Friday, September 30, 2011

Mother Nature's Artistry

One day this month we had a rare morning rain-shower just after dawn. The result was this rainbow in the western sky. If you look closely, there is a faint second rainbow above the first one.
Mother Nature's Artistry is featured on this blog on the last day of every month. Check back again next month to see what Mother Nature has been up to!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica)

One of the most entertaining plants to own is Mimosa pudica. Whenever the leaves are disturbed, they quickly fold up. Here's a video that shows more than words can describe.
The leaves unfold again after only a few minutes.
Plants have a spreading habit, and make a thick groundcover if allowed to spread. They grow about 1.5 feet tall and several feet wide. Stems will root as they creep along the ground and young plants will spring up from fallen seed. The plant can become invasive in warm climates.
Although the foliage has a soft, ferny texture, the stems and petioles have numerous small, prickly thorns that would be hazardous to bare feet.
In late summer through fall, the plants are covered with lavender-pink flowers.
Mimosa pudica is native to tropical America, but has become naturalized throughout warm regions of the world.
Plants prefer full sun to part shade and established plants are very drought-tolerant. They can be grown as annuals anywhere, or as perennials in areas that receive only brief freezes.

One theory about why Mimosa pudica evolved its sensitivity is that it was a way to avoid being eaten by herbivores. Grazing animals would brush by the plant and, after all the leaves folded, it would appear there was nothing there to eat, so the animals would move on to more lush and leafy plants.

Buy seeds of this plant!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Creature Feature - Grasshopper

The grasshopper is a menace to gardeners everywhere. Their feeding habits disfigure large-leafed plants, leaving irregular chewed areas along the edges of leaves. Fortunately, birds are effective predators. More than 200 species of birds are known to feed on grasshoppers, so planting seed- or berry-producing trees and shrubs to attract more birds to your garden may help keep the grasshopper population down. Sadly, the birds may also be interested in your vegetable garden and fruit-producing plants. Perhaps the best solution is vigilance and two bricks or a sharp pair of pruners to quickly dispatch any grasshoppers caught in the act of feeding on your garden.

The First Friday Creature Feature is hosted right here on the first Friday of every month.  You're invited to join in!  Here's how:
1. Write a post featuring some creature that lives in your garden.
2. Within your post, include a link to my Creature Feature post so your readers will know where to find the creatures.
3. Add your link below and leave a comment.
Thanks for participating and please join in again next month!