Rain, and its consequences

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Great southern white male butterfly.

Caterpillars are feasting on the new growth that has appeared with the onset of our rainy season.  Gulf fritillaries, sulfurs and great southern whites are in the neighborhood, pirouetting and flitting, gliding and darting in the sun and shadows.  Chomped leaves are a part of the show and our native passion vine, Passiflora suberosa, as well as the purple-flowering Passiflora incarnata are filled with crawly life.

Alas, snails, too, are numerous, so it’s time to be vigilant: pick them off in the early morning; sink saucers filled with beer near vulnerable plants at the soil line; or carefully scatter a few mini-nuggets of Deadline around the base of aroids, amaryllis and other delectable and leafy plants. The mini-nuggets, which are toxic to pets, do not have to be applied in large amounts, just a few carefully scattered will do to catch snails but not the attention of the dog. But check often because they will disappear quickly in rainy weather and you’ll have to reapply them.

June brought heat stress to my back yard in the form of yellowing leaves. The garden looked more like an August garden than one of June.  Epsom salt and potassium nitrate, 2 tablespoons each in a gallon of water, can be sprayed on plants to help alleviate stress.

Meanwhile, the Fairchild mangoes are filling bowls in our kitchen with orbs of goodness. The ying and yang of summer.