We left in winter conditions and returned to summer conditions. Tackling the next part of garden cleanup has been quite a task in the heat and gnats. I wondered how you all were faring with your own gardens especially since some of you are quite new to wildlife gardening.
I thought it might be timely to step-by-step explain how I wrap up the garden cleanup in spring.
I hope my post helps guide you. Please share your comments and questions in the comment section following the post (rather than write to me directly), that way everyone can benefit from your questions, my answers, and all the additional sage advice that others share.
Is my garden cleanup done yet? Not nearly. Heading back out as soon as I send this off. Good luck with yours and please wish me some luck and stamina with mine. It will all be worth it when it’s done.
It’s spring and Red-spotted Purple caterpillars are venturing out of their winter hibernaculums. Partially grown caterpillars created these safe retreats last fall by silking a tiny leaf shut, silking the leaf to the tree, then crawling inside and going to sleep for the winter. All the other leaves fell from Black Cherry trees and Beach Plum bushes, but the hibernaculum leaves remained still attached – a tell-tale sign to a keen naturalist that some creature might be inside.
As temperatures warm, these teeny tiny caterpillars (about one-quarter inch long) are venturing forth, sunning in the warmth and looking for tasty buds on their host plant (Black Cherry, Beach Plum, . . .).
Cape May County, where I live, has more invasive species than any other county in New Jersey: 366 as of March 2013. Gardeners here are bombarded with invasvies every day in nurseries, plantings by landscapers, neighbor’s yards, school plantings, natural areas. It’s quite overwhelming. I delved into the problem in my latest post on Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens.