UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County
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UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County

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The Wooly Bears of Bodega

Ever seen the wooly bear caterpillar,  Arctia virginalis, formerly known...

A wooly bear caterpillar on ice plant at Bodega Head. This insect is Arctia virginalis, formerly known as Platyprepia virginalis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A wooly bear caterpillar on ice plant at Bodega Head. This insect is Arctia virginalis, formerly known as Platyprepia virginalis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A wooly bear caterpillar on ice plant at Bodega Head. This insect is Arctia virginalis, formerly known as Platyprepia virginalis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

In its adult stage, the wooly bear caterpillar is commonly known as Ranchman's tiger moth, Arctia virginalis.  (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
In its adult stage, the wooly bear caterpillar is commonly known as Ranchman's tiger moth, Arctia virginalis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

In its adult stage, the wooly bear caterpillar is commonly known as Ranchman's tiger moth, Arctia virginalis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A Ranchman's tiger moth, Arctia virginalis, in a bed of Globe Candytuft, Iberis umbellata, in a Vacaville garden. The plant is a member of the mustard family. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A Ranchman's tiger moth, Arctia virginalis, in a bed of Globe Candytuft, Iberis umbellata, in a Vacaville garden. The plant is a member of the mustard family. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A Ranchman's tiger moth, Arctia virginalis, in a bed of Globe Candytuft, Iberis umbellata, in a Vacaville garden. The plant is a member of the mustard family. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 at 5:08 PM

Spring 2.0

As we headed out on our drive up to Oregon, before the Memorial Day weekend, we commented on how recently our hills had turned brown.  Our weather had become much more summer like.  We knew things were going to change when we got to Oregon.  We had traded in our short-sleeved wardrobes for long sleeves and thrown in rain jackets.

Canola field photo by Keith Arrol

As we drove north, we were thrilled to see that Lake Shasta looked full again.  Then in Oregon everything was beautiful and green.  We came across a spectacular yellow field on a rolling hillside.  We asked and found out it was Rapeseed, Brassica napus, the plant that is used to make canola oil.   

Over our short visit we explored parks, gardens, and neighborhoods.  We reveled in beautiful irises, ours had bloomed out long ago.  It felt like we had gone back in time to early spring.  Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea, Columbine, Aquilegia sp., and Rhododendron were numerous and thriving in the cool moist environment.

Iris. Following photos by Karen Metz

We were charmed by the many varieties of flowering Dogwood, Cornus kousa that seemed to be at peak bloom.  The most dramatic plants, though, were the Peonies, Paeonia sp.  Their big, showy blossoms were so impressive.  I truly enjoyed experiencing all these plants that I don't tend to grow because of their high water usage. I will even admit to being a little envious of the Oregon environment.

Dogwood.

Small pink dogwood.

But there are trade-offs for all that greenery.  Because of the lush growing conditions, there is more growth.  That means more material to prune and more downed branches and trees with bad weather.  In the rural area we visited, there seemed to be burn piles everywhere.  This made me a little twitchy, and I kept having to stifle the urge to call 911.  And I wondered about the effect of the smoke on the air quality.  Also, that high humidity, which is wonderful for the plants, played havoc with my hair.  Forget about a bad hair day; it was a bad hair week.  Living there would either require a completely different hairstyle or many new hat purchases.  I guess every location has its pluses and minuses.

Peony
Peony

Pink peony
Pink peony

Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 at 10:33 AM

June Pest Prevention Tips

Summer is here and so are the pests! Keep an eye out for the following pests and take these steps...

Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 at 9:04 AM

Finding Pollen on Echium During National Pollinator Month

It's National Pollinator Month, and what better time to find a tiny speck of a bee on a...

A sweat bee, possibly Halictus tripartitus, foraging on pollen on a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii, in a Vacaville garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A sweat bee, possibly Halictus tripartitus, foraging on pollen on a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii, in a Vacaville garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A sweat bee, possibly Halictus tripartitus, foraging on pollen on a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii, in a Vacaville garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, June 10, 2024 at 7:45 PM

Donated Fig

Thank you to the unknown donor of this beautiful fig tree at the MG plant exchange!  It was such a great find three years ago, a healthy little one and a half foot fig tree in a Terra Cotta pot.  It even had six or seven little figs on it. The challenge was not to kill it with under or over watering, both of which I have done to various plants in the past. 

Well, happily the tree is still alive and has grown significantly.  The first picture shows it after about a year, the second and third were taken today when Irepotted it for the third time.  In the second picture, you can see that the canopy extends past the rim of its square pot, and I thought it might be getting root bound. Turns out, it was not root bound, and none of the roots were touching the pot sides.  Still, a bigger pot will give it more room to grow.  I stuck a fewsedum cuttings in a year ago, they have taken off and are doing well. 
photos by Cindy Yee
 
The tree does have a benign virus called fig mosaic.  If you look closely, some of the leaves have mottled coloring.  Hopefully it does not lead to premature fruit drop.  The only treatment is to try and keep the tree stress free, and as well cared for as possible.  It is potted in new soil and compost, and has been regularly fertilized.  There are 24 little fruit on the branches.

What is this fig called?  The ripe fruit are sweet, light green with pink flesh.  Unfortunately the label disappeared sometime ago, but I am 99% sure its a Conadria. 

So happy with this potted fig.  Thank you, fig donor and plant exchange!  I have another fig tree - Peter's Honey - in the ground and intend to root cuttings for the next plant exchange. 

Cheers!

fig 3
fig 3

Posted on Monday, June 10, 2024 at 11:16 AM

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