Sunday Evening Discovery in the Garden
With the major construction on the deck completed, I spent Saturday hooking up and updating the disconnected drip mist irrigation system for the back garden. And I set the timer to go off at 7 pm every evening and water for 15 minutes. Because the entire system is made up of mostly single drippers and a few small misting heads, it is extremely water-efficient if I set it to water for a short period everyday. On Sunday evening, I ventured out into the garden a little before seven o'clock so I could check and make sure the timer was set correctly. Because the temps hit 101F (38C) on Sunday, it was the first time that I'd gone out into the garden all day.
I have chairs strategically placed in different spots around the garden. Excepting the chaise lounge that is my "sunning chair" for getting my sun (even during the winter months), most of the chairs are in the shade of one of the garden's trees. All chairs allow me to watch the wildlife and/or the fish in the pond. On Sunday evening, because I was wearing one of my subdued Hawaiian print muʻumuʻu's I was well "camouflaged", and the birds were venturing quite close as they came in for drinks and baths in the waterfalls or the pond.
As I often do, I changed chairs a couple of times while I watched the water system come on. There is something extremely soothing and peaceful about watching the mist come from the sprayers and land on the surrounding plant leaves and on the pond's surface. From the chair under the plum tree I was watching the fish in the pond pop to the surface for their evening meal. The mist from the sprayers was carried lightly on the hot evening air and cooled me.
I turned to my right to look at what might be sprouting in one of the raised planter beds when I noticed something on one of the stems of a volunteer native that I let grow on the banks of the pond (aka a "weed").
I didn't have my camera with me, so I hustled inside to get it. I came back out and photographed my discovery (above). It was covered with little water drops from the mist system. I gently shook the branch to help it dry off. It moved a bit to get a better grip but held on tight. I shot numerous photographs and then meandered around the garden photographing other things in the light of an almost-summer evening.
When I came inside, I immediately went to the internet to find out what my discovery really was. It had a horn on its backside. From my limited experience with horned caterpillars I thought it might be a tomato hornworm. But when I saw the photos on the internet at various sites, they didn't look the same. I only had to hunt a little further to find a correct identification. My new discovery is a white-lined sphinx hummingbird moth caterpillar! I am thrilled! I have never seen a hummingbird moth in person... EVER! And to have a caterpillar in my garden means that I just may see one yet! And since it's living far away from any vegetables or ornamentals that I care about, I'm happy to let it munch away on the pondside plants until its ready to pupate and change into a moth.
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