A Map, an App and a Wrap-up!

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has dedicated the month of April to sharing information about invasive plants and insects, and not a moment too soon :arrow: the warmest winter on record has brought many bugs to the surface ahead of schedule, some of them nasty with hostile intent! :roll:

But how can you tell the good from the bad…or the bad from the downright disastrous?  In short, how do you know what to look for, and when?  Quite simply, there’s a map for that!

Located at Hungrypests.com, the Pest Tracker “map” is an incredible resource, available in both English and Spanish. Visitors can select individual states to see what pests are threatening, and learn how to report suspected invasives in the counties where they live.

Curious about broader threats on a national level?  The Pest Tracker can be used that way too, to identify what areas of the U.S. are at greatest risk, where invasive species have been identified, and what quarantines have been enforced to stop their spread. The public can also communicate with the USDA about the invasive pest issue via Facebook and Twitter; HungryPests.com is also optimized for mobile devices.

Moving now from maps to apps….

Remember when I first spoke of iBoPlanet, the plant identification app that was seeking funding via kickstarter.com?

What I’m about to tell you is worthy of a drumroll…(please click the drum below, and then look beneath it to read further!)

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Four days ago, I heard from Steve Bowen–the app’s creator–who had some VERY good news!!  With 2 hours and 1 minute remaining ’til deadline, the Quest for iBoPlanet was SUCCESSFULLY AND 100% FUNDED.

Let me repeat: iBoPlanet has been 100% funded, by 120 backers (I’m one of the 120! :) ) who pledged a total of 6018.00!!   Congrats to Steve!!!   If you’ve forgotten what the app can do, refresh your memory by clicking here: iBoPlanet page on Kickstarter.

And since no post would be complete without an update on the Ranchero, let me share what’s been happening!

Just before Easter, I planted some freesia bulbs I forgot I had! :eek:  I found them while looking for a hammer, shoved to the rear of a cabinet on my screened porch.

Freesia Bulbs

"She forgot about us...and now she expects us to grow? ha!"

Around the same time, I noticed a lone cosmos (non-super variety) blooming in a color that might indicate a cross pollination between my yellow and orange varieties. Of  the hundreds of cosmos (literally!) I’ve grown in the past 2.5 years, this one is unique, and pretty!

Unusual Cosmos color

A few days ago, I noticed a neoreglia bromeliad with little purple flowers beginning to open atop the inflorescence. Because this is a fleeting event, I took a picture:

Neoreglia in Bloom

I saved the prettiest photo for the end.   Sparaxis (aka harlequin flowers) have long been favorites of mine, but I haven’t had much success growing them…odd, too, considering they start as bulbs, not seeds!  Perhaps they get eaten by rabbits or moles?  Here is the first (of two) that I planted in a container alongside garland flowers and mirabilis; because I like this picture so much, I’m inserting it full-size:

Sparaxis

And with that you have the Ranchero wrap-up, but I’d be remiss without a reminder that Earth Day is this Sunday, April 22.  If you can plant something special, do….if not, take a look at the USDA/APHIS video below for 7 things you can easily do to help the planet!  :)

:) :)

Until next time…..