Spring Exuberance

For Sundays in My City, I could put up a picture of a bag of composted steer manure as I’ve been working hard to get the garden ready for vegetable planting.  “What are you doing in your neck of the woods? Hauling dirt, compost and manure.”  Interesting? Not so much.

 

I’ll focus on more fun things instead. A friend had given me this plant and I have no idea what it is – posting it to one of the garden sites and will come back and update if anyone can help me out (they did – it’s Billbergia Nutans Queen Anne’s Tears). It really is these colors – the blue, lime green, yellow stamens and brilliant hot pink. One of the odder plants I’ve ever seen. Here it is in bud – so striking.  Most of the year, it’s simply plain green and spiky.

 

Continuing my lizard theme from last week (that was a California Alligator Lizard) – appears they look for places to “snag” their old skin when they shed it. This one was tangled up amongst the wisteria.

I’d also found a complete skin in 3 parts. I need to link this pic to a friend who does pottery and likes to make odd things to see if I should mail it to her – she’ll probably come up with something fantastic. Lots of ewww factor for me. I could hold it with a paper towel and put the fabric it was laid out on in the sink with heavy duty detergent first then into the washer. It creeped me out a tad.

 

More creepiness. I’ve not caught the eyes on these little buggers in photos. They move pretty quickly and can be hard to capture. Carpenter bees are generally considered beneficial insects because they help pollinate various crop and non-crop plants. But, they do bore holes in wood and must be controlled (using the preventive measures wherever possible).

Looks like I better get on it and do some exploring of the painted wood of the house near the Goldflame honeysuckle. It’s always covered in them. They’re a bit bigger than bumblebees and all black or mostly black. Supposedly, even pressure-treated wood isn’t immune from their activity.

 

Happily, do no harm bumblebees also enjoy the flora and fauna out this way. You’ll see the Carpenter bees, bumblebees and those smaller bees all buzzing the same shrub, our native ceonothus, a.k.a. California lilac. They cover a lot of the hillsides. The wild ones get kinda rangy with long limbs and growth mostly at the tips. I try to chop the ones closer to the house in half every year or so to keep them fuller.

 

For pretty, The Dutch iris are in bloom. Every spring, I’ve become enamored of all the differing flowers and blooms again. It’s always such a welcome burst of life after winter.

And, for those of you with questions about bugs, homes and gardens, I highly recommend checking out  University of California at Davis Integrated pest management – IPM. They’ll recommend preventative maintenance first and least toxic methods for bug control.

This post is participating in Sundays in My City.

9 comments on “Spring Exuberance

  1. Keetha says:

    Beautiful pictures. I find the lizzard skins fascinating – – – if I had to peel out of my skin whole, I’d need to wedge up against a bunch of branches too, wouldn’t you?

  2. BLOGitse says:

    It would be great to get rid of old skin every now and then… 🙂

  3. Gorgeous shot of your iris.

  4. Beautiful pictures! Especially the iris!

  5. Maggie says:

    Thanks Betsy – good to “see” you again 🙂

  6. unknownmami says:

    That first plant is really beautiful. The colors are crazy.

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