"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. " ~Lindley Karstens

Monday, May 3, 2010

Garden Creatures, Sago Palm and Acalypha Reptans

I always envy those who can take perfect pictures of the creatures in their gardens.  In their pictures, those butterflies, dragonflies, birds and lizards seem just know how to make a perfect pose for a perfect picture moment!  And if it is not enough, they all can list those creatures with those fancy names!  Yes, you know who you are!!!  For me, I often either don't have time to get my camera once spotting them, or just get a blurry picture out of it.

With this said, now you can understand why I got excited that I finally got several pictures the past weekend that I think at least show-able (is this even a word?).   Of course I won't be able to tell you what is the name for each creature.  All I know is that the first two are dragonflies (but what kind??), and the third one is some sort of beetle.   I am sure lots of you out there will be able to give me their names just like that!

Oh, you may have noticed that I actually added caption for this below one.  Yes, have seen it so many times in several Florida bloggers' posts posted by FloridaGirlDeborah and RainforestGardener , I am finally able to recognize it :)

Green Anole
These pictures are far from perfect, but at least this is a start, right?

Now, here is another thing that amazed me recently in the garden.

Sago palm (Cycas revoluta) just finished putting up the new set of fronds!  Sago palm is very slow growing plant, and it only sprouts the new fronds once every half year.  However, once it starts setting the sprouts,  I am amazed how fast they grow!  You can see in short  2 weeks, what a progress those new fronds have made!
Start sprouting

The fourth day

The seventh day
The ninth day
The 13th day.  Almost full open with still soft curly leaves
I love the texture of the new fronds when unfurling.  Here is a close up of them being on the ninth day.  Aren't they gorgeous?

In case you are wondering what is the flower that kept peeking through the sago palm's fronds.  It is the Acalypha reptans, Dwarf Chenille, or fire tail.  They grow under the sago palm, and seem loving the shelter that the sago palm has provided to them. 

Acalypha reptans, Dwarf Chenille, or Fire Tail
That is all for today.  Wish you all have a good week ahead!


  1. Hi, Ami! Beautiful critter photos! That 3rd one is a Milkweed Assassin Bug...a wonderful predator to control the bad beasties. It is an immature instar; will have large wings when mature. I am always thrilled to find assassin bugs in my garden.

  2. Ami, you are a wonderful photographer! I wish I could get as close to such beautiful creatures - well done!

  3. I think you did a great job on the creature photos ... very clear. Really loved the dragonfly shot.

    I also grow a couple of cycas revoluta ... and it always fascinates me just how quickly the new growth sprouts up. Loved those shots as well.

  4. Ami ~ Your photographs are great!! I don't know the fancy names for all critters or flowers either, so you are not alone. The unfurling of the sago palm was lovely.


  5. Ami, beautiful photos! and who is not captured by the beauty of this ancient cycad, the oldest living fossil. We bought one years ago while in CA, but it did not survive our wet winters, so I'll admire yours from afar. ;)

  6. I seldom can take a good picture of our wildlife either. However, your photos are very good - I love the dragonfly pictures. I also just love Sagos - your photos of that are incredible :-)

  7. Ami, those are great photos! I love those green anoles as long as they are not too close to me. They are fun to watch.

  8. I love sago palm! Yours is beautiful!!! Mine lives indoors and it doesn't like it: it's all very light, pale. The creatures in these post are so cute, Good pictures!

  9. That dragonfly with the striped wings is really pretty. I haven't ever seen one like that. Your pictures are very nice. Haven't ever noticed how Sago palms get their leaves. Now I know. They look so cool all coming in at once like that.

    I've been seeing lots of different bugs in the garden that I do not recognize. Good bug? Bad bug? Unless I know for sure it is a bad one I let it live.

  10. Floridagirl: I knew it! You are among those who know so many names of flowers, and critters! Thanks for the identification of Milkweed Assassin Bug. Good to know it is a good one :)

    Karly: Thanks for the kind words!

    Bernie: Thanks! I am fascinated by the same thing about the sago palm. I still remember the first time it sprouted, I was so excited. Only then I have not started blog yet. This time I recorded the whole progress.

    Flowerlady: Thanks for making me feel better :) I love that I am learning so much since I started blogging, not only gardening, also photography, and now starting to know a little bit about the wide life in the garden.

    Di: Sorry about your sago palm. Here in florida, this plant is one of easiest one to grow. I really did not pay much care since I put it into the ground. It just thrives by its own.

    Noelle: Thanks! Those two dragonflies pictures are my favorites too. Glad that you liked my pictures, consider it is a encouragement for me :)

    Amy: Those green anole is very tiny, cute to look, but I did not actually touch it before :)

    Tatyana: I don't have much luck to grow any plants indoor. Sago might need more light.

    NanaK: I also never saw the stripped wing dragonfly either. I almost thought it can be called "Tiger dragonfly" :)

    I have never been a real fan of the critters until I started my passion into the garden and the blog. That is why I found I have so much to learn now. I will not know the difference of good bug and bad bug either :)

  11. Congratulations on capturing some wildlife in your garden. Those dragonflys are gorgeous! I've noticed lots of them in my yard lately, too. Neat idea to capture the sago fronds as they emerge. I didn't realize it all happened that quickly...cool photos.

  12. Hi Ami, you are doing better than I am - I don't seem to be able to get a photo of a drangonfly at all, let alone such a good one!

  13. wow, these were really nice photos! The time-elasped ones of the sago palm were really fascinating. those guys do really grow fast once they start going. I hate bugs but your photos were great of the dragonfly.

  14. Susan: Thanks for the encouragement! Glad that I can show you the progress of the sago palm frond unfurling :)

    Wendy: If my dragonflies photo can make you think those bugs are lovely, I think it is a real reward to me! Glad that you enjoyed the sago palm pictures!

  15. gippslandgardener: Believe me, those two dragonfly pictures are chosen from lots of blurry ones :)

  16. Ami, thank you very much for telling me about your dwarf cattail. It is really cute! I have link this post to mine about the Acalypha hispida.


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