Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Attract Luna Moth to Your Yard





I have never seen a Luna Moth before, however the other day an adult female landed on my picture window and visited with me overnight. 

The Luna moth had a wingspan of five inches in diameter with transparent pinkish purple and yellow markings. Another notable feature was the antenna they were thick and appear to be feathers. 

This magnificent insect spent the night on my window and in the morning, it flew up into my silver maple tree.
 

The Luna is a giant silk moth that is considered an endangered species.  I suppose the  natural habitat has been disturbed due to pollution, pesticides, and the cutting down of trees.   

Many people live their entire life without viewing the Luna moth in their natural habitat and I feel very fortunate to view this insect on my picture window.

Here is a postcard that I created from the  photograph I took of Luna Moth
 
Luna Moth Postcard
Luna Moth Postcard by Susang6
Find more Luna Postcards at Zazzle


I remember learning about the Luna moth in science class when I was in high school and occasionally I would view one on the television, I really did not know much about the insect so my husband went to the library and brought home a book and together we learned more about this moth.  

Note:

  1. The life cycle of the Luna moth begins when they mate and the female will lay her eggs on the backside of the black walnut leaf. She will lay approximately 200 eggs. It takes 10 to 13 days for the eggs to hatch. 
  2. The adult Luna moths purpose in life is to mate and lay eggs. As an adult these moths do not eat or drink, as they do not have a mouth.  The life span of an adult Luna moth is seven days.
  3. My yard is a wildlife habitat and I am sure that is what attracted the Luna moth.  I have mature black walnut, hickory, sweet gum, sugar maple, oak, and persimmon trees.  These are the trees that produce the leaves that the moth caterpillar eats.  
  4. If you want to attract the Luna moth to your yard then plant these trees in your yard and grow a natural habitat.  


Note: If you reside close to a wooded area that has a Luna moth habitat, plan to watch for them at night during late spring and early summer.



 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Grow Feather Reed Grass



Grow feather reed grass as an accent in your yard or plant along the perimeter of your yard for privacy. The feather reed grass is a low maintenance ornamental grasses that will add color and interest to your landscape. 

Feather reed grass has deep green foliage that grows upward out of a clump. This particular grass is the first of the ornamental grasses to bloom. In early June, the reed grass will produce a light pink feather plume. In midsummer, this plume will turn a shade of light purple and in the autumn, the plume will turn a golden tan. The color changes of the plumes is quite eye appealing. 

Plant the feather reed grass as a feature in your garden or plant along a path. You can also plant this grass in a large container, whatever you choose the feather reed grass will become a focal area in your yard and garden.  

I have a grass garden and enjoy it all year round. The movement of the grass in the wind is very relaxing.  One of my favorite things to do at the end of the day is to sit on my patio and watch the reed leaves move in the wind.  I grow ornamental grass in different focal areas of my yard and the grass has added interest to areas that were lacking.



Plant the feather reed grass in spring after the danger of frost has past or you may plant the grass anytime during the growing season; however, the reed grass must receives adequate water, so that the it does not dry out. 

If you intend on planting during the summer months then install a drip-line watering system and water grass daily, it is best to keep the soil evenly moist but not wet the first growing season.  

Select a garden site that has full to part sun and well-drained soil. This particular grass is not picky about the soil in which it grows in and will tolerate rocky, clay and dry soils. Plant the feather reed grass in masses for best appearance. Refrain from planting the grass next to a privacy fence or a wall, as this grass needs good air circulation.

Prepare your garden site by removing the grass, rock and all other debris.  Use your shovel to loosen the soil to ten inches. Amend the soil with four inches of compost. Dig a hole that is the same depth and width of the nursery container.  

Set the grass root ball in the center of the hole and fill the hole with the remaining soil. Space the plants two feet apart. Water the feather reed grass well.  

Continue to water the reed grass in the morning with soaker hose.   For newly planted grass I always keep the soil evenly moist but not wet for the first growing season or until it has matured. Once the feather reed grass is mature, it is drought tolerant.

In the fall when the ornamental grass turns brown do not cut it back.  The foliage is attractive throughout the winter months and provides shelter for birds and small animals.  Trim back the grass in late winter by cutting it back to 12 inches in height. Trim grass before the early spring growth. Divide and transplant clumps every three to four years. Best time to transplant is in the early spring or early fall.





image credit Wikipedia commons

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Easy to Follow Hibiscus Growing Tips

The hibiscus is renowned for its beautiful flowers that bloom all summer. This flowering shrub will brighten your landscape when all other flowers have ceased in blooming.

Hibiscus is easy to grow from seed or from a nursery grown plants. Grow this hardy perennial in full sun with part sun in the afternoon and it will reach the height of four feet with similar spread.

Hibiscus Planting Growing Tips:



Planting Seeds


Start your seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last spring frost. Plant the hibiscus seeds in a seed starter kit. The best way to plant the  seeds  is to use the eraser end of a pencil to form a one inch deep hole in the center of your moss-filled containers. Set four seeds in the center of the container.

Cover the seeds with soil and water so that the soil is moist but not wet. Set the seed kit by a sunny window.  Watch the seed kit so that the soil does not dry out.  It is best to keep the soil evenly moist and in approximately eight weeks, your dinner plate hibiscus will be eight inches tall and ready for transplanting outdoors.


Transplanting Hibiscus:

Plant the nursery grown hibiscus in an area that has full sun with part sun in afternoon especially if your summers are very hot.  The part sun will prevent the leaves from getting burned.

A good location would be close to a picture window so you can enjoy this beautiful flowering shrub throughout the blooming season; July - September.

Dig a hole that is the same depth and width as the nursery pot.  Mix compost into the soil along with slow release fertilizer.  Remove the hibiscus from the pot and set it in the center of the hole.  Backfill the hole and water well.

Tips:

The flower is pink with a red eye.
Grow hibiscus in zone 3-9
Groundhogs will eat the leaves and flowers.