Picture Snob

August 28, 2008

Broad-Billed Hummingbird Spotted In MA!

This week a broad-billed hummingbird was vacationing in Dennis, MA.

broad_billed_hummingbird.jpg (photo via Boston Globe)

It usually resides in Arizona but is enjoying the Cape this summer.

Sandra and Charles McGibbon, backyard birders, were having dinner on a deck in Dennis when their friends told them to keep their eyes peeled for a hummingbird. It wasn't the ruby-throated hummingbird typically seen on the Cape. They thought it was something special.

Read more in this Boston Globe article by
Stephanie Ebbert

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August 26, 2008

Attracting Butterflies & Hummingbirds to Your Backyard

Look at this tiny hummingbird resting on a branch.



I had assumed hummingbirds rest from time to time, but had never seen one sit still until I sat still. And waited. And waited a little longer. Then, that distinctive buzz of the wings came from the right and a little blur flew up to a nearby branch. It sat and peeped like a chipmonk for a couple minutes, flew to the feeder and hovered for a second or two. Then it was gone!

There are never enough hummingbirds in the garden. To help attract them, we recommend this book, Attracting Butterflies & Hummingbirds to Your Backyard, (A Rodale Organic Gardening Book) by Sally Roth. You can find it at Amazon for $12.89.

Mary Ellen at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

August 23, 2008

Praying Mantis Poster, Live Insects & Video

Now this is one cool looking insect. No stomach upset here. praying_mantis.jpgAnd they are beneficial for the garden by eating all the other bugs that eat your plants.

Here's a poster print by Pete Oxford. praying_mantis_poster.jpgThe 40 x 30 print is available at Amazon for $69.99.

But the real thing is even better. Buy 4 praying mantises or an egg out of which 500 baby mantises could emerge from www.livemantis.com.

But, wait, there's more. Check out this clip of a female eating a male after mating.

Mary Ellen at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 18, 2008

YUCK! The Tobacco Worm Strikes Again

WARNING: This is worm and bug week at GardenSnob. If you are grossed out easily, skip this blog for a few days and read your bank statement or local police blotter instead.

The tobacco worm has reared its ugly head again this summer. And I mean UGLY! This could easily turn a new gardener away from gardening AND tomatoes altogether.


These are some of the largest caterpillars found around here. They have a natural camouflage that would make any soldier envious and a red, pointy horn on one end. It's a little hard to tell which end it is because they seem to have eyes or a little face on both. (I hope no one says that about me, ever.) At some point, these things turn into hummingbird moths

hummingbird_moth.jpg which is the worm version of that old classic, The Ugly Duckling. (Photo: Jim Sedbrook)

The tobacco worm is hard to find even though they are so big because they are the exact same color green as tomato leaves. The best way to find them is to look for their droppings on the ground or on leaves or tomatoes. The droppings look like miniature green (fresh) or black (a few hours old) raspberries and they get bigger as the worm grows.

Thumbnail image for worm_droppings1.jpgworm_droppings2.jpg

Here's the gardener's version of "Where's Waldo" to show you how difficult is it to find these worms. Try to find the worm in this photo:


Here it is, up close and personal:


Let's try another one. Where's Wormy?


That's right! He's biting into another leaf of the tomato plant you've planted, watered and staked with loving care all summer. where's_worm2b.jpgBastards!

Now the question is what to do with a tobacco worm once you've found one. I thought the chickens might like them so offered the first one to them.


But I was wrong. Then a goat stepped on it.

When I found the next tobacco worm, I started to get really mad and increasingly sick to my stomach. A website suggests snipping them in half with shears but there is no way I want to have that green blood on my clippers. Then I noticed the fire pit


and that was the end of that one.

With worm #3, I thought, "I must get revenge!", and a dirty, smelly light bulb went on in my head. To the pig pen!


At first they didn't notice it because I threw it over their heads. Oh, well, if they don't eat it , it will surely die of the stench. But then, oh yes, one of them poked it around with its big pink snout, gobbled it up, and smacked its lips. I am not joking about the lip smacking. And pigs are omnivores. You should have seen them fighting over a dried snake they found in some hay the other day. There certainly was a lot of lip smacking going on over that snake jerky. But, I digress . . .
Afterwards (after the cold beverage to settle my stomach), I felt a little badly about the harsh end for that worm and about all the plants that won't be pollinated by that future hummingbird moth. But worms #4, 5, 6 and 7 have all gone into the pig pen and the pigs now hop around with glee when I approach with a tomato branch and tobacco worm. I'm not joking about the hopping, either.

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August 3, 2008

GardenSnob's new camera - Canon PowerShot SX100 IS

Thumbnail image for gardensnob_camera.jpgWe bought a great new camera to take all kinds of flowery photos! We had the little PowerShot and were happy with it for the most part but wanted the optical zoom to really focus on bugs and other tiny garden inhabitants. So far, so good and we still have the awesome 2.5" viewing screen. It's also easier to hold than the little PowerShot because of the grippy thing on the right. But don't just take our word for it. We could be pulling the potatoes over your eyes. Go ask my sister - she's the pro . . . www.picturesnob.com.

Mary Ellen at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

August 1, 2008

Beautiful window boxes and containers

Here are a few pictures from Santa Fe, NM. This is a 2-story motel with window boxes along the entire U-shaped courtyard.2story_windowboxes.jpg

Second story window boxes at the St. Francis Hotel.santafe_windowbox.jpg

And a simple but gorgeous planter on the sidewalk. santafe_planter.jpg

Lastly, the rosemary and allysum (my favorite!) planters at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Huge and amazing! rosemary_planter2.jpg


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July 27, 2008

Container gardens

window_boxes_23.jpgContainer gardens are on the agenda for this week.
Here are some inspiring pictures with which to begin the subject.

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July 14, 2008

Pig Salad Bar

Thanks to Donelan's Supermarket, our pigs are dining on the finest fruits, vegetables and mesclun mix. pig salad bar 1.jpgWe give them stuff from our garden, but why not use this surplus when otherwise it would go into a dumpster? We pick up a plastic tote full of surprises every day at 5:00. I don't know who is happier with this arrangement- the pigs or the store manager!

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July 8, 2008

Double Rainbow

The afternoon thundershowers left us with this double beauty floatingJuly 8 2008 007.jpg over some of GardenSnob's garden plots.

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July 3, 2008

bathroom froggie

bathroom froggie.jpgLook who came to use the facilities last night! Not sure how he opened the screen door but we enjoyed visiting with him and then set him back outside in the grass.

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