birdwatchersdigest.com • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER’ 17 • BIRD WATCHER’S DIGEST
my overalls, and whip it out,
my Excalibur with an orange
plastic handle. It is the baddest
garden tool you will ever have.
It’s a stainless-steel knife with
razor-sharp serrated edges that
can saw through dying vines and
gladiolus tops (or knuckle skin)
like they were hot butter. Get
one for yourself; give one to a
friend, but make sure you hide it
when you’re really mad because
it is dangerous. Whap!! I slash
the dead morning glory vines off
their trellises and throw them on
the compost pile. I take joy in
the cleanup. Who wants to look
at dead flowers? I like ‘em alive.
And I’ve got the greenhouse to
scurry to when I need it.
Taking inventory of my bird
plantings last November, I was
saddened to find the cause of the
sudden death of one of my care-
fully cultivated birch seedlings: a
bronze birch borer. I was able to
snap the dead trunk off and found
an awful looking, flat-headed,
creamy-white creature inside. It
looked like an animated sheet
metal screw. Now I’m dreading
seeing the adult borers’ D-shaped
exit holes on my big trees. I’m
afraid I’ll lose all my birches.
Well, either they’re going to die,
or they’re going to live. I’ll look
for the exit holes some other time,
when I’m feeling strong.
I have a good crop of new gray
birch seedlings coming up in the
cardinal flower beds, and I can
keep a succession of them coming. Maybe we can outnumber
the borers. I must have birches,
just as I require twinkly lights,
gardenias, and tuberoses to make JULI
Julie cuts down
Bronze birch borer larva.