Jump to content

  • Chat
  •  
  •  



Welcome to Formiculture.com!

This is a website for anyone interested in Myrmecology and all aspects of finding, keeping, and studying ants. The site and forum are free to use, and contain no ads for members. Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation points to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!

Photo
* * * * * 6 votes

ANTdrew's Native Plants and Ants Journal

native plants

124 replies to this topic

#41 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 23 2019 - 12:59 PM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,795 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA
Man, I can’t calm my girl down. It’s basically game over for my little garden. Nothing lasts forever...

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25   I <3 tiny ants


#42 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 30 2019 - 8:20 AM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,795 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA

Obituary Update 7-30-2019

 Had a house inspector come through today with more bad news. We are basically living out Edgar Allan Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher." If you haven't read it, please put down your phone and do so!

 In better news it is Joe Pye Weed peak in my native garden.

IMG 5759
This wildflower was named after Joe Pye, a Native American herbalist, who reputedly taught the Pilgrims how to use medicinal teas of this plant to stave off a typhoid fever epidemic. I find it unfortunate that many of our best native plants' common names end in "weed." Even worse for a plant that ostensibly saved one of our first successful colonies, and by extension our country's future. I've had a thought over the years that we could improve the public image of our native plants by changing the negative appellation "weed"  to the Old English word for plant ,"Wort." Hence Joe Pye Wort, Ironwort, Milkwort etc.
Another random thought I've had is that someone needs to start a "patriot plants" movement. Why is it that right minded people drive American cars and vote for policies that protect American industries, yet if you go in their hyper-manicured lawns (Which are planted with Eurasian "Kentucky bluegrass") you will only see Eurasian bulbs, Chinese ornamentals, and Japanese Cherries/ azaleas? Just sayin' but something is wrong with that equation.
In any case, native pollinators are loving my 11' tall weeds. Here is a Megachile bee enjoying the bounty on my Eupatorium fistulosum. The shallow flowers are also perfect for Tapinoma ants to nectar on, but then again, what isn't?
IMG 5758

 


  • Martialis likes this

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25   I <3 tiny ants


#43 Offline Acutus - Posted July 30 2019 - 8:28 AM

Acutus

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 835 posts
  • LocationMaryland

So your sister is buried alive in your basement?  :o  :o  :o

 

:lol:  :lol:


Billy

 

Currently keeping:

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus castaneus

Formica subsericea


#44 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 30 2019 - 10:46 AM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,795 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA
Nah, just the house falling down part.

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25   I <3 tiny ants


#45 Offline ANTdrew - Posted August 14 2019 - 11:37 AM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,795 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA

Obituary Update 8-14-2019

 

Summer's ending for me as teachers report back to work starting Friday. The season's shift towards fall is already underway in the garden as well, but it is as full of life as ever. An amazing new visitor I saw the other day was an American toad. These are highly uncommon in such an urban area!

The sad news is that we have officially started advertising the property for sale to investors who might be willing to take on its problems and turn the house around for a profit.

 

I wanted to update on a few of the ant/plant interactions I've highlighted earlier in this journal. First, Partridge Pea is in full bloom at the moment. Plants get absolutely mobbed by bumblebees in the early morning seeking pollen.

IMG 5834
IMG 5835

 

Plants that aren't blooming yet still attract ants to their nectaries at the base of each leaf. I find it interesting that this phenomenon stops once the plant starts blooming. I imagine they channel all their energy into the flowers and seed production at that point. Monomorium minimum are some consistent customers to these nectaries:

IMG 5779
 
The trumpet creeper vine (Campsis radicans) I mentioned in a previous post is setting seed now. Crematogaster ants are still covering the flowers and the new seed pod as well. There must be some kind of sweet residue drawing them. I have observed this phenomenon on other vines in my general area as well. I think that native vines play a vital role for arboreal Crematogaster species.
IMG 5865
IMG 5864

 

Several years ago, I was very impressed by a grouping of goldenrod growing out of cracks in a sloped concrete flood wall along a stream near my house. I gathered seeds from the plant (which I think is Solidago Canadensis) and raised up some of its offspring. The city has since redone that part of the stream bank, and the retaining wall the parent plant was growing out of was destroyed. I'm so happy I was able to preserve such a resilient plant via seeds. Just the other day, I enjoyed a monarch visiting on its lovely flowers. The hundreds of tiny bees and wasps visiting this plant forms a haze above it!

IMG 5833
IMG 5837

 

I hope to save this and many of my other old friends if we do end up selling this place and moving. More to come.


Edited by ANTdrew, August 14 2019 - 11:40 AM.

  • Martialis, AnthonyP163 and Ant_Dude2908 like this

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25   I <3 tiny ants


#46 Offline ANTdrew - Posted August 19 2019 - 10:10 AM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,795 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA

Obituary Update 8-19-2019

I'm enjoying what may be my last summer in my native garden. I got a picture of the American toad I mentioned in my last post. These are very common in forested areas, but highly uncommon in the city where I live.

PHOTO 2019 08 14 22 02 02
 
Another plant I'm enjoying a lot now is Rudbeckia laciniata aka cut-leaf coneflower. This is like the black eyed Susan's king-kong cousin. I raised one of these from seeds many years ago with the help of a few of my seed buddy middle school students. I remember really freaking out when the seeds I planted began sprouting a white mold on them and thinking that all was lost. Lo and behold, the plant is now 8' tall and has spread in a five foot radius. I learned a lesson from that about trusting nature to do her thing and not giving up hope. This is an important late season nectar source for native bees, especially bumblebees.
IMG 5836
IMG 5824
 
Partridge pea is still blooming in my yard, and I was observing a wild stand of the plant yesterday, which was covered in ants nectaring including Camponotus chromaiodes. This is the same stand where I gathered the seeds I planted in my garden. I've said it before, but I'll say it again: please consider planting this is if you have room in your yard!
IMG 5874

 

 


  • Ant_Dude2908 likes this

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25   I <3 tiny ants


#47 Offline ANTdrew - Posted August 20 2019 - 5:50 PM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,795 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA

Obituary Update 8-20-2019

I had a Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium fistulosum) in my yard suffer from some heavy deer browsing in the spring. It's since bounced back though and is the only Eupatorium still blooming for me at the moment. As a result, it is drawing in some spectacular pollinators.

 

Two Junonia Buckeye butterflies courting:

IMG 5896
 
Can you spot the three pollinators in this photo?
IMG 5897

 


  • dspdrew and Ant_Dude2908 like this

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25   I <3 tiny ants


#48 Offline ANTdrew - Posted September 7 2019 - 11:14 AM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,795 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA

Update 9-7-2019

 As the growing season winds to a close here in Virginia, things are actually looking better for the future of this garden. We've had no luck selling our house for anywhere near a decent price, so our plan now is to try to fix the problems and stick it out a few more years. That's great news for my plants and the creatures that depend on them!

 One piece of very bad news is that the biggest tree on my property, a majestic white oak, seems to be dying. There is some strange ailment, or combination of factors killing oaks in my area. I see it driving around, and it is very troubling. The saying is very true, though, that "a tree never dies." Leaving the stump up as a huge snag would benefit a whole range of wood dwelling creatures such as woodpeckers and arboreal ants.

 

IMG 5994
 
The Bidens polylepsis plants I mentioned earlier in this journal are in full bloom now. These are the typical DYD, or damn yellow daisy, which is the most common native flower type around this time of year, but I like them anyway. They are bringing in lots of pollinators and plenty of aphids for the Crematogaster to tend.
 
IMG 5957
IMG 5990
 
After these, the asters will bloom, which will usher in the end of the growing season. I'll probably end the journal at that point because I don't know how much interest it has generated, but I hope I've planted some seeds in the minds of youngsters who will have a yard of their own one day. Our world desperately needs more native gardens.

 

 


Edited by ANTdrew, September 7 2019 - 11:17 AM.

  • Ant_Dude2908 likes this

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25   I <3 tiny ants


#49 Offline ANTdrew - Posted September 8 2019 - 2:42 AM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,795 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA
Bueller? Bueller?
  • Martialis likes this

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25   I <3 tiny ants


#50 Offline ANTdrew - Posted September 10 2019 - 11:11 AM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,795 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA

Photo Update 9/10/2019

 

Crematogaster aphid tending on Bidens polylepsis:

IMG 6002
 
Tapinoma sessile aphid tending on Bidens polylepsis:
IMG 5996

 

Andrena bee on a bloom:

IMG 5998
 
Crab spider waiting for a meal on New England Aster:
IMG 6004
 
Finally, here is some finished elderberry wine. This batch was frickin' good! It turned out like a poor man's rose'. :whistle:
IMG 6008

 

We have a much darker batch that had more elderberries in it still fermenting.

 

 


  • Martialis, Ant_Dude2908, rbarreto and 1 other like this

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25   I <3 tiny ants


#51 Offline ANTdrew - Posted September 16 2019 - 10:52 AM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,795 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA

Update 9-16-2019

 

You really know you're a plant nerd when you have five species of the same genus in your yard. The most represented genus in my yard is Helianthus, which is the diverse family of sunflowers. In my yard, I have H. giganteus, H. tuberosus, H. divaricatus, H. angustifolius, and H. maximilianii. These plants are tough as nails and they're great pollinator plants, which also host aphids. Whenever I see Camponotus ants foraging in my yard, it's usually on one of these.

Here is a nice patch of Helianthus maximilianii that I raised from seeds I gathered from a median strip five years ago. Next to it is some Solidago juncea, or early goldenrod. Ironically, this is usually the last goldenrod to bloom in my yard, and it definitely does not bloom in June!

IMG 6033
 
Here's another bigger patch of "early" goldenrod next to some common milkweed:
IMG 6038
 
Crematogaster had another smaller flight in my yard yesterday. I found this big cluster of males getting ready to fly early in the morning. Unfortunately, I didn't find any queens this time around, though.
IMG 6039
 
Finally, here are some cool insect visitors I've seen recently:
IMG 6036
IMG 5956

 

 

 


  • Martialis and Scherme like this

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25   I <3 tiny ants


#52 Offline Scherme - Posted September 23 2019 - 11:06 AM

Scherme

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 88 posts
  • LocationWestfield, MA

I love this thread, and I am sad to hear you might lose this awesome space.

 

The pictures and captions are great, keep em coming as long as you can. 


  • ANTdrew likes this

Tetramorium immigrans | Journal

Lasius Neoniger | Journal

Camponotus Pennsylvanicus | Journal

Camponotus Chromaiodes | Journal


#53 Offline ANTdrew - Posted September 23 2019 - 12:16 PM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,795 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA

I love this thread, and I am sad to hear you might lose this awesome space.

The pictures and captions are great, keep em coming as long as you can.

Thanks!

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25   I <3 tiny ants


#54 Offline ANTdrew - Posted September 26 2019 - 10:04 AM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,795 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA

Update 9-26-2019

It is the second driest September on record here in Virginia, and that is following the hottest August on record. Needless to say, my garden isn't looking too great right now. I'm really looking forward to cold weather to finish off all the forbs, so I can just cut down stems and hope for better conditions later on.

 

IMG 6066
Jerusalem artichoke(Helianthus tuberosus) is one plant unfazed by this mini-drought. Neither from Jerusalem, nor an artichoke, this member of the sunflower family stores water and nutrients in thick underground tubers. These are tasty edible tubers, but they are renowned for the flatulence they cause. I planted one a few years ago, and I kind of regret it because it has spread so aggressively and crowded out some other nice plants. It's even gone under my fence and into a neighbors wooded backyard. The plants reach over 10' feet in height and their large blooms are a great nectar source for late season bumble bees including new queens.
I frequently see Camponotus ants foraging on these plants, and you can see a group of C. chromaiodes tending to some aphids on a Jerusalem artichoke leaf in this photo:
PHOTO 2018 06 15 19 55 31
 
Finally, here is a nice roadside patch of Bidens polylepsis. This would be a great patch to gather seeds from in a few weeks:
IMG 6051

 

 

 


"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25   I <3 tiny ants


#55 Offline ANTdrew - Posted October 14 2019 - 11:21 AM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,795 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA

Update 10-14-2019

 

The growing season is almost over here, but this nasty drought continues. My garden is looking rougher than it ever has in my memory. I just don't have the time I used to water, but thankfully most plants should be going dormant soon.

I have two species of Asters blooming at the moment, Aster Nova-angliae and Aster ericoides. These are pretty much the last show in town, so all nectar feeding insects that are still active are feeding heavily on them.

IMG 6089
IMG 6087
These plants have done really well in my yard, but the past few years they have been decimated by Tingidae lacebugs that suck juices from the leaves and leave the plants really weakened. I'm not sure if ants even get any honeydew from these pests, either. Next year I think I'm going to use some horticultural oil to knock them back and help the asters rebound some.
 
As the weather cools, the big Crematogaster colony on my patio has been moving brood a lot. I wonder if they're looking for warmth or more moisture?
IMG 6125
 
 

 

 


"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25   I <3 tiny ants


#56 Offline Da_NewAntOnTheBlock - Posted October 14 2019 - 11:24 AM

Da_NewAntOnTheBlock

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,540 posts
  • LocationIllinois

So your sister is buried alive in your basement?  :o  :o  :o
 
:lol:  :lol:


Buried in literature!
  • ANTdrew likes this

There is a important time for everything, important place for everyone, an important person for everybody, and an important ant for each and every ant keeper and myrmecologist alike


#57 Offline Da_NewAntOnTheBlock - Posted October 14 2019 - 11:30 AM

Da_NewAntOnTheBlock

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,540 posts
  • LocationIllinois
Also, beautiful journal, love the plants, you should meditate in your garden sometime lol. It's very calming.
  • ANTdrew likes this

There is a important time for everything, important place for everyone, an important person for everybody, and an important ant for each and every ant keeper and myrmecologist alike


#58 Offline ANTdrew - Posted October 14 2019 - 3:06 PM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,795 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA

Also, beautiful journal, love the plants, you should meditate in your garden sometime lol. It's very calming.

Thank you! I used to meditate all the time before my kids turned my life into a circus. I’ll get back to it someday.

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25   I <3 tiny ants


#59 Offline Da_NewAntOnTheBlock - Posted October 14 2019 - 3:28 PM

Da_NewAntOnTheBlock

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,540 posts
  • LocationIllinois

 

Also, beautiful journal, love the plants, you should meditate in your garden sometime lol. It's very calming.

Thank you! I used to meditate all the time before my kids turned my life into a circus. I’ll get back to it someday.

 

Good Idea!


There is a important time for everything, important place for everyone, an important person for everybody, and an important ant for each and every ant keeper and myrmecologist alike


#60 Offline ANTdrew - Posted October 28 2019 - 10:14 AM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,795 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA

Update 10-28-2019

 

The growing season is basically coming to an end in my insect garden. I hope you have enjoyed reading about the native plants and animals these past few months in the updates, and thank you to everyone who commented and followed. I may do one last post detailing how I winter-sow native seeds for propagation, but this will be it for now.

 

I'll sign off with this aerial view of the back garden I shot from my roof. You can see some of the damage the drought left behind, but things are improving:

IMG 6205

Edited by ANTdrew, October 28 2019 - 10:21 AM.

  • DDD101DDD likes this

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25   I <3 tiny ants





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users