Thursday, August 30, 2007

In the garden this week:
* A yellow crab spider lying in wait on one of the blanket flowers. Apparently crab spiders can change color to blend in with their surroundings--all the better to surprise prey with, my dear. Crab spiders are so called because hold their four front legs (two on each side) apart so they look just like crabs.
* Two tiny bees, also on the blanket flower. I think they may be alfalfa bees, but I've come to doubt that identification a little. I usually only see one at a time so I was proud to have gathered two.
* My first halictid bee--they have lovely iridescent green backs. Speaking of iridescent green, I'm truly in love with green fruit beetles. They're huge, they're slow, they sound like B-12 bombers. They're about the size of my thumb, if not bigger, and they're always a pleasure to see or hear. Apparently they're attracted to rotting fruit (their food source), so they're common around compost piles.
* The regular bees have been doing good work pollinating the watermelon vines. Closed up shop on most of the other vegetables, just because everything was so overgrown and messy. Will get raised beds going soon and restart.
* The comfrey I planted was mowed down in today's sprinkler-related garden cleanup. We'll see if it's really as sturdy as it's said to be or if it dies back.
* Have to remember to order another raspberry vine. Realized I've had the blackberry vines going for almost a year, so we're coming up upon the year of fruit. Very exciting. The raspberries have been a rousing success; eat them out of hand just standing there in the yard--a great pleasure.
* Going to plant fruit trees in the front yard, and maybe an orange tree in the backyard. I love the motto of SurviveLA...if it needs water, you better be able to eat it. The wildflowers I've planted are all pretty water-wise, and everything else is more or less edible, so I'm feeling good about the garden.
* Crazy front yard plan of the moment is to turn the whole thing into a lavender field (plus fruit trees) (and maybe sage). Again, I just worry about the spot under the damn carob tree. Hmmm...I wonder if I good landscape architect could figure out what to do with that. Maybe it just needs to be a fountain or a sitting area or something...
* We need new side gates. Aiming for wood in hopes that it's tasteful, more opaque and less ghetto fabulous than our current metal monstrosities.
* Bought three all-purpose five-gallon buckets at Home Depot. If I have time I will drop them off at the local Peet's Coffee to collect their leftover grounds. Among other things, lifting five gallon buckets of coffee grounds is a good resistance training exercise. Also, lots of compostable material resulted from today's cleanup, and the coffee grounds always get the earthworms doing their part. Might actually need more browns for once...
* For honey bees, African blue basil flowers appear to be the functional equivalent of crack.

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