Saturday, October 31, 2015
Thursday, October 29, 2015
What a handsome fellow, eh? Meet a wafer trapdoor spider child, found last week by Alyssa at her Blanco home. Two years ago, she shared a tarantula juvenile that she'd found with me, and I posted a photo of of him/her here. Heavy rains seem to bring these spiders out.
Posted by Sheryl Smith-Rodgers at 4:34 PM
Monday, October 26, 2015
Another list to post instead of stash! This one has a credit, thank goodness. Again, I highlighted the species we have in our Wildscape. I'm sure we have some of the grasses, too.
Posted by Sheryl Smith-Rodgers at 11:35 AM
The nice thing about having your own blog is that you can post information that you've collected instead of stashing it away in a file. I highlighted species that we have in our Wildscape. I wish I could credit whoever compiled this list, but sadly I don't remember.
Posted by Sheryl Smith-Rodgers at 11:32 AM
This brochure, "Milkweed Germination Basic Protocol for Asclepias Species," is available for download on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website.
Posted by Sheryl Smith-Rodgers at 10:50 AM
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Earlier this month, I shared green milkweed vine seeds with my fellow Texas Master Naturalists/Highland Lakes chapter. Naturally, each one asked the same question: How do I germinate these?
Well, Randy Johnson with Randy Johnson Organics answered that question at the 2015 Texas Pollinator Powwow in Kerrville. Here are his instructions per his many years of germinating experience:
Separate the fluff from the seeds. Place the seeds in a paper sack with a pebble and shake it. The seeds will separate and fall out like black pepper flakes.
Most perennial milkweed seeds require cold moist stratification, which prevents seeds from germinating too soon. In the wild, milkweed seeds absorb moisture during the winter and sprout in the spring.
To germinate your own seeds, moisten a half baggie full of sand and add seeds. Blow up the baggie like a balloon and shake the seed/sand mixture in order to make sure the seeds make good contact with the moist sand. Roll up the baggie and place in refrigerator.
Check the baggie in three weeks. Remove if the seeds have germinated. Timing of stratification is important because once you get the seeds wet, they can sprout in 30 days.
If you stratify around March 30, pull out the seeds from frig April 30 and plant in the ground.
If you stratify later, place the seedlings in 4-inch pots, hold until fall, and plant around November 1.
In a recent email to me, Randy adds: "I would begin stratification mid March north of Waco and March first down where you are. Best strategy is to direct sow after stratification. Remember: The best plant results from a seed directly sown. If you can't do that, then you should plant the seedling in the deepest container available. Six inches would be good. The problem long term with a 4-inch pot is the taproot curling. I would go to a one-gallon after about two months or so if I had to wait until fall for installation."
THANK YOU, RANDY!
Posted by Sheryl Smith-Rodgers at 11:17 AM
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
A new snake species to me! Got a knock on the door awhile ago....Katy and her two sons, Caleb and Clayton, wanted to show me a snake in a jar. AWESOME! Katy found it in their yard, and they wanted to find out what kind it was. I didn't know either, but I have books and the Internet. :-)
This is a beautiful, young checkered gartersnake (Thamnophis marcianus). Thank you for sharing!
Posted by Sheryl Smith-Rodgers at 5:28 PM
Saturday, October 17, 2015
Meet a beautiful zilpa longtail (Chioides zilpa)! I'm pretty sure it's a new record for Blanco County as well. I posted my images to Bugguide.net, then figured out the species/genus myself. There's a more common white-striped longtail (Chioides albofasciatus) that gave me a hint where to search. Always fun to meet a new species!
UPDATE: My sighting has been verified.
UPDATE: My sighting has been verified.
Posted by Sheryl Smith-Rodgers at 4:23 PM
Friday, October 16, 2015
With the extremely dry conditions and now wildfires near Smithville and Bastrop, I finally agreed that the Meadow should be mowed. James immediately did a happy dance. Then he shot photos for me, before and after.
He also said our neighbors would probably dance with glee, too.
What a funny guy. (Thank you, James, for braving the terribly dusty conditions and mowing our Meadow.)
Posted by Sheryl Smith-Rodgers at 6:38 PM