April Means Species Tulips

Species tulips seem to vary in their tastiness, at least according to the rabbits in my yard. The ends of the leaves to the right of the Tulipa persica flowers look like someone took an experimental nibble and decided against them.

Tulipa persica is coming into its own in its new sunnier spot. Photographed on April 25, 2019.

Continue reading “April Means Species Tulips”


We’ve got rabbits. Hungry, hungry rabbits. The blue fescue looks like a cartoon character with a disastrous haircut.

Photograph of rabbit damage to blue fescue.
The ornamental blue fescue has been badly damaged by hungry rabbits. They have eaten most of the crown. Photographed January 23, 2018.

If you are wondering how I can be so sure of the culprits, look carefully in the lower lefthand corner of the photograph above. They left their single positive contribution to the garden—bunny poop does not burn plants the way chicken bedding will. I have also spotted at least one gangly rabbit at the bird feeder at night. This rabbit eats the safflower seed that the birds have dropped. Continue reading “Rabbits”

Tomato Hornworms!

Not my favorite creatures; they get way too big—at least four inches or so—and they are way too squishy looking. I minored in entomology when I was in college because I was so afraid of bugs. I figured knowing more should help. It did. This caterpillar would have scared me silly as a teenager; now they’re just rather gross and ridiculously hard to spot.

A tomato hornworm at rest. This caterpillar is upside down hanging on to the petiole with prolegs. The true legs are tiny, and the caterpillar’s head is curled up next to them. Photographed July 18, 2017.

They are very well disguised. The first hint of trouble is a tomato leaf reduced to its central petiole—a leafless leaf poking out of the plant. It takes quite a bit of looking because the caterpillar looks like a somewhat rolled-up tomato leaflet, like the one right below the caterpillar’s head in the photograph. The white diagonal lines on its sides register to the human eye as the veins on the back of the tomato leaf.

According to the University of Minnesota’s Extension, the best way to get rid of them is to pluck them off the plant and drop them in soapy water. I pluck the leaf with the caterpillar and bury them deep in the weeds in the [covered] compost bin that can go out weekly. It’s going out this week.

Happily, I only see one or two a year, only some years, and very little damage. I wish I could say that about asparagus beetles.