Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Pecan Season! (November Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day)

It's pecan season! And also November Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. My pecans are definitely piling up.

Carya illinoiensis (pecan)

And the Western leaf-footed bugs (Leptoglossus zonatus) are also out in force. These are a native insect that feeds on nuts and fruits of many sorts. They seem to be more interested in the unripe pecans than in the ripe ones, though; they congregate in large clusters as you see below, always on the unripe nuts (hulls that haven't yet split open to reveal the nuts inside). They also occasionally congregate on the oranges on my orange tree. In either case, they stick a long, tube-shaped mouthpart (much like what mosquitoes use for sucking blood) into the pecan hull or the orange rind and suck out some juices. They don't usually do much noticeable damage; they can cause small black spots on a few of the nuts, but I just chop off the parts that are spotted. If you Google for advice about how to control these bugs, the advice generally consists of, "Just stop worrying about them; they don't actually do much damage." So I let them be. By the time the nuts are ready for picking, they've moved on to some that are less ripe. There also aren't really all that many of them; there are about 20 in the photo below, but only a very small fraction of the pecan clusters on my tress have these bugs on them at all. It's just that where you find one, you generally find a lot more than one. They prefer to stick together.

Leptoglossus zonatus (Western leaf-footed bug)

I also have some flowers in bloom.

I'll start with a classic fall flower: California goldenrod (Solidago californica). This plant is the oldest of three goldenrods I have now. I tried to scatter its seeds from last year all around my garden, hoping to produce many more of these plants, but I can't tell yet whether I've had any success. The three plants I have now are all purchased, not homegrown.

Solidago californica (California goldenrod)

Also from the aster family, here's a native leafy fleabane (Erigeron foliosus). I have two of these and am similarly hoping they'll start reproducing.

Erigeron foliosus (leafy fleabane)

Here's another plant associated with fall: island buckwheat (Eriogonum grande var. rubescens).

Erigonum grande (island buckwheat)

The sticky monkeyflowers (Mimulus 'Pamela') that I planted this fall are growing and blooming well.

Mimulus 'Pamela'

Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) is a weedy volunteer that blooms periodically at many times of year. The species is native, but the variant that's volunteering in my yard is non-native.

Prunella vulgaris (self-heal)

Brazilian plume flower (Justicia carnea) is a non-native plant that came with the house. It vanishes underground periodically whenever it dries out, then re-emerges and blooms again whenever it gets water. We've had rain lately, so here's a flower.

Justicia carnea (Brazilian plume flower)

Lastly, here's a new native cultivar that I acquired this fall of our native checkermallow (Sidalcea malviflora 'Purpetta'). I've never seen this species bloom in fall before. This cultivar seems to be much more vigorous than the straight species, though. I'm very happy with it.

Sidalcea malviflora 'Purpetta'

Here's a closer view of it. The red flowers out of focus in the background are California fuchsias (Epilobium canum 'Calistoga').

Sidalcea malviflora 'Purpetta'
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