Cicadas – a big green bug!

Yesterday morning, I was pulling a few weeds in my garden, and looked over to see a cicada sitting on my basil. I guess they like pesto, too.

These are medium sized bugs that make a lot of noise at night – a sort of buzzing. They are not crickets, nor are they locust. And they are not harmful at all to humans.

Molting Cicadas leave behind a brown shell (exoskeleton) that is ripped in half right down the back. This is how they bust out of their old shell and grow larger. I’ve found them all over the side of my house, and when I do, I just brush them off – no big deal.

If you look carefully at the side of these noisy bugs, you can see the timbals – they are the silvery, grey, things under the wings. This is what makes all the noise.

Is the Gardening Store Smith & Hawken Closing?

Sadly, yes.

As I was on my way to Whole Foods this weekend to pick up some fresh veggies and a  ciabatta for dinner, I passed our local Smith & Hawken store.  On the side of the building was one of those “everything must go” signs offering 20-30% off.  At first I just thought it was for one of the framing stores, or electronic retailers in the shopping center, so I thought nothing of it.

Then, this morning as I was scanning my RSS feeds, I read this post on Garden Rant, which is written by  a team of 4 “highly opinionated gardeners” across the country.

Now, I’ve only shopped at this gardening store a handful of times.  In reality I’ve only made one purchase, a pineapple garden hose thingy that you stick in the ground to prevent your hose from dragging across your flower beds.

But I have many memories of the fancy garden retailer, starting about 15 years ago in Los Gatos, CA.  Back then, I was only dating my wife.  I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible, of course, and so I’d drive her up to get her hair done.  Of course I’d never hang around the salon – that’s private time prime, for ladies gossip.  Besides the hair color solutions used to give me headaches.

So to kill an hour, I’d walk up and down Santa Cruz Ave, and poke my head into the various stores.  Smith & Hawken was one of those stores.  I was lured in by the sounds of fountains, and  the smells of fresh gardenias.  Of course I lived in a 1-room apartment at the time and had zero room for gardening.  The apartment was even too small for container gardening.  Not that I could afford anything if I did have room.  I was putting myself through school working on my undergrad degree.

But the retailer did such a great job of establishing that feeling – the one that reminded me of my grandmother’s succulent garden on Pine Street.  It made me think that if I bought all this stuff, I too could re-capture those memories, or at least build a place to start my own.

Alas, now I have a budding garden of my own – within another year or so, I’ll be able to just walk out my back door to regain some of those feelings.

You can read the entire press release announcing the closing of Smith & Hawken.  Of course I always get my plants from the local garden stores in Austin – places like Red Barn Garden Center up off 183, but sometimes it’s hard to find some items – stuff like Japanese Garden tools. Oh, well, I guess there’s always Amazon…

Smith & Hawken to shut down because of weak economy
Smith & Hawken to shut down because of weak economy