Plant a tree for a new baby. It’s not just for people who retire or people who are famous or who die. I know babies are just little things, but trees will get bigger and babies will get bigger with them. Pick out something that matches their name, like maybe a Juneberry for a baby Jamie who was just born on Tuesday. That way he can pick juneberries on his birthday with his grandma when both he and the tree are big enough.
Do something for the butterflies! My daughter has a dill plantation on her front lawn left over from seeds that dropped last year, and yesterday I noticed tiny little caterpillars with a yellow saddle. Closer investigation showed them to be black swallowtail butterfly larvae, also known as parsley worms, which feed on the foliage of umbels — plants in the carrot/parsley/dill/fennel family with short flower stalks that spread from a common point. It’s early for monarchs to be here, but not too early to plant the swamp milkweed that they so prefer.
Search and destroy. Keep an eye on the vegetable garden, especially the cole crops/cabbage family. Harlequin bugs have started to show up in my broccoli as adults so they’re flying in from somewhere. If you see the adults, deal with them and then look carefully for eggs on the underside of leaves; they look like a double line of little beer kegs. Scrape them off and dump in a rain barrel or squish them between your fingers. Squash a few green cabbage worms while you’re at it: It’s good for the spirit. An ounce of prevention is worth a whole lot more aggravation later.
Sally McCabe is associate director of community education at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (phsonline.org) and a co-owner of Cobblestone Krautery (www.cobblestonekrautery.com).