plumtreeblossom: (Dragonfly)
Over the weekend I discovered this impressive green fellow on one of my cherry tomato plants, contentedly devouring an unripe tomato:



I don't know how long he's been in my garden. Before the blight when the plants had green leaves, he would have camouflaged perfectly among the green leaves, and it's a sure thing that he wasn't always this huge, so it would have been easy for him to hide until the blight turned the leaves brown. It's possible that his egg hatched in the plant, even, or maybe he managed to climb all the way up three stories to my balcony. And those gnawed tomatoes that I blamed on squirrels two weeks back? Probably him.

Web research indicated that he is a caterpillar of the Great Ash Sphinx Moth. AKA "tomato bug," so says [livejournal.com profile] cathijosephine. But by that time, after having checked the he was a lone visitor and not part of an invasion, I had already bonded with him (the gender is arbitrarily assigned; I actually have no clue), and [livejournal.com profile] beowabbit and I had named him Kermit (cuz it isn't easy being green!).

Here's a picture (taken by [livejournal.com profile] beowabbit) with my hand and a lighter for scale:



As you might expect from his size, the adult Great Ash Sphinx can have a wingspan of up to 5 inches -- that's wider than my hand. I know I've never seen one, and I think I would wet my pants if I saw a moth that big and didn't know what it was. Maybe they migrate somewhere.

So, I seem to have a short-term pet that will one day be a dragon-bat thing straight out of Cabin In The Woods. He has crawled all over the tomatoes on that plant and his doody is on some of them, so I made the executive decision that I won't be eating that plant's fruit. He can just have them. Once he's cleaned off the plant, I'm going to have to repatriate him to the wild so he doesn't move on to my other plants (I need to get some work gloves for that -- I doubt the thorn-like spike on his tail is for decoration).

You probably don't have any other friends who name their garden vermin and sacrifice their heirloom cherry tomatoes to them. But he's fascinating to watch, and I am who I am.
plumtreeblossom: (wildflowers)
Wow, Miracle Gro. The seeds I planted just last week are already sprouting. The sprouts are very tiny -- a ladybug could sit on 2 or 3 and cover them completely. I don't know what anything is yet since it's a seed mix. Time will tell, though, and I got them in 2 months earlier than last year. Really, really hoping that the Morning Glories take. I planted the seeds along the edges of the porch so they have something to climb on.

I got some bulbs in yesterday (and saved some for [livejournal.com profile] beowabbit). The Renunculus and Galadiolas will be gorgeous if they come up. I have high hopes for the Lily-of-the-Valley, since it's been my favorite flower since childhood. I'm a little worried though because their bulbs look like juicy root vegetables, and I've seen evidence of critters visiting my flower beds. I knew I should have picked the critter-attracting sunflower seeds out of the mix, but I was impatient. Hope the Miracle Gro tastes bad and they leave the bulbs alone...


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