The Pennyroyal must be destroyed? Just my opinion...

Another pleasant feature of the Pepperwood glades that has to go are the lovely clumps of sweet pennyroyal. We set out to clear this from a few dried-up vernal pools on the western slope of the property; with the backdrop of sweeping views of the hills rising beyond the liano and northward above the Russian River.

We'd of done better a month or two earlier, as the ground was dry and we'd no way to get the roots of this hardy mint. I've been pulling spearmint and catnip out of the fine garden loam of my little garden for years, and it'll never be done. At least we eliminated most of this year's seed crop.

A big bonus was the the dozens of fat golden Orb spiders stationed around these patches. I'd be forgiven for assuming they were there to catch the nectaring insects drawn by the flowers. We worked mostly in the cool and foggy morning; so I couldn't really see what they actually caught... except for a few of the myriad small grasshoppers that fled before our slightest step. Whatever they got, they were some of the fattest I've seen; with numerous egg cases proudly in evidence. I wonder how they'll do absent the pennyroyal.

We also saw more Mantids than I've ever encountered. These with equally yellow-brown or jade green. Most were big females, although I saw the occasional diminutive male. Lots of the girls seemed suspiciously plump--I'd guess gravid-- so possibly the men had already done their service.

Posted by icosahedron icosahedron, August 01, 2012 16:24

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Yellow Garden Spider Argiope aurantia

Observer

icosahedron

Date

July 26, 2012 10:30 AM PDT

Description

Working on a crew to suppress various invasives, we found a fine crop of these setting nets next to the abundant pennyroyal blossoms. Sorry to say, we may have ruined their hunting. There were still many small crickets--a few if these in the snares--so perhaps it won't be too bad.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Pennyroyal Mentha pulegium

Observer

icosahedron

Date

July 26, 2012 11:30 AM PDT

Description

Wonderful smelling stuff; but marked for destruction in the Pepperwood habitat restoration plans. To be sure, the vernal pools it was flourishing in were dried up to the point that no satisfactory extirpation was possible. The clumps were bracketed by beautiful webs of golden orb spiders. These were fat and sassy; with numerous bulging egg cases hanging nearby.

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