Thursday, September 16, 2010


This is a photo album of some critters at the Arboretum.  I haven't been able to capture many quality photos lately, as about a month ago, I broke my camera.  The critters missing from this post are a pair of hummingbirds that have been flitting around the hosta blossoms, too fast to catch, many kinds of bees, wasps, various moths, black and yellow swallow tail butterflies and monarchs all very attracted to Purple Flox, Sedum and Russian Sage this time of year.  There have been a few juvenile Northern Cardinals and a large turtle who hisses when I get near him...probably because I picked him up and carried him around upside down one day last week.  (I am like a three year old, I have a hard time leaving the wildlife alone. This you will see is a common trait with garden people, so I guess in that way I fit right in.) 

The critters I have been able to capture on film are:  A blue butterfly,  a praying mantis, a stick bug, a nasty looking spider, and a teeny little ridgeback turtle.The pink flowers are called "Turtle Head" (Chelone) (because their blossoms look the heads of turtles). 

The photo featuring the Cicada and the mini Praying Mantis is from lunch time at the Arboretum and this one deserves some explanation. Tony is the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) specialist at the Arboretum.  As this story progresses, you'll see that Tony is a little intense and seems kind of mean, so I am surprised when I find out that he has a 5 year old daughter and that he is considering taking her to see the Nutcracker this Christmas...but don't worry that is not the subject of this story.  To continue, Tony seems to be over 40 based on his fed up speeches about how he isn't going to 'kiss @ss' any more now that he's over 40...A few weeks ago he 'adopted' an injured cicada bug and tortured it and all of us when he held its one functioning wing, forcing it to make the loud annoying cicada sound.  He carried this bug around with him for at least two days, and since it couldn't fly, it just clung to his shirt. 

(The ratio of men to women in the Gardens Unit at the Arboretum is about 10 to 1, and that particular day I was the only girl sitting at the lunch table.)

I'll set the scene for you... Tony walks in from one side of the building with his cicada pet/friend.  Either Coley, Pat, Nate, Michael or Joe walk in the other door with a small praying mantis. All gather at the table (where people are trying to eat.)  In the meantime everyone else is ooohing and aaahhing over a weird little catapillar on the Black Eyed Susans that are in a glass with water on the table.  (It's like show and tell for nerdy adults)  First everyone just tries to keep eating.  Then Tony starts by annoying everyone with his bug friend. After that he dares people to eat it, and even offers money to anyone who will agree to eat it, except Pat because Pat will eat the background of the photo you can see Nate eating cheetos, which I know they tried to feed to the cicada at some point.  The funny thing about these people is that being nerds they know that cicadas don't eat at all in their insect form, and they argue and debate this point while they attempt to get the cicada to eat the cheetos.  Eventually Tony gets bored of torturing the cicada.  At that point he and the other 'gentlemen' at the table get the bright idea to see if the cicada and the praying mantis will fight.  At this point that I snap the photo, feeling bad for the little delicate mantis.  I"ll just say this, the cicada lost one or both of his eyes prior to the 'fight' so either he couldn't see the mantis or he didn't care.  The mantis ran away as fast as he could.  Turns out that neither bug was interested in the other bug.  Eventually someone put the little Praying Mantis on the Black-eyed susans and he probably ate the catapillar because praying mantis's like to eat smaller insects.  This is a recap of a semi-typical  lunch on any given weekday at the National Arboretum.

1 comment:

  1. I loved that story. That should be published!!!