Garden Grossology 101

Sometimes days in the garden can expose you to elements of nature that are a little more on the unpleasant side, kind of weird, or just plain gross. After our recent deluge of rain (does anyone even remember the word drought?) I made of pair of gross discoveries in my garden. All natural of course, but gross none the less.

Grossology - The Study of Gross things.

Welcome to Garden Grossology 101: Grossness Happens 

As a best guess this is a dog stinkhorn fungus. I won't go into why it is called that, other than it stinks, but if you use your imagination you might figure it out. I've seen two of these in the front garden but they are common in garden mulch. Sometimes though no matter how common something is, it will always be gross!

Part two of today's exploration into garden grossness is a picture of a caterpillar. Or what used to be a caterpillar, of the tent kind to be specific. This time the grossness was more my fault than Mother Nature's. I saw the caterpillar resting on one of our contoneasters.  I, like many other gardeners, have a great disdain for these critters since they can wreak havoc on young tender trees so I did what any gardener would do, I flicked it off. Now I didn't expect to do anything other than knock it off the plant, but apparently something had already gotten it because it was dead. Dead to the point of being squishy when I flicked it. Squishy to the point of getting caterpillar guts all over my flicking finger and just plain gross. This brings me to Grossology lesson 1: Examine caterpillars before flicking. Several things could have happened to that caterpillar. A parasitic wasp might have attacked it. A fungal disease could have gotten it. Or maybe it just died of old age. Whatever the case the result was the same. Squish!

Of course you could consider my recent post on the leaf beetle larvae as Garden Grossology part three.  They are disgusting enough, especially so when you consider the damage done!

So what Garden Grossology have you experienced lately?
And just so you don't leave completely grossed out here is something a bit more pleasant, a nice picture of a salvia standing in front of some irises in our birdbath garden!

'Caradonna' Salvia nemorosa

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