly Ginger. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2012_RStafne_web

Sphinx moth on Hedychium coronarium Butterfly Ginger. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2012_RStafne_web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be still as you observe fragrant flowers in your night garden and you might see the impressive hummingbird or sphinx moth (yes, it’s the more unique and somewhat beautiful adult form of the tomato hornworm!) as pictured above. This moth also loves my evening blooming four o’ clocks (Mirabilis spp.). Sadly, the winter of 2014 claimed my nightblooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum), but fear not, for replacement is ahead for 2015. Check it out on Dave’s Garden.

The next time you look out onto your garden from your recliner, get up, put your shoes on, and remember as Van Morrison sings “It’s a marvelous night for a moon dance”.

“Well, it’s a marvelous night for a Moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
‘Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I’m trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
And all the night’s magic seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush”

Don’t forget, I’m on FB, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube…so click the links at the top of the page. Tales from the Hort Side is my FB fan page. Go ahead and give me a “like”.

The Garden Maiden 🙂

All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden

Advertisements
Categories: Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

One-eyed, One-horned, Flying Purple People Eater: tomato hornworms have arrived.

Tomato hornworm. Image by The Garden Maiden, copyright 2014.

Tomato hornworm. Image by The Garden Maiden, copyright 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EWWWW! I have been keeping watch for their arrival.  Then I spotted one. Then I spotted another and another! A total of three hornworms on two different potted tomato plants in my garden. They have arrived. Manduca quinquemaculata!!

It always seems to go that way. I don’t see them at all. Then I see one and suddenly my eye is trained for hornworm spotting and I see them everywhere.

They’re gross.  I’m really not too icky about insects and spiders, but tomato hornworms are gross. I hate to touch them. Several years ago I bought a pair of plastic, giant, tweezers in the kitchen department at a local store. I just hang them on my tomato cages during the season so I can pull the hornworms off. I also use them for picking squash bugs off my pumpkins and other squash.

Tomato hornworm. Image by The Garden Maiden, copyright 2014.

Tomato hornworm. Image by The Garden Maiden, copyright 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m afraid of that horn thing. And when I see it, I think about one my favorite childhood songs, One-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eater…sure looks strange to me. Now, I know everyone says they can’t sting or poke your with it but I’m not taking any chances. I recently stepped barefooted onto the bristles of another large larvae/caterpillar that a bird dropped onto my patio and it stung like the dickens. I mean OUCH.  I’ll have to do another post about that caterpillar as I have found three in my yard.

I’m also a HUGE Halloween freak, so I love this song each fall. You might be thinking, but it doesn’t fly…but the moth who laid the egg sure does! Actually the large moths (known as sphinx or hummingbird moths) are quite mesmerizing and I have observed them at length among my four o’clocks in the evening.

Sphinx or hummingbird moth at night in my garden. Image by The Garden Maiden, copyright 2014.

Sphinx or hummingbird moth at night in my garden. Image by The Garden Maiden, copyright 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One time, while an undergraduate student at the University of Missouri, I found a hornworm pupa in the soil where I was digging. I put it in a glass vial filled with alcohol for my entomology class and stuck it in the pocket of my leather vest. I immediately forgot it was there. Some weeks later, I crushed the pocked, the vial, and the pupa all over my vest.  Yes, I still have the vest. And there is still a slight stain on the pocket.  The moral of this story? Don’t put pupa or worms in your pocket or they may have the last laugh on you.

Before killing and disposing of the worms that I find, I check to see if they have been parasitized by the braconid wasp, Cotesia congregatus. (see Univ of MN link below for image) If they are, I put them somewhere where they can’t access my plants and then hope the beneficial wasps will hatch and start eating more of the hornworms in my garden. Otherwise, I sometimes leave them out where the birds can find them or drop them in a bucket of soapy water.  I have about 30 tomato plants this year and I would never spray or apply powders for this many plants.  If I had to I would use the most organic option available. Just check them about twice a week and remove as soon as you see them because they will de-leaf your plants quickly.  The University of Minnesota Extension Service has a good website with information about these common, annual pests.

If your eyes have a hard time finding these green boogers, look for their brown poop droppings or stems that are stripped of leaves.

Tomato hornworm damage. Image by The Garden Maiden, copyright 2014.

Tomato hornworm damage. Image by The Garden Maiden, copyright 2014.

Grab your hand lens to observe these critters up close. Their mouth parts are so cool and/or hideous depending on your take. This is a great observation for kids too! Its a good opportunity to teach about the lifecycle of insects and the difference between insect pests and beneficials.

Tomato hornworm. Image by The Garden Maiden, copyright 2014.

Tomato hornworm. Image by The Garden Maiden, copyright 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay cool out there and KEEP ON GROWIN’,

The Garden Maiden

P.S. Before I submitted this post, I went back outside to re-check my plants. Guess what? after a few minutes of observation, I found another! Gotcha!!

 

Tomato hornworm. Image by The Garden Maiden, copyright 2014.

Tomato hornworm. Image by The Garden Maiden, copyright 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden

 

 

Categories: Garden Insects, Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment
Pollinator Gardens.org

Enhancing pollinator habitat through research, education and design

Keep Mississippi Beautiful

Working to inspire and educate Mississippians to take action everyday to impact, improve, and beautify their community environment.

Easy Wildflowers

Wild flowers from The Forest of Dean

Always Growing

A garden is good for both body and soul

In the Garden with Arkansas Extension Horticulture

Welcome to In the Garden with Arkansas Extension Horticulture, a blog about gardening in Arkansas.

From Lynn's Garden

An NWA Garden Writer's Garden Blog

%d bloggers like this: