Joy of joys - I became a mother this weekend! A hummingbird moth, a.k.a. sphinx moth, hatched in a jar in my house!!! We released it into the garden, and hope it will make our evenings lovely with its graceful fluttering around the flowers.

Last year (early summer 2006) I discovered a scary looking worm thing and took it to Mr. Boevers at the OSU Extension Center and found out it was just a common old tomato worm. While I was visiting Mr. Boevers and my friend Paula Post, the County Home Economist, the little worm made a naughty little poo.

I brought in the "scary" worm on a flower pot plate along with some of the foliage in which I found it.

Here's the little face! The end of the worm has the horns on it.

Here's the side and the horns!!!

And here's the poo! Poo is to the right of the worm. Actually, the name for tomato worm poo is "frass".

I wrote an article about this incident for the Kingfisher Times and Free Press, and invited people with unwanted tomato worms to deliver them to me. As far as I know, no one availed themselves of this opportunity, but I carefully protected all the ones that I saw in my 4 O'Clocks.

Winter passed. Spring came, and is going fast! It is now 2007. I'm pulling mint roots out of an area in my Monet Garden (west of the house, inside the grapevine fence) to plant zinnias. Out of the ground came a little thing that looked like a three inch cigar made out of beef jerky. I recognized it as a moth pupa case, and having learned from some of my favorite books by Gene Stratton-Porter that they could be hatched indoors, I took it in. I found an old mason jar and some sticks and put it in. I wet a piece of calico and banded it around the top.

It sat there for a couple of days and I had about given it up, when Neal came out to the garden to tell me something and, "By the way, that thing hatched in your jar." I hurried inside to see it. What joy! A life where before there was only a three inch cigar made out of beef jerky! Here's the rest of the story!

I found this little thing while digging in the garden, brought it in, put it in a jar with a stick, and it hatched. Here's the shell.

What joy to see a new life begin right before our eyes. The pupa case is how you tell if it is a girl or boy. We think girl.

Having read "The Girl of the Limberlost" about a million times, I knew that during development time, she would be still or safely crawl on us.

We walked it over to the east side of the house where there is less wind. Neal kept taking pictures and let me play with baby!

It continued to crawl around on my shoulder, then rest from time to time.


She crawled to my hat and allowed me to gently show the color of her wings.

She was active but seemed tired. Getting out of that pupa case was hard work!

We gave her a new home in the 4 O'Clocks, where we originally found our first "tomato worm."

It's about time to say hello to the Big World!

Oops! A little sibling rivalry is normal, we suppose. Kitty was not interested in the moth, but in getting our full attention again.

Here are some pictures of hummingbird moths that have visited us in the past. They LOVE 4 O'Clocks!



We hope to take pictures of some of the dozens of hummingbird moths in our larkspurs this year. I'm thinking of starting a tomato bed next year just for the scary little worms that turn into such beautiful moths.

- Virginia Giglio, May 27, 2007

PS For some superb information about sphinx moths, including teaching tools, a coloring book, and video, please visit The Manduca Project.

PPS Meanwhile, down in El Paso, Texas, there is another garden with a grandbaby in it!

Avery Nealan Pawlicki
in the hollyhocks