Little Creatures

by on August 7, 2009
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Grasshopper on Cactus

A quick trip to my parents’ house in the country means three things: a time to catch up on family gossip, an opportunity to feast on my mother’s vegan lasagna, and a chance to tour my Dad’s garden with my camera in hand.

My father, a retired horticulturist, has two gardening passions, azaleas and cacti. In his position at LSU, he worked mostly with the former, but since his retirement, he’s built up an impressive collection of cacti, some of them very unusual. The one above is one of the more usual specimens, but a small grasshopper found it a fine place to perch.


My father has planted the acre or two around the house with azaleas on different blooming schedules so that it seems that some of them are always in bloom. There are usually a few bees gathering pollen.

Butterfly on Azaleas

And butterflies too!

Dad among the azaleas

Though my dad doesn’t really qualify as a “little creature,” these azaleas wouldn’t be here without him, so I think he deserves to have his photo taken among them.


And heck, if he can be here, how about a photo of my own little creature, E?

It was a quick trip, so I didn’t have as much time as I’d like to track down more creatures. So let me take the opportunity to show off a couple of the creatures I found in my own garden this summer.

Frog on Tomato

We may not be doing a great job growing vegetables this summer, but we’ve been positively stellar at attracting creatures. Squash vine borers, snails, and enormous slugs have been our most unwelcome guests, but if we look closely we find frogs and toads blending into the background. I just wish they ate squash vine borers, snails, and slugs!

Bee on Litchi Tomato Flower

We also have our fair share of bees. This one is pollinating a strange new plant we’re growing called a Litchi Tomato.

Litchi Tomato

Neither a litchi (or lychee) nor a tomato, this crazy plant is completely covered with large thorns. They make picking its berries, which taste like a cross between a cherry, raspberry, and tomato, very tricky. Unfortunately, another creature, some kind of caterpillar, took care of harvesting most of the berries for us. When I found him, fat and happy after eating most of the berries, I didn’t pause to take his photo, but I did look around to see if there was a hungry frog nearby. Unfortunately, no.

Thanks for taking this creature tour with me. I’ll be back soon with photos of something you can eat!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karen August 13, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Wow, that's a great photo – you got really close to that little guy – I think I can see some whiskers growing on his mandible!


2 Cafe Cyan August 18, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Gorgeous pictures! This convinces me that I really need to upgrade and get rid of my point and shoot (at least my birthday is coming up.)


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