Friday, November 7, 2008


The mums are covered with bees and cloudless sulphur butterflies. The abundance of insects still about this time of year always amazes me Living in the south has taught me you share your garden with many animals invited or not. In my yard nothing is rare! There is never just one, everyone brings friends.

My popcorn tree(tallow to you non-low country folks) attracts huge flocks of black birds this time of year and the yard is covered with its seedhulls. This is strictly a winter phenomenon as the neighborhood has always been a winter roost.

The lubber grasshoppers munch on my Cycas species, not just the soft new growth but also on the hard mature leaves. They however never seem interested in the coonties or Dioon from Mexico. Lady palms are candy as are windmill palms for these big grasshoppers and I spend my summers killing them to no avail.

When the broad-head skinks are courting they are the cutest things otherwise their sole purpose is to startle with their size and fast movements. For speed the glass lizards hold the record for reptiles in my yard. After years of gardening in the South I am still scared silly when one of them comes at me. They are completely benign creatures with only one fault: they lunge at you when they are disturbed and boy do you jump!

Yes, mammals do live in my garden. A gash from a lightening strike in my red oak houses a large bromeliad and a possum feels obligated to fill the cups of the brom with debris. The bromeliad has grown gigantic so it`s a relationship I do not disturb.

There is a mystery animal that empties my pond of half its water at least once a year and destroys the water lily growing there. It happens only on weekdays so I notice it after I get home from work. It could have happened at night or during the day, I`ll never know.

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