I woke up this morning to the news that the mantids had begun hatching from the egg case (aka ootheca) and were filling up that little bag.
I honestly didn’t think it was going to happen and had been wondering if the case was a dud. Turns out I was just too impatient. I bought my egg case about 3 weeks ago and have since learned that the case requires that much time with fairly steady warm temperatures and reasonable humidity. If you’ve got a case that isn’t hatching, don’t give up on it.
Here’s another photo of the tiny critters moving about. I opened the bag and placed it in a small tank so the babies could hatch and harden their exoskeletons in a sheltered spot. It’s a bit cold out there right now and I’m slightly worried about throwing them to the weather wolves, so-to-speak. Only a few hours old and I’m clucking around like a mother hen. About praying mantids, insects designed to fend for themselves moments after emergence.
Please note I am NOT keeping these mantids as pets. There are simply too many of them, and a tank is not an appropriate environment for so many mantids. Plus, they’ll be ready to eat their first meal in a day or two. I did put two scouts outside (we’re calling them Bill & Ted) to see how they do before unleashing the masses. The remaining, oh, 100 odd mantis nymphs will be going outside very soon, although I’m keeping one for a short time to watch its progress. He/she is already in a separate container away from his/her’s cannibalizing siblings. If you’d like to learn more about keeping mantids, there’s a ton of information online.
This is the tiny mantid I plan to keep. He/she remains unnamed. Any suggestions?
Isn’t he/she a beauty? Such fascinating little critters.
These flowering succulents live in a container in my neighbour Barry’s garden. He has dedicated an entire section of his garden to alpine troughs, of which this is one. I know this plant is in the Mesembryanthemaceae family, I just don’t know which one. I’m going to go out on a limb and take a wild guess that it is closely related to the icicle plants that are taking over California, which would make it Lampranthus.
And with that paragraph, I think I just surpassed my daily geek out quota.
This is the other sundew of the pair I bought in early May. According to my favourite book on carnivorous plants, “The Savage Garden” by Peter D’ Amato, this genus is from Australia and prefers life in a humid terrarium, which is where I have mine right now. Apparently, it puts out red, star-shaped flowers. I can’t wait!
One of our weekend projects was turning this vintage doll buggy into a mint planter. The plants inside are, from left: ‘Orange’ mint and ‘Ginger’ mint.
I bought the buggy last fall. It cost 5 bucks at a street sale. At the time, I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, I just knew I had to have it. Davin thought it was a bit of a wreck and did not appreciate taking turns pushing it home so I could finish drinking my coffee.
Since then it has sat outside on the roof. I originally stuck a pot of marjoram in it because I was concerned about damaging the integrity of such a gem by putting holes in the bottom. It held straw mulch a few days ago. A neighbour suggested I transform myself into the somewhat scary local eccentric by pushing the miniature pram around the block filled with straw. Baby needs to get some air!
Over the weekend I finally broke down and made some holes in the bottom using a hammer and a giant nail so we could turn it into a planter. Or rather Davin made some holes, although I want to make it public record that I did not force or even ask him to do it! There was some nasty water sitting in the bottom of the carriage. And let me tell you there is nothing nicer than a refreshing splash of rancid water on the face on a sunny Saturday morning.
The two mint plants that are now planted in the carriage/pot were originally intended for the community garden plot, but I already have a ‘Ginger’ mint over there anyways and the colourful foliage just looked like it was meant to live in that rusty old carriage. It’s not uncommon for me to grow or buy plants with an intended purpose in mind, only to switch gears at the last second. Some of my best ideas have evolved this way. I like this one a lot and was mentally patting myself on the back all weekend for coming up with it.
I can’t wait for the plants to grow and start trailing all over the sides of the buggy like gnarly tentacles!
Total cost of this container planting: under 10 bucks. Pretty good when you consider how much mint we’ll get out of it at the end of the season.