By Jannie Vaught
Although the gardens are slower than normal the fruit and nuts trees are hanging full. And when the sunshine breaks through the cloud cover it will be a garden extravaganza! I am referring to this season as my adapting to the weather experience. Every day is a new learning column in my personal book of how to garden.
I would like to share what happened this weekend while visiting my daughter. While standing on her front-covered porch walking up the handrail is a Texas Horned Lizzard! He looked at us then went under the rail and into the flowers. As most of you know The Texas Horned Lizzard is neither a toad nor a frog. A true reptile. Texas Horned Lizard became the Texas state reptile in 1993 (Texas adopted a second reptile symbol in 2013; an official sea turtle. Although they look fierce they are docile and when threatened will lie flat and use their camouflage colors in the dirt. Their numbers are decreasing and are now listed as threatened due to habitat loss, and the loss of its main food source 70% is Harvester ants. The invasive Fire ant has decreased the colonies of the Harvester ant and the overuse of pesticides against All ants has brought the decline of this beautiful Horned Lizard. Along with the predation of coyotes, and domestic dogs. They will squirt a chemical blood mixture at their assailant which they say is horrible tasting. But without the safe habitat zones and a ready supply of Harvester ants, grasshoppers, and beetles as well as pill bugs they are remaining in a challenging decline. We decided that the large flat zone of Harvester ants should stay as it is. Undisturbed. And to our surprise, the Horned Lizzard has found a safe place to be.
I know that Fire ants are a problem that doesn’t go away, they kill every living creature they can. And their bite is painful. When treating this use safe guidelines and know the difference between the fire ant and the Harvester ant. The fire ant has a domed hill and the Harvester will have a broad flat area, you will see them carrying items into their burrow. Their harvesting small pieces of seed and chaff. These are “Good Ants!
When we choose to work With Nature instead of an attitude of killing the creatures we do not understand we will see the Texas Horned Lizzard return. This attitude and knowledge also help with the decline of pollinators, Bees, and the ground-dwelling Firefly that is in decline due to over mowing. Leave that flat ant area alone. raise your mower above 6 inches and let the wildflowers bloom.
Our very lives depend on the small vulnerable creatures we have always lived with.
Growing Green With Jannie