A unique UC Davis symposium on "Saving a Bug's Life: Legal Solutions to Combat Insect Biodiversity Decline and the Sixth Mass Extinction" will...
The Western bumble bee, Bombus occidentalis, is a candidate to be listed under the Endangered Species Act. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
If diversity is the spark of life, then the Bohart Museum of Entomology is fueling that spark into a full flame. The Bohart Museum, home of nearly...
Butterflies from Belize are part of the global collection at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. They are (far right) Blue Morpho, Morpho helenor montezuma; (top left), a leaf mimic, Fountainea eurypyle confusa; and blue hairstreak, Pseudolycaena damao, according to entomologist Jeff Smith, who curates the Lepidoptera section. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This is part of the beetle collection at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
An Australian stick insect (walking stick) at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
My husband and I just returned from celebrating our 25th anniversary in Maui. We had honeymooned there and celebrated my parents' 50th anniversary there, so Maui has always been special to us. In addition to the whale, sea turtle and surfer watching, and snorkeling I have always loved spending time with the tropical plants here. The grounds of the resort/condo complex we stayed at were just lovely. I was impressed with the combination of plants and bromeliads. The burgundy and green color combination was striking without a single flower in sight.
Venturing out to the parking area I saw a lovely tree. I don't know what kind of tree this is but it had pinnately compound leaves. What impressed me most about this tree was the root system that was visible above the ground. It was really quite massive and took up every bit of space it had been given. I would love to know what the below-ground root system looked like. This tree was making the most of what it had and was thriving.
Close to the first tree, I saw another smaller tree. Its gnarled trunk and branches had been adorned with air plants and orchids. I've got to admit that I felt more than a twinge of envy at this point. I certainly wouldn't be able to do that in Fairfield.
Another day we went up to the town of Makawao which is considered upcountry as it is situated on the slopes of the dormant volcano Haleakala. This area has ranching and farming. The first thing I noticed was hibiscus in the parking lot that was the size of a small tree. The town was charming with many boutiques and restaurants. Outside one of the stores was a bucket filled with bouquets of Protea for the grand price of $10.00. Guess this is one of the benefits of living close to a Protea farm.
Next time I would like to find out if there are tours offered at this farm. I know there are tours at a nearby lavender farm and at the Surfing Goat Dairy. That's the thing about Maui, no matter how many times you go, you find more that you want to see next time.
photos by Karen Metz
tree roots maui
Diversity will reign supreme at the UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day on Saturday, Feb. 15, when 13 museums or collections will be open to the public....
Ready for UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day are scientists (from left) Ivana Li, biology lab manager; Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology; Steve Heydon, Bohart Museum senior museum scientist; Lacie Newton, doctoral student, Jason Bond lab; Brennen Dyer, lab assistant, Bohart Museum; and Rebecca Godwin, doctoral candidate, Jason Bond lab. In front is Juniper, Ivana Li's dog. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
All aboard! The t-shirt design, by Ivana Li, shows organisms that visitors will see at the UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day on Feb. 15. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
As a child, I enjoyed the mint growing underneath our kitchen window for its fragrance and flavor. It also was an excellent addition to mud pies and imaginary floral “soups” (and, no, I didn't taste those). I had some vague awareness that the mint was hardy, although I didn't think about it in those terms. It had been planted years earlier by some unknown person, wasn't regularly watered, and withstood ravenous deer. It cropped up year after year.
As an adult, that experience made me very wary about planting mint in my yard now that I am familiar with terms like “aggressive,” “invasive,” and “rampant spreading.” I kept picturing that mint plant thriving despite neglect.
But the siren song of mojitos, tea, and Turkish-style coffee prevailed. I've been growing mint successfully in containers for a few years now without it spreading. Basically, it comes down to two easy concepts: pot and prune.
Mint (Mentha spp.) is easy to grow, which also makes it difficult to control. It is a perennial herb that prefers rich soil, ample water, and afternoon shade. It spreads sideways by runners, or more specifically, rhizomes (horizontal underground stems). While an 18” deep barrier might help contain mint planted in the ground, the rhizomes still may escape eventually and so I won't risk it. To avoid the plant's rampant spread, plant mint in a container and place the container on an impervious surface, such as a patio or paver to ensure that the plant doesn't spread through the hole in the bottom of the container. (The water should still be able to drain out.) Some references say that it will suffice to place the container on a gravel surface, but I won't risk that either.
Care must be taken to ensure that the mint plant doesn't escape over the top of the container as well. Mint stems that touch the soil can root. I check my mint pots regularly during the growing season to ensure that that the stems don't grow over the edge of the container and touch the soil. It really isn't much effort.
There are many interesting varieties of mint. I've planted both spearmint (Mentha spicata) and chocolate mint (Mentha × piperita f. citrata 'Chocolate'). I'd like to try peppermint (Mentha piperita), but it doesn't do as well in a hot, dry environment as spearmint. While the chocolate mint is a fun, fragrant novelty, we use the spearmint much more. If I had to pick just one mint, I'd pick spearmint for its ability to grow well in our county and its versatility of use.
photo by Erin Mahaney