Monday, June 11, 2007

The Jungle of Chicago (not the Upton Sinclair variety)

Each year, my relationship with our garden makes it seem like I haven't stepped in the garden the past few years. And no, I'm not talking about massive weeds, though that's a consistent issue. I'm talking about the weird bugs and not so weird animals that try to make our yard home.

Just a little background- We live in Chicago proper, the 3rd largest city in the United States. It's quiet here, and we all have standard Chicago lots (25X125). There's green space, but this is not the suburbs.
2003- Year 1: Our place actually looks like a jungle. We cut down 4 feet of growth in the front and back yards. We till, weed like you would not believe, and ultimately planted some holly, hostas, ivy, and bulbs. All is quiet in the garden.
2004 - Year 2- I have the upper hand on weeding. There are plenty of ants everywhere. Nothing too serious.
2005- Year 3- Mushrooms start popping up. Really odd, and irritating, in full sun. Plenty of Ants still.
2006- In addition to ants, I see pillbugs, slugs, and grubs for the first time. Of course, the mushrooms still go at it. I see a couple lady bugs. Oh, and some type of black beetle with red stripes.
2007- Now, apparently the word is completely out that our yard is the hip happening place to be. We had a bunny incident, have the birds and squirrels.
On a more pleasing note, we have seen cardinals and monk parakeets. The worst thing, is that I have never in my life seen such bugs. Then of course, the pill bugs, ants, and butterflies. (oh, a lightening bug made an appearance over the weekend).

Planting, I've uncovered a few ant colonies. Oh, that was fun.

Now, this weekend, i've seen (1) a smallish red bug. 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch long. It had a pear shaped bottom body, some legs, and a small top body part-with a black tip). the bug is 98% redish orange. It also has long antennas. It was hanging out by the concrete under mulch. (2) Tiny lime green things that look like grasshopper. Really tiny though-maybe 1/4 inch. and (3) a spider with a red body and a clear top. I have not been able to find any of these things in any insect guide.

After I spotted all the red bugs, I decide to go rest on our bench. I feel something crawl on me, look down, and there's an inch long oblong clear/white thing. I acted instinctively, swatted it, and it fell into my hostas. I couldn't find it when I looked to get a better look at it.

I'm sorry, but I have no photos. Typically when I encounter these things, I'm gardening (dirt, water, etc.) which is not conducive for photo ops. And of course, bugs move quickly and are gone when I return. No cicadas here either-which are fine by me.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous adrienne said...

hello again. it's fixerupper.typepad.com again....10 years ago my husband and i owned a victorian 2-flat at bosworth/addison in chicago. we had an Amazing organic vege garden in our tiny back yard, even tho we had many of the bugs you described. i don't know what neigbhorhood you are in but our old 'hood was once a cabbage farm (or so my grandmother told us), and the dirt was still black and fertile when we were planting our tomatoes and broccoli seedlings in the 1990s. anyway, just a note to say that a lot of bugs are beneficial (not slugs though-they're awful) and it's great that you're attracting birds! some of the bugs may have come in with the mulch---i bet the mushrooms did.

June 21, 2007 9:02 PM  

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