The other day while tending the garden, I noticed that one of my tomato plants was stripped bare. Then I noticed that several of my tomato plants were stripped bare. Then I said really bad words. The horn worms were back.
The larvae of the hawk moth, horn worms are the Very Hungry Caterpillar on steroids and with a very bad attitude. They frighten me. They are about four inches long and thick — they’re actually beefy — and you notice the damage they’ve done way before you notice them, as they are perfectly camouflaged so you cannot see them as they ravage your tomato plants. They are voracious, munching along, decimating a plant almost overnight. Just look at their teeth — scary, sharp, horn worm teeth.
Facing the Enemy, Real and Imagined
I was working up my courage to pull one off a plant when the horn worm started fighting with another horn worm — literally battering its fellow destroyer with its head — and I ran away like a little girl and pleaded with my husband, Eric, to extract them, promising him all sorts of things in exchange. He pulled at least 15 off our plants and put them in a sealed container, which I immediately drove to a friend’s house (placing the container in the back seat of my car, in case they escaped) so her chickens could eat them. I check the garden every day to see if any remain. So far, so good, and our remaining tomato plants are recovering nicely — we’re expecting tomatoes any day now.
Garden metaphors abound and here’s another one. As if to parallel my horn worm experience, I’d had a particularly destructive thought in my head this past week — not even realizing it was there — which munched along, eating away at my confidence, rendering me unable to bear any creative fruit. A wise person helped me identify and extract the thought, so cleverly camouflaged as fact when it was actually fiction. Happily, like my tomato plants, I’m recovering and starting to produce.
Speaking of Producing
Gardens and plants provide all kinds of creative opportunities for growth, if you’ll pardon the pun. This week in NYC, I had the huge pleasure of seeing Ellsworth Kelly’s plant drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Best known for his abstract works, Kelly has been drawing plants for nearly 50 years and they are breathtaking. A review in the New York Times gives us some insight. Kelly views the plants not as specimens, but as portraits of flowers that correspond to a particular place and time and prompt a very specific memory. In an excerpt from the article, Kelly describes his discoveries best:
Another way of putting it is that the act of choosing the plants matters as much as the act of drawing. “Each drawing that I’ve done, I have found,” he says. “Meaning, I see a plant I want to draw.” Later he describes finding the subject of “Poppy,” from 1984, in a ditch in California on a drive to Big Sur: “I loved it because of how I had found it. It’s seeing a fragment, a flash — what one has been waiting for. And it says, ‘Here I am.’ ”
Please help me build my online audience!
- Please share this blog with your friends — just use the icons below!
- Leave a comment. Feedback is great.
- Want to receive these blogs in your email inbox? Please register at the top right of this page. While you’re there, you can like my artist’s Facebook page and follow me on Twitter!
- Thanks for your support!