Thursday, June 10, 2010

Creatures in the Garden : Centipedes, Cats, Rats

My son is becoming a great naturalist and garden buddy.  On the weekend, he found a really cool centipede (it turns out it is a millipede - see comments section) in the garden.  I don't remember ever seeing this one before:
Pretty black and yellow millipede : Boraria stricta
The day after he spotted it, I was weeding in the upper corner of my yard among the monarda patch, and was surprised to discover the same type of centipede - perhaps even the same one.  This evening, I was again out weeding, this time in my new garden path area, and found that centipede again.  I called down to David, who was in the lower yard, and he said he also had one down there, and proudly carried it on his shovel to show it to me.  So there are at least two of this gorgeous creature in my yard.  I hope to see more of them!

Yellow and black millipede (not centipede) : Boraria stricta
Then after letting the centipede go, he proceeded to pick out the grasses and weeds growing between the concrete blocks of our outdoor chess board. Later he took the hose on "jet" setting, and blasted more weeds out of the cracks.  What a fine garden helper he is growing to be.

My daughter April is less inclined to anything in the garden. But she came out and visited me for a while, with her pet rat, Sam. I like this photo of them, sitting in the new garden path area.  April is excited to have "flip flops" this year (I previously frowned on such "dangerous" footwear but she's now old enough to handle them), so she changes into them at every opportunity.
April and Sam in the garden
Speaking of the new garden area, there is much weeding (when we cleared the area, the horsetails invaded with ferocity!), but I just love looking at it, weeding it, sitting on our new granite bench, and generally admiring that area. It will be even more magical when we get the path lighting connected up. I'm waiting for my landscaper to come and help with that. He's already picked up the transformer, and just needs to come and connect up the low-voltage lights which I already plunked out along the path months ago.
Pretty garden
We had a cat in our garden earlier this evening. I caught a photo of it before my son opened the sliding door, and it darted away. When we first built our house (almost 6 years ago now) we regularly had cats prowling through our yard, presumably hunting, even after we fenced it in. I'm glad to still see the occasional cat.
Cat in the garden
The rain today helped thin our small peach tree, as evidenced by the few fuzzy balls below the tree this evening. Thankfully, the two largest fuzz-balls are still holding on. I'm excited at the prospect of tasting a peach this year - if the rain or squirrels don't remove them all first.
Tiny peach on our peach tree
Tiny unripe peach
I took some photos of the bumblebees buzzing around in the wild roses which are blooming in the upper yard. One particular sequence of photos turned out pretty well, I think. But at midnight, I'm a bit too tired to create a slideshow. I'll try to create and post it another night.


Laura said...

Your garden is looking great! Isn't that a catapillar? It looks just like the ones that crawl all over the place around here, munching away on my foliage.

socalgardening said...

Gorgeous and your son is too cute :)

Garden Lily said...

It's fascinating that one of the blogs I follow, Saratoga Woods and Waterways, just posted the ID for what looks to be the same centipede (millipede?) as mine, all the way from the state of New York, as Boraria stricta. When I searched for Boraria stricta, I found images from North Carolina, which look to be an identical match. Wow, that's either a pretty wide range for this little guy, or he hitched a pretty long ride, to be up here in the Vancouver BC area. Anyhow, he's beautiful and very welcome in my garden.

Woodswalker said...

Congratulations on finding that beautiful millipede (yes, it's a millipede, not a centipede)! He provides a lovely ornament to your really beautiful garden. And don't worry about him eating your foliage, he eats stuff down in the soil and helps to turn dead plant material into fertilizing mulch.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Wow what a great group of photos, the one of your daughter with her pet rat is great and the millipede macro shot is great, thanks for sharing!

Kerri said...

Oh my.... what a fabulous garden you have!

Anonymous said...

was wondering if these "critters" were ok to leave in my garden. guess they are :) dont want to get rid of them. i agree, they are kind of pretty! i'm in OR so guess they are wide spread.

Reg said...

Randomly turned up on this page due to a Google images search while researching on centipedes. We have that insect here in the Philippines, too. I think they're cute and pretty harmless :) Kind of a pest here, though, during the summer months as there are a number of them (you'll see about 10 in a single area) and they get indoors-- we just kick them out back to the garden :)

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