Now that the weather has warmed, many creatures are populating my garden again. I am always happy to see a green anole hanging under the screen that covers the rain barrel.
The passion vine has been growing by leaps and bounds after a long winter sleep underground. The Gulf Fritillary butterflies have already found it and have begun laying eggs. This is the first caterpillar I found munching away. Fortunately, this is a very hardy vine and it survives and grows even while hosting these hungry caterpillars. Watching them grow, form a chrysalis and then hatch is of great delight for me and the grands.
The other morning while doing my garden "rounds" I discovered this little guy just hanging out in a bromeliad. I haven't seen one of these green tree frogs in several years. We have been inundated with Cuban tree frogs and the greenies have virtually disappeared. But, this winter I found many dead Cuban tree frogs apparently frozen to death. That cold weather may have done a big favor for our native lizard and frog populations.
These creatures I have come to truly hate. If I don't destroy them at this stage they get really ugly fast. They have a voracious appetite for Crinum lilies, Amarylis, Canna and other broadleaf plants. Here you see Eastern Lubber Grasshopper babies gathered on my bamboo. Yikes! I usually wear my garden gloves on my morning check up of the garden just so I can squish these guys. I just can't do it bare handed. This group of baby lubbers was about four feet off the ground and I couldn't reach them. I don't like to use pesticides or other chemicals but.....