The slope on Thursday – A little autumn colour!

Monday and Tuesday were perfect autumn days; perfect gardening days too!  Sunny, warm but not too hot it was a pleasure to be in the garden.  Wednesday afternoon brought sheet lightening, thunder and lots of rain which continued intermittently overnight and into the early morning.  There is a strong breeze too today making the drying leaves rustle on the trees.

I know that autumn is here even if I want to live in denial a little longer; I know because the days are becoming shorter but I know most because the shield bugs are coming into the house to find suitable hibernation sites, I carefully remove them, not daring to squash them because of the pungent, long-lasting odour they emit.  I’m sure that during summer they don’t produce the odour so it seems to be a way of protecting themselves while they are hiding.  Strangely I have the impression that very few survive the hibernation process as I find lots of darkly coloured ones dead.  There are many kinds of shield bug (aptly called smelly ones in Italian), the type that come into the house are, I think, Piezodorus lituratus or gorse shield bug; the name obviously references the bad smell they emit.

The usual view looks much the same, the tall Perovskia obscuring much of the slope from this angle.

The usual view looks much the same, the tall Perovskia obscuring much of the slope from this angle.

Lagerstoemia indica has bright leaves that contrast beautifully with the silvery foliage of Teucrium.

Lagerstoemia indica has bright leaves that contrast beautifully with the silvery foliage of Teucrium.

The foliage colour of the Lagerstoemia makes up for its lack of flowers.

It won't be long before the bare earth is covered with Californian poppies, can you see the small plants growing?

It won’t be long before the bare earth is covered with Californian poppies, can you see the small plants growing?

Persimmon has some fruit

Persimmon has some fruit

.....and some autumn colour

…..and some autumn colour

I often complain that I have very little autumn colour in the garden but today on the slope the Lagerstoemia indica has bright leaves that contrast beautifully with the silvery foliage of Teucrium.

Persimmon has some fruit this year and its leaves are turning quite a nice colour.  I am hoping some of the fruit will remain on the tree long enough to give the impression that it is a tree decorated with orange balls for Christmas, as you can see in the photograph one fruit is already half eaten, probably by birds but the ants have now moved in and they will damage the remaining fruit if I don’t do something.

The prostrate rosemary always attracts bees but today it was the blue butterflies that were vying with the flowers for attention.

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Sorry, I’m not sure of an accurate ID for the blue butterflies, there are so many different ones and the males and females are also often different to each other.  I think these are a male and a female of the same species.

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Blues often fly quite late in the year here; do you have blue butterflies in your garden?

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31 thoughts on “The slope on Thursday – A little autumn colour!

  1. Love the view of the Lagerstoemia with the grasses and the butterflies are beautiful on the Rosemary. However I don’t much like the sound of those shield bugs coming into the house. There are some advantages to living in a cooler climate – the worst we have are house spiders and the very occasional earwig. No I don’t think I have ever seen a blue butterfly in my garden; white ones and the usual array of orange and black ones and that is it.

  2. Yes, there’s no denying it – Autumn’s definitely on the way! The upside is that beautiful changing foliage of your Lagerstoemia, so not all bad! Lovely effect against the Teucrium. I’m totally enamoured with your blue butterflies on the Rosemary, too, I hope your “Xmas tree” works out!

    • I’m sure there will be many more good days, October is usually a lovely month in this part of Italy. the poor Persimmon is growing is solid rock and I think it is having trouble getting any roots out into the surrounding tuffo, it would probably have been better to plant a smaller specimen, but impatience won!

  3. I love the little blue butterflies that are around at this time of year, there are lots of slightly different kinds but I just enjoy all of them. Your Californian poppies have really done you proud this year. I wanted to plant them after the spring flush but I thought I had to wait until next year, I did not realise they would come up again and again. Amelia

  4. Lovely shots of your butterflies Christina! I think they are the Common Blue, which I saw in June and early July here, and then just a few last month. I love seeing the flash of blue when they are in flight! Look forward to the Californian poppies flowering. Always such a pretty sight. 🙂

    • I don’t think it is the common blue because it doesn’t usually fly at this time of year. There are so many very similar blues in my butterfly book that it is hard to identify them

        • That’s interesting, I always see blues late in the year, more than in early summer. There were definitely a couple of varieties around but I think the ones I managed to get images of were a male and female of the same species.

  5. I’m glad you’re enjoying the cooler days of autumn in your lovely garden, Christina, even if you have to contend with bug intrusions at the same time (which sound really unpleasant). Most of the butterflies in my garden and hereabout are orange Gulf fritillaries but my brother, 50 miles north of me (and further from the ocean), managed to capture photos of a blue marine butterfly, Leptotes marina.

    • The smelly bugs are horrible but at least they are only a problem during autumn, they never come indoors at any other time of year. Butterflies seem to bring the garden to life, I love seeing them.

  6. Lovely photos of the blue on blue! I like the pairing of the colorful Lagerstoemia with the Teucrium. Autumn is taking its time this year where I live, rather nicely pacing itself, but not a lot of color yet.

  7. I love the way your butterflies are subtly colour coordinated for their chosen food plant! Beautiful. I am still seeing lots of red admirals and small whites, though we have wild autumnal winds now, heralding rain at long last, so I doubt I’ll be seeing many more this year. Glad I got a load of weeding done yesterday, gardening opportunities are likely to be sporadic from now on.

    • Always a good feeling , Janet when you get some good gardening done. I hope you’ll have some more good weather, it is often nice here until Christmas, this is when I get most done in the garden and the plants have the best chance of growing well.

  8. Oh what beautiful blue butterflies Christina. Occasionally I’ve spotted very small blues here but have never managed to photograph them. I think that rain is expected here tonight after an incredibly dry September. I don’t think that I have ever tasted a persimmon and did not realise that they grow in Italy. I will have to ask my mum whether she came across them when she lived there.

    • You see lots of Persimmon trees growing but they are usually the virtually inedible one, that is rock hard and bitter but they do look wonderful as orange orbs on the trees as we near Christmas; mine would be the softer more palatable one if it ever produced a crop, maybe this year!

  9. Glad to hear that you’re getting a few perfect gardening days! It has been a pretty good summer, hasn’t it?
    We call the shield bugs just plain old stink bugs. For the last few years they have been appearing in all kinds of new places. It’s a new species from Asia and seems to love just about everything and multiplies happily and also likes to find a cozy indoor wintering spot. Some people resort to vacuuming them up when the invasion becomes too heavy!

    • Yes, this summer has been perfect, never so hot it was unpleasant, but it has made me realise that the garden would be better either with more water or more drought tolerant plants!

  10. Your butterfly photos are wonderful I have seen a couple of different types of blue butterflies here. We have a pale blue one that is quite small; I don’t know the name of it. Then there is the blue/black Pipevine Swallowtail that is a magnificent creature. I am always delighted to catch sight of either one.

    • The swallowtail sounds amazing, I’m going to look it up. We also have swallowtails and they are beautiful but are yellow. There are many kinds of blues, but they aren’t easy to identify.

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