Sunday Evening Discovery in the Garden

The new deck across the back of Rosehaven Cottage
(construction clean-up is set to happen this week)

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.

My view from the chaise lounge--my "sunning chair"

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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  1. That is so neat Cindy!! Too bad you couldn't catch the whole process on film, that would be neat! I thought it was a tomato worm at first too. We had a Hummingbird near my hanging Fuschia the other day...I need to find my feeders and get them out there.


  2. Hi Cindy
    Enjoy your rest after the new decking.

    I can see you won't be there long like all gardeners there's always another job you see or think of when we sit down.

    What a lucky find the caterpillar and identification, I would have dismissed it as yet another cabbage white not being a boff on caterpillars. I do enjoy our many varieties of butterfies though.

  3. How interesting. I can't believe you were able to get such a great photo.

  4. congrats on your new are going to love having it...creating new wonderful for you.

  5. Oh I wonder if you'll be able to meet your new garden friend after she comes out of her cocoon? hope so!

  6. My! How exciting and such a beautiful moth! In Wales we saw a lot of unusual moths some of which were pollinating flowers. I am so pleased for you Cindy.

  7. Your deck looks wonderful! When we had our Victorian, we had added a deck very similar to that-we loved it! Congratulations and enjoy!!

  8. Time spent in a garden multiplies by twelvefold the pleasures of life. And look what you found!


  9. I love your beautiful photos of your beautiful deck! You really have done it up right! I love how it finishes off the back of your house. Do you remember that I did a post last spring about the infestation of hummingbird moths? They were just thick and so beautiful and so Simba-baitish... I liberated many that he'd brought inside to play.

  10. 38 degrees?! Wow, that's hot, even for me. You have such a beautiful home. Have you ever thought about operating a B&B?

  11. It must feel good to have the major construction over with. The deck looks really good! I've never seen a hummingbird moth before. I'll have to look that up. -Jackie

  12. I had no idea hummingbirds came from, well,um, THAT! Wow! What an incredible discovery ! and I want to visit your garden on a Sunday evening .. sounds so blissful . .

  13. Oh my how I love your deck! Makes me just wanna chill in the cool of the evening!

  14. Love the deck! You will certainly get a lot of enjoyment out of that. J and his friends found some caterpillars on our tree today. I had to remind them to leave them alone. All you need to do is mention the word habitat to J and he's right there, putting the little guys back!

  15. Hope you get to see the moth. I'd love to see a picture of one as I have never seen one before.

  16. That horned caterpillar has a very Alice in Wonderland look about him. What an interesting visitor!

    Your deck is lovely.

  17. The new deck looks great! My yard is finally starting to look like a gardener lives here. It's been a long time coming- laying the 'foundation' for all the plants (including a good drip system) and getting the hardscape in. It's all going to be worth it though when I can do exactly what you did today!

  18. Those pictures of the sphinx hummingbird moth (in the link) are just amazing. I have never seen anything like it. I hope you get to photograph it when the caterpillar changes.


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