Rock artists, all. Those who painted rocks at the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology open house on Saturday, Jan. 18 were not just rock artists....
These rocks at the Bohart Museum of Entomology depict favorite insects: honey bees and ladybugs (lady beetles.) The larger rock, inspired by Valentine's Day, is titled "Love Bugs." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Youngsters flocked to the rock painting table at the Bohart Museum of Entomology to create their masterpieces. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Some of the rocks painted during the Bohart Museum of Entomology's open house. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This creative rock shows a butterfly framed in purple and white. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Every butterfly needs a rainbow and every rainbow needs a butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Tien Ferreira, 4, of Fairfield knew just what to do. She donned her special outfit, a blue butterfly cape, and headed over to the open house at the...
Tien Ferreira, 4, of Fairfield, displays her blue butterfly cape, as Bohart associate Greg Karofelas holds a collection of blue morpho butterflies. In back is Jeff Smith, curator of the Lepidoptera section. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Tien Ferreira, 4, of Fairfield, wearing her blue butterfly cape, looks at the blue morpho butterflies held by Bohart associate Greg Karofelas. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Brownie Girl Scout Troop 5520 members Lauren Wells (front),7, and Madeline Louis, 8, both of West Sacramento, look at a drawer of butterflies held by Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Before Brownie Girl Scout Troop 5520 toured the Bohart Museum, they met to discuss their insect-themed assignments. Here Lauren Wells (left), 7, and Madeline Louis, 8, display a handwritten poster. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Savanna Miller, 7, and her sister Olivia, 4, of Vacaville, are fascinated by the insect specimens at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. These include Birdwing butterflies (left), and the yellow ones are the Tithonus Birdwing – Ornithoptera tithonus – from New Guinea and nearby island of Irian Jaya, according to curator Jeff Smith.(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Olivia Miller, 4, of Vacaville, is in awe. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Entomologist Jeff Smith, who curates the Lepidoptera section of the Bohart Museum, shows some specimens to Vacaville residents Ginny Miller and her grandchildren, Savanna, 7, and Olivia, 4. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Olivia Miller, 4, and her sister, Savannah, 7, demonstrate how butterflies fly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The Lepidoptera section of the Bohart Museum houses nearly half-a-million butterflies and moths. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Oriental Poppies (Papaver orientale)
Now is the time to start your Oriental poppy plants. Oriental Poppies come in a variety of colors. The paper-like petals are almost translucent and are very soft to the touch. The blooms only last a day or two. Be sure to deadhead the flowers. They look best when they are planted in large quantities.
The Oriental Poppy flowers last for a few months and the plants are perennials. They prefer morning sun and afternoon shade unless you live near the coast. They are very easy to grow. Poppies like average - low water. They do not like wet feet or soggy soil. They are deer resistant and can handle winter temperatures as low as USDA zone 5. They grow to 3-4' tall and 1-2' wide. They will spread by seed and create new growth in clumps. They have white taproots that can be divided carefully in the fall.
How to start your own Oriental Poppies.
Mix one part humus-rich potting soil with two parts vermiculite. Moisten the soil mixture and put it in 4-inch pots. Mix 1 part poppy seed with 3 parts fine sand. This prevents you from overseeding the 4” pots. Sprinkle the seeds into the pots. Top them with a little vermiculite. Spray the soil lightly with water. Cover the seeds in plastic until they sprout. Then remove the plastic. Water the seedling from the bottom using a soaking tray. Keep them evenly moist. Thin the seeds by cutting the ones you don't want using small scissors. Plant them when there is no danger of frost.
Here are some of my favorite Papaver hybridum varieties.
Danebrog Poppy, Lavender Feathers, and Swansdown Poppy
It was a "Science of a Day" at the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology open house last Saturday afternoon, Jan. 18. For three hours, six UC Davis...
Doctoral student Ann Holmes holds up a bat specimen. Next to her is Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Visitors flock around doctoral student Ann Holmes to see the bat specimens and ask questions. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Forensic entomologist and doctoral student Alexander Dedmon awaits visitors. Behind him is a portrait of Professor Richard Bohart (1913-2007), founder of the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Forensic entomologist Alexander Dedmon answers questions about the many different ways insects can be used as evidence in forensic entomology.
Doctoral student Charlotte Alberts explains her research on assassin flies, also known as robber flies. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Visitors learned from doctoral student Charlotte Alberts how assassin flies catch their prey. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Forest entomologists and doctoral students Gabe Foote (left) and Crystal Homicz (right) talk about their research. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Forest entomologist Crystal Homicz shows visitors evidence of damage by forest beetles. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Doctoral student Yao Cai (center) led the discussion on circadian clocks and insects. With him are Nitrol Liu (left), also a graduate student in the Chiu lab, and Ben Kunimoto, a Davis Senior High School student. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Graduate student Nitrol Liu of the Joanna Chiu lab shows a fruit fly poster. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Doctoral student Zachary Griebenow greets visitors eager to learn about ants. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Doctoral student Zachary Griebenow talks about his specialty, ants. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Betty Victor wrote a wonderful blog about Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens recently. She encouraged blog readers to visit, and I can heartily second that. What many may not know is that December is actually a beautiful time to visit. While the summer-blooming flowers are gone, there are still a lot of others that are just getting going including the rhododendrons. I can also think of two other great reasons to visit.
During weekends from the end of November and into December, the gardens come to life at night. Thousands of Christmas lights illuminate the core of the gardens. Lava pours from a stump. A dragon blows smoke in the green area. I was there in late October of last year, and volunteers were already hanging the lights. When I returned for a weekend evening in December with my husband, the gardens were truly magical. The imaginative light placement and designs were amazing. It was chilly and a little damp, but a choir was singing in the heated tent at the end of the trail. They were really good, and so was the hot cocoa!
The other reason to visit late in the year is that the whales are migrating. Take the time to walk the trail to the coast. If it's rainy or drizzly, there is an enclosed area with a large panel of windows and a front-row view of the coast. You can watch for whales in there. We took our dogs (yes, they let you take your dogs into the gardens!), and we walked out to the coastal edge of the gardens. We stood there for about an hour and saw at least a half-dozen whales' spouts and flukes, a pod of orcas, and lots of sea birds.
It takes a while to get there, but it's well worth the trip!
photos by Michelle Davis