23 JulBiggest Praying Mantis Ever!

Megamantis
Megamantis

This is by far the largest praying mantis I have ever seen in my yard – about 5 inches long! She was hiding in the cannas, no doubt feasting on lots of obnoxious bugs. One of the nice things about praying mantids is that they will stay put while you run to get the camera and bring everyone in the family out to look.

20 JulHelpful Resources On Geranium Disease

Here are two interesting articles about diseases of pelargoniums:

Geranium Diseases – Identification and Control in Landscapes and Indoor Settings

Diseases of Geranium

Of course, nobody wants to think about this stuff. Unless you have a greenhouse full of geraniums, why bother? The thing that really caught my attention was the emphasis on prevention. These nasty problems can be so easily prevented with good plant culture:

  • Start with clean pots and clean soil
  • Leave room between plants for proper air circulation
  • Water the soil, not the leaves
  • Water early in the day
  • Remove diseased plants and plant parts quickly
  • Excellent drainage

17 JulInsect Activity

What is this stuff?
What is this stuff?

Every now and then I find this stuff lined up on a leaf stem – this time on Pelargonium ‘Sandalwood’. I think it is some kind of insect output, like eggs or something. I don’t think it is scale or mealy because it looks too ‘organized’ and is not anywhere else on the plant. Any ideas?

16 JulGetting Back To Normal

Praying Mantis on Pelargonium 'Lime'
Praying Mantis on Pelargonium ‘Lime’

This week I’ve been moving the potted plants out of the jungle on the side patio and back to their normal location on the back patio. Grouping the pots as we did gave the spiders a lovely place to build their webs, so all the pots were cleaned off with a wisk broom. All the plants needed some grooming, too.

I was delighted to find a particularly plump praying mantis on the Lime Geranium. Is it too much to hope it’s a female soon to lay eggs?

13 JulErodium Disaster

Nearly dead erodium - Oh, the Horror!
Nearly dead erodium – Oh, the Horror!

Most of my container plants survived vacation nicely, but not the Erodium. Just a few weeks ago, it was lush and full. But while I was gone, it died a mysterious death – almost. There are still some live plantlets in the pot. I am moving them to new pots with fresh soil. The reason I say the death was mysterious is that sitting right next to this pot was another pot of Erodium and it is still vigorous and happy!

No problems here!
Erodium reichardii ‘Lisa’

Erodium is a genus of the family Geraniaceae.

09 JulJuliet Tomatoes

Juliet tomatoes
Juliet tomatoes

This is how I found my Juliet tomato bush after vacation – and what better way to find it! Juliet is a “grape” tomato, actually larger than a grape, but smaller than a Roma. They are very meaty and tasty and seem to do well in hot weather.

09 JulVacation Plant Survival

Container plants were grouped to catch spray from sprinkers
Container plants were grouped to catch spray from sprinkers

We are back home from our travels. After checking on the guinea pigs and killing a massive spider in the sink, I headed outside to see about the garden – especially the geraniums. I was amazed at how well the container plants had come through the experience. Here’s what we did:

The week before we left, my husband checked the sprinker system to make sure we had good spray coverage. We grouped the container plants on a small side patio, tallest in the center. As you can see, we came home to a jungle.

Welcome to the jungle
Welcome to the jungle

I also took a selection of smaller potted plants over to my Mom’s house for her to watch. This was to avoid having a “single point of failure”. The geraniums that she kept are okay, too, of course. I was tickled to find that Pelargonium ‘Old Scarlet Unique’ and P. ionidiflorum were both still blooming even though temperatures hit 110 while we were gone! These geraniums are going to stay with her for a couple more days while I get caught up with myself.

06 JulViva La Okra!

Okra!
Okra!

Okra tantilizes from its throne on the plant, unaware of the deep-fried fate that awaits.

03 JulEntryway Lantana

Cheerfully blooming lantana
Cheerfully blooming lantana

This lantana was growing in a planter near the entryway at my husband’s cousin’s house in Austin. I thought it was an especially nice choice because of its sweet scent. I seem to have a habit of going around and smelling things. ;)

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An army of armadillos
An army of armadillos

A ghostly army of stampeding armadillos decorates the outside of Threadgill’s on Barton Springs Road in Austin, TX. This restaurant stands very, very near the location of the well-loved and long-gone Armadillo World Headquarters.

We are still on vacation in Texas. We took the kids to Schlitterbahn, a water park, in New Braunfels. Then we went to Austin to visit family and touch base with our redneck hippy roots.

Scary bug
Scary bug

Aren’t you glad your garden isn’t infested with these? This bug resides outside Threadgill’s as well. It used to be a sign for an Austin exterminator company and was frequently “kidnapped”.

Have you ever seen so many pink flamingos?
Have you ever seen so many pink flamingos?

This flock was sighted at Hwy. 360 and Bee Cave Rd. I think if it weren’t for the flamingos, nobody would ever notice the nursery on the corner.

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