Look at what's been hovering around my garden lately. Is it a dragonfly? A damselfly? I have no idea, but it's awesome.
Maybe it was born out of the tiny lily pad pond I have in my lower yard. I know they love being near calm water where the larva is born from. They undergo metamorphosis, just like butterflies do. Hopefully it ate some mosquitoes.
This is as close at it would let me stand with the camera before it flew away at supersonic speeds.
Yes, I realize this second photo looks awfully similar, but it is a totally different frame and slightly closer.
Meanwhile back in the garden area, I have some Brussels Sprouts that always seem to attract aphids no matter what I do. I prefer not to use soaps and sprays to kill bugs, but instead add various recommended aromatic companion plants and herbs nearby. Nature will find a way. Something is working...
The pale fat bugs are the aphids.
The new winged visitors are lacewings, arriving to lay their eggs I presume.
Did you know lacewings are sometimes called Antlions?
These fierce bugs are one of the most effective insects at eradicating aphid populations. The larva of the lacewing is much bigger than the parent and has huge poisonous pincers that grip its pray like the arms of a mantis. They eat aphids and also hunt down the ants who herd the aphids. The larva can usually be found hiding underground. In sand, they build funnel traps to catch foolish ants might slip into the hole.
I did witness a lacewing larva the other day climbing among the aphids here. At first I thought it was a green caterpillar. It was sucking on an aphid using its mandibles, as if it were sucking on a baby bottle.
Now to get that nasty visual out of our minds, enjoy some photos from my garden of recent flowers that are blooming in June.
The fuchsia are becoming scorched within a day now that that weather has become so hot and dry. Daily morning watering doesn't protect them enough. Going to have to think of a better place with more shade where I can move this flower pot so we can still appreciate a view of the flowers.
Mother must have really liked these colors of Sweet William, because she pruned the blossoms off to put into a vase indoors. They do have a a powerful perfume.
All of these were growing directly in the ground soil in my wildflower area, so I think they will probably continue to form additional blossoms.
All of these Sweet William were sown outdoors from seed last year, and it's a surprise to discover what new colors each plant will become. For me, it is so hard to wait a whole year to watch a plant grow before it blooms. So it is quite the reward when it does.
Some of the best color variations are showing up in these batches I grew in containers.
This one was a transplant my mother purchased from a nursery. It has become a hardy perennial. The blue-green foliage lends some appreciated color during the winter season.
It grows near the lavender clump. The buds are so thick and blue, they are ready to pop.
A bold rose in bloom.
'Cancun' Asiatic Lilies. Not safe for cats. We don't have any pets, so it is safe to grow in our yard.
This is the mystery weed that has been growing all over my yard this year. It gets pretty tall and grows super fast with stems and leaves that are green and become red in strong sun. Entire patches of soil were coated with small seedlings, and they seemed to like the shady clay mud the most.
I'm guessing it spread off of one of the wildflower seed batches I planted, but I'm not sure. I often see this weed growing downtown next to neglected parking lots all over this year. It is recognizable by the sets of paired leaves that grow symmetrically on opposite sides. From a top view the leaves circle the stem in the shape of a plus sign. +
Let me know in the comments if you recognize this flower/weed.