Great Golden Digger Wasp

This wasp, a Great Golden Digger Wasp, Sphex ichneumoneus, has been making its home around Bicentennial Hall as of late. Thanks to Professor Helen Young for the identification! It’s completely harmless (as are most bees and wasps), only stinging when pinched, walked on, teased, or threatened. This one, I didn’t catch her name, is seen making a nest in the ground next to the sidewalk by Discovery court. It’s about a foot away from the sidewalk, but that is the gravel underneath the sidewalk that she is working so hard to pull out. The species makes a hole in the ground, then preys after grasshoppers, katydids, crickets, etc. It then takes these insects, paralyzes them, lays an egg inside each, and stores it in a hole off of the main burrow. Still alive and fresh, yet paralyzed, (insect refrigeration), the egg hatches in the insect, and the young larvae consume their first take out meal.

There are several females burrowing around there, and probably males flying close by. Go over and say hi. They are quite good pollinators, as it feasts on nectar as an adult. With pollinators under siege lately, we need all of them we can get.

No Mow

It’s an unfortunate name for a great concept, but we can’t seem to come up with something better. As was talked about in this article, our landscape department has chosen about 20 acres we are actively ignoring. Well, that’s not quite true, there is nothing that is no maintenance in landscape, no matter what the gardening books or magazines say. I thought I would take this opportunity to expand more on the Middlebury College no mow program, what we’re doing, why, and some of the management concepts. Continue reading No Mow

Annuals-CFA Planters

One of my favorite jobs here on campus is planting the giant concrete planters by the Museum of the Arts doors, on the lower side of the Mahaney Center for the Arts. Here’s some pictures of how they are turning out.

 Red Leaf Canna Lily and Peach Verbena

 Red Leaf Banana Plant, Snowflake Bacopa, and Lime Sweet Potato Vine

 Black Eyed Susan Vine, Snowflake Bacopa, and Pseuderanthemum ‘Black Varnish’

Littleleaf Linden

Another tree is in bloom right now, it’s that sweet smell you probably get a hint of once in a while. It’s Littleleaf Linden, Tillia cordata, related to our native Basswood, Tillia americana. Here’s a picture of the bloom.

We’re home to the state’s largest Littleleaf Linden, by Warner Science.