White-lined Sphinx moth, Hyles lineata

It took awhile to identify this moth. I’ve seen it in the garden during the late afternoon or early evenings. It fed on the Phlox flowers and Bouncing Bets flowers. It certainly got the cats’ attention! It is a fast mover and lit on multiple plants in just a few moments. More information is available at: https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/recent_sightings_map

More information on bug and insect identification is always available via the University of Wisconsin-Madison Insect Diagnostic Lab (Entomology.) at: http://labs.russell.wisc.edu/insectlab/

The Library of Congress learning pages: https://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/butterflymoth.html

White-lined Sphinx moth; Hyles lineata

White-lined Sphinx moth, Hyles lineata


This is the same moth (below), with the proboscis grabbing a snack.

Sphnix Moth 6386


Poison Ivy … or Arctic dwarf raspberry

I thought this was poison ivy. But, after some research, I think it is Dwarf and Arctic dwarf raspberry (Rubus pubescens/R. arcticus ssp. acaulis). Although, I am not going to risk trying it… It lives beneath one of my bird houses.

Plants, Rubus pubescens Raf.

Dwarf raspberry (Rubus pubescens Raf.)

The University of MN extension web site describes the Dwarf raspberry and has photographs. The dwarf or arctic raspberry is described as a member of the Rosaceae family growing in zones 2-7. It evidently  grows in the New England area, as well.

Poison Ivy:Leaflets three; let it be

Here in zone 4, we are host to both Eastern (Toxicodendron radicans) and Western (Toxicodendron diversilobum ) poison ivy. There is a lot of confusing information regarding identification of  the plant – probably because of the multiple species and variability of the plant’s appearance. It has many anomalies. One source identified poison ivy as having a smooth edge on the leaf; others showed photos disputing a toothed edged leaf characteristic as always being consistent.  A resource I found with enough detail to identify the plant was on http://www.poisonoakandpoisonivy.com/  It identifies the three leaflets attached to a distinctive base branch (or branchlet). The veins in the leaf are slightly offset or “alternate” side veins. Like the veins, no leaf stem is directly across from another, and this is known as an alternative leaf pattern. The berries are white. A member of the cashew and pistachio family, it is not truly an ivy. In this area it is often a low growing plant.

Japanese Beetles on Virginia Creeper

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a common plant in this area and grows across zones 3 to 9. The birds like it and the berries. I have it growing as a cover on a concrete wall. It seems to be a favorite of Japanese Beetles ((Popillia japonica) Family Scarabaeidae). I noticed hundreds of beetles on Sunday and bought three traps. Tonight, I spent over an hours vacuuming the beetles off the plant. It would not be appropriate for a delicate plant. The Virginia creeper and the grapes in the area have so little leaf matter left, I felt vacuuming would not do any worse damage than the beetles. The vacuum bag filled up. At the very least, it made me feel better to remove a few hundred. I took a perverse delight in sucking up the mating pairs – no procreation for this couple!

Japanese Beetles on Virginia Creeper

Gardening, Seeds, nature, plants,

From the University of Minnesota Extension:

“The Japanese beetle (JB) is a serious pest of turf and ornamental plants. Grubs feed on the roots of grass and adults feed on the foliage of more than 300 plant species. Japanese beetles were first found in United States in 1916, after being accidentally introduced into New Jersey. Until that time, this insect was known to occur only in Japan where it is not a major pest. It is controlled in the eastern United States by soil-inhabiting protozoans that are not present in Minnesota. There are two biological control agents, the fly Istocheta aldrichi and the tiphid wasp, Tiphia vernalis, but they do not control infestations.

There are a number of related beetles in the family Scarabaeidae that feed on the roots of grasses. In Minnesota, JB is the worst pest, so you need to identify grubs to species as the life history varies and management is not the same for all species. A management program consists of identifying grubs to species, determining grub numbers, identifying thresholds, timing pesticide application to smaller grubs, and monitoring the treated area for results.”

A slug (Arion rufus)

Arion rufus

San Juan Island, June, 2017, A Slug

This is a photo taken this week on San Juan (Washington state) island. I think it is the invasive slug Arion rufus based upon the research information from this Tide Bites article. I was told it was the common and indigenous banana slug, but it lacks the dorsal ridge.

I have never seen one of these creatures in growing Zone 4. That’s fine.

There is evidently a small snake in the islands of the region, Sharp-tailed snake (Contia tenuis), that eats slugs. There is always more to learn from our world.

Shed skin

Don’t let the tire distract you. This is a shed snake skin – that wasn’t run over. It seems to have used the tire to help slip off its skin. The skin was about three feet long and tightly wrapped around the tires of the lawn mower. Intriguing! I have not seen very many snakes this year, yet.

Shed Snake Skin

Shed Snake Skin


Sometime I think I’m weeding … when I’m really thinning.

According to Wikipedia, the Radish is an edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family that was domesticated in Europe in pre-Roman times. Radish, Raphanus sativus, is a cultigen (a plant that has been altered by humans through a process of selective breeding). Because it has been in cultivation for thousands of years, its exact origins are unknown. Radish is grown all over the world for its fleshy, edible taproot. A wide variety of cultivars are available, producing taproots that range from 2 cm up to 1 m long, and from red to pink, white, purple or black in colour.


Radish baby

Wisconsin Weeping Willow

This weeping willow tree (Wisconsin Weeping Willow, Salicaceae (Salix x blanda) ) has been growing on the property for over 20 years. It was green and growing. Birds love it. It was well over 50 feet tall. This morning, I heard it crash down. No particular reason was evident. No storms or high winds. There was some rot in the roots. I will miss it.

Fallen Willow Tree

Fallen Willow Tree