From the moment I first laid eyes on an Oxalis palmifrons I knew I wanted to take a picture of it with a tiny model train figure standing underneath the leaves as if she/he was a tourist posing among a bank of palm trees.
This photo isn’t quite what I had in mind.
First there was a fat lump of a thing found in the Yardshare Garden here in the west end while planting squashes. And then a few weeks ago we found Leopard Slugs (Limax maximus) in our friend David’s plot at the Leslie Street Allotment Garden on the east side of Toronto.
Prior to these two sightings I had never seen slugs of this size in Toronto, or this part of Canada for that matter. Our slugs are tiny little things called Gray Garden Slugs (Agriolimax reticulatus). Tiny, but pervasive! Until recently I could always ease my mind with the knowledge that while their numbers are legion, at least we don’t have the massive banana-type monsters.
And now we do.
These new slugs are European introductions, although there is speculation that they could have come from British Columbia. There is a scientist in Toronto who is currently tracking their occurrence, and while it looks like the Leopard Slug hasn’t really reached my part of town, it will soon enough.
And I thought I had my hands full with the four neighbour cats that have made our quiet yard their hang out. I feel like I’m in a horror movie, waiting for the giant insect army to invade.
- More on another giant slug found in Etobicoke, the suburb west of my home. It’s very pretty, but no thanks.
- A video (narrated by David Attenborough) of Leopard Slugs mating. Very fascinating, but again, not in my backyard!
Back in July I posted two photos of lithops plants my friend Barry grew from seed. Here’s one of the plants blooming for the first time! Worth the patient effort don’t you think?
In Dominica, you might just see a giant
Datura Brugmansia (I was told they are sometimes called “ Agouti umbrella“*), flush to the breaking point full of drooping, soft peach flowers. Chances are good that you’ll see this on several occasions, in varying locations, and always the same colour.
I saw this one on a steep mountain road in the village of Trafalgar on a climb up to visit the most amazing twin waterfalls that run hot and cold (also called Trafalgar). It was raining at the time, as it is almost always raining in the rainforest.
Long story short: we were not let in due to incredibly ridiculous local politics and posturing. I’m still very bitter about what went down and the fact that I did not get to see the falls. But the brugmansia was incredible and so was the view from the top of the hill.
* An agouti is a rodent that lives in Dominica. It kind of looks like a large guinea pig. I saw one from the back on our second last day on the island.
Turns out I messed up. My notes had datura as agouti umbrella but it’s actually a small fern called selanginella that goes by this colloquial term. Oops. Seems like it should be the datura though, doesn’t it? The little fern does not remind me of an umbrella. Brugmansia does. Go figure.