Monday, November 19, 2007

A warm fall day

It was absolutely lovely in the garden this morning; the fall color is still bright, as the leaves come down and sprinkle the landscape with color. But it's unusually warm, the kind of "Indian summer" day we used to have in September and October, not in mid-November. On the front steps, there was a sudden emergence of hundreds of winged insects -- they looked like ants and I'll have to figure out what they were. In any case, it's not the time of the year to be hatching!

I did my favorite program this morning for a garden club in a nearby city (this permutation was Gardening for Nature). Actually the location was in a semirural area west of town. In what used to be rolling farm fields, subdivisions and shopping areas have popped up and lakeside houses now dot the nearby shore of Lake Hartwell. They were a great group, amazingly energetic with their outreach and volunteer activities. It was not only gardening and planting activities that they were involved with, but also community action projects. They mentioned a local hospital that's created a garden area that patients receiving chemo could look at through the expansive windows. What a lovely thing -- when my mom was in extensive rehab, the ability to go outdoors, and visit in the courtyard garden at the hospital was so significant to both of us, but probably to me most.

2 comments:

  1. Your winged insects could be flying ants or termites. I researched them a while back, because we had them, too (though in the right season - spring through summer!). The main difference is the abdomen. Here's a comparison:

    http://www.pestproducts.com/flyingants.htm#wings
    and
    http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef603.asp

    And more flying ant info:
    http://insected.arizona.edu/antinfo.htm

    A not so fun thought is that carpenter ants or termites would be warm if they've taken cover in a nice cozy porch... I've had encounters with both and it's not fun. If you see them again, you might want to have an expert take a look.

    It's wonderful to hear about the healing power of gardens. I've just interviewed to become a Master Gardener. Within the Master Gardeners, there are many widows and others who have had tragedies in their lives. It gives them a sense of joy to be creating life and to be helping others create life. And to see that life goes on in a wonderfully intricate cycle.

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  2. Thanks for the info about winged insects! What I saw looked more like winged ants, rather than termites, according to my google image searches. But they were definitely an odd sight, emerging from a hole in the front steps (stone and concrete).

    You're so right about how creating life in our gardens gives us a sense of joy -- I find that the restorative power of gardening (and creating an ecological balance in our garden) is an essential counterweight to feeling gloomy about our environmental challenges. Being outside in nature is wonderful, but by growing and nurturing plants (of whatever type) and creating beneficial landscapes -- that helps feed the soul.

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Please share your thoughts. I enjoy hearing from fellow nature observers, as well as whomever else drops by.

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