Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Part 1.

Adult Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
David R. Lance, USDA APHIS PPQ,
Many people are either unaware or only vaguely aware that there is a problem with imported pests.  We’ve all heard of fire ants and africanized honeybees and most of us in Kitsap county are aware that Scotch Broom is an imported invasive weed.  Even here in Kitsap, invasive organisms are more common than many of us suspect.  “Invasive” organisms are, mostly, animals and plants that are not native to our area and have the potential to cause some sort of damage.  Scotch Broom, Himalayan Blackberry, and Yellow Flag are all examples of invasives that we may like (pretty flowers or tasty fruit) but cause ecological and/or economic damage.  

Monday, May 19, 2014

Tent Caterpillar Update

In my May 7th post, I discussed the return of the western tent caterpillar to Kitsap county.  They've been growing in size and damage.  I've noted no catastrophic damage as yet...that may come next year.  But the little buggers do seem to be starting to crawl away from their hosts trees now, possibly looking for a place to pupate.  I've seen them crawling around.  One showed up on my recycling bin (see photos).

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Columbine Surprise

I think Columbine (Aquilegia to us plant nerds) is arguably one of my favorite flowers.  So it's not to surprising that I let European Columbine (A. vulgaris) freely seed in my garden.  New plants come up every year.  I've got plain old single flowered Columbine in either bluish purple or cream colored petals and sepals.  I've also got a spurless, double flowered variety with  maroon petals.

Monday, May 12, 2014


By THOR (Flowering Rosemary) [CC-BY-2.0
 via Wikimedia Commons
I'm not sure where I first encountered rosemary.  I seem to recall my mom had some at the house where I grew up in the Tri-Cities of Washington State..  When I moved to Kitsap county in the late nineties I shared a house with two women.  They had a rosemary bush somewhere around the house. I lived there for five years but for some reason I cannot remember where the plant was; obviously rosemary is not a powerful memory booster.  One of my roommates introduced me to mustard roasted potatoes with rosemary.  To this day, it's one of my favorite potato dishes and rosemary is one of my favorite culinary herbs.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Western Tent Caterpillars Returning to Kitsap

If you've lived in Kitsap county since the early 2000's, you probably remember the tent caterpillar infestation.  Many deciduous trees, especially those in the Birch, Willow, and Rose families were more or less defoliated by June.  I remember seeing whole neighborhoods where every Red Alder was completely bare of foliage due to this voracious, leaf-feeding insect.  On heavily infested trees, their numbers were so great that you could hear the "rain" of their frass as it fell from the tree.  Frass is insect may want to mind where you stand outside.  Truly it was not a pretty sight.