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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Rain Red Reason

It's raining here again/still. Big deal you may say, but for gardeners in southern California it's pretty exciting. My yard work began today in a sunny but sodden garden and continued into a wet grey afternoon of picking up after the work of pruning, tipping, planting, dead heading, but before the fertilizing and dreaded oxalis weeding I didn't get around to. Anyway, one of the things I noticed was this bright red pelargonium leaf standing out among the other leaves on the same plant which are green with a maroon zonal band. Actually, this plant was variegated white and green when it was acquired but has reverted to its, I suppose, original rootstock form. It does still flower in salmon, a difficult hue to harmonize, and the reason this plant was sentenced to isolation behind the basketball hoop where it can do no harm to one's colorist sensibilities. I thought this red leaf rather pretty, especially all gilded with rain drops.

I also noticed a moth pupa hanging from one of the normal green/maroon pelargonium leaves; it like me was soggy with rain water. As much as one might like to conclude this pupa is that of the famed helicoverpa species (probably geranium budworm, as seen in the linked photo) which favors this pelargonium, one would be in error. Helicoverpa pupate underground, forming a shiny brown pupal case inside a hollowed out chamber in the soil beneath its former home. This pupa is somebody else, yet to be determined.

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